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Ancho Chile Gravy

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Description

Each family has their own traditions and list of essential dishes for their turkey feast but I’m pretty sure gravy is always included. Maybe not ancho chile gravy but some kind of gravy…and probably plenty of it.

Masa Harina for Thickening Ancho Chile Gravy

Gravy is often thickened using wheat flour or cornstarch but this recipe uses masa harina. Sometimes simply referred to as masa, this corn flour is naturally gluten free and is used to make soft, fresh corn tortillas. It is available in Latin American markets or anywhere you buy Mexican ingredients. Once you have some you will want to try making fresh corn tortillas with it.

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A Little Chile Know How

The cuisine of the American southwest uses a variety of chiles and some are highlighted in my menu for a Turkey Feast. They include ancho chiles in this gravy, the Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing and the Cranberry Orange and Cilantro Salsa. So even for everyday home cooks a little chile knowledge goes a long way.

Turkey slices with a generous ladle of ancho chile gravy.
Ancho Chile Gravy with turkey and all the fixins -photo credit Jim Little

Producers continue to grow new and unusual chiles, so grocers offer us everyday cooks an increasing variety to choose from. Chiles are sold both dried and fresh each having their own unique taste and amount of heat. Generally the bigger the chile the less heat it has. This unique gravy uses mild ancho and poblano chiles that are packed with flavour, not heat.

We all know that when grapes are dried we call them raisins. But when cranberries or apricots are dried they are simply referred to as dried cranberries or dried apricots. I didn’t make up this naming system but when it comes to chiles I find it confusing. My best tip for buying and using chiles is right in the recipe. By simply writing fresh poblano chile or dried ancho chile I am reminded of the type of chile I’m going to buy.

By now I finally know what the ancho and poblano chiles look like but for many years I didn’t. My second best tip is to do a quick search in Google image before going to the store. Despite the amazing variety we have to choose from I find that the signs are often missing or incorrect and the staff is not always knowledgable.

Preparing Fresh and Dried Chiles

Fresh chiles are often charred, then steamed and peeled to impart a wonderful, smoky flavour to the dishes they are used in. For my Turkey Feast this is how the fresh poblano chiles are prepared.

Dried chiles can also be blackened in a hot, non-stick pan on the stove. They are then soaked and both the chile and the soaking liquid can be used in recipes. It only takes a few minutes and enhances the flavour of the final dish so don’t skip it.

Get The Tools

My best tip for gravy making is to buy a gravy separator, it just makes the job easier. Since I only use it a few times a year so I store it inside my turkey roaster along with the instructions that I cut from the packaging. Apparently using it wasn’t as intuitive as I thought it should be.

I hope this information is brief enough to encourage you to give this ancho chile gravy recipe a try. It is always a big hit so the recipe makes what I think is a generous portion. Regardless, in my house there is always turkey leftover after the gravy so I usually double it.

In the comments below I’d love to hear some gravy stories from your house.


More Gravy Recipes

An old-fashioned Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy

Cutting into a Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy
Salisbury Steak -photo credit Jim Little

After learning about #Poutinewithpurpose and this initiative to support youth I made this Poutine with Ancho Chile Gravy.  Now I have an excuse to make this gravy at other times of the year.

Canadian Poutine with Ancho Chile Gravy and cheese curds
Poutine with Ancho Chile Gravy -photo credit Jim Little

 

Ingredients

2 fresh poblano chiles
2 dried ancho chiles
½ cup soaking liquid
¼ cup masa harina
1-2 cups GF chicken stock if needed
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

1
Blacken ancho chile in heavy skillet over high heat until the colour darkens slightly and become fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer ancho chile to medium bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover chiles. Let stand until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove from liquid and pull chile away from stem, cut into large pieces. Reserve ½ cup soaking liquid.
2
Blacken poblano chiles over a gas flame or under a broiler until blackened on all sides. Place in a plastic bag and let steam for 10 minutes. Remove from bag, peel and seed chile. Cut chile into large pieces.
3
Place ancho and poblano chiles with soaking liquid in a bowl and puree. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared up to this point 1 day in advance.)
4
Spoon off some of the fat from the turkey pan juices. Set roasting pan over 2 burners set on medium low heat. Add additional broth if needed to measure 3 cups.
5
Sprinkle masa harina over the pan juices. Whisk until mixture resembles a paste, scraping up any brown bits, about 2 minutes.
6
Add chile puree and simmer about 5 minutes to blend flavours. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with turkey and stuffing.

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