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.
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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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.
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 images 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.
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.
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 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.
An old-fashioned Salisbury Steak with Onion Gravy
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.
|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|
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