I believe I've finally done it.
I've been playing around with chili gravy for years. My battles are detailed here:
I've made chili gravy after chili gravy. I've experimented with using bacon grease as the fat, with canola oil as the fat, with more flour, less flour, more spices, less spices, with water as the liquid, with chicken broth as the liquid, etc. I could go on. This time however, I believe I've taken chili gravy as far as it can go. It's the best I've ever made. And I've got to share with you something I noticed, something I wasn't expecting-
The gravy was far better the next day. Unbelievably better. Something happened overnight. It was like the spices all gelled together and even the texture changed. From now on, I will be making chili gravy the day before and refrigerating it overnight. Oh, and the winning combination was a mixture of bacon grease, less flour, a smidge of chicken broth, mostly water, and my secret ingredients, tomato paste and achiote paste.
So. Darn. Good.
By adding less flour, I think this is the thinnest you can make this sauce and still call it a gravy. I've tried my gravies with more flour and they always come out tasting too heavy and impossibly thick. Not appetizing. This gravy has more of a velvety feel than a thick feel. I think the small amount of bacon grease combined with a slight amount of chicken broth but mostly water, adds the perfect amount of seasoning. I found with using larger amounts of bacon grease and chicken broth that the gravy quickly becomes over-seasoned. I mean, super-duper salty. Yuck. Using mostly water holds the seasoning in check.
Ingredients (serves 2- 2 enchiladas per person):
- 2 tbsp bacon grease
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 3/4 cup water
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1-2 tsp salt (add extra tsp of salt to taste, if needed)
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp achiote paste
- smallest pinch of sugar (seriously, the smallest)
- 2 1/4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 burrito-size flour tortillas
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp cilantro, minced
- chopped lettuce, tomato, sour cream (toppings- optional)
- Prepare chili gravy- In medium size skillet, heat bacon grease over medium high heat. When hot, add flour. Stirring constantly, cook for 1-2 minutes. Add chicken broth. Mixture will form a clumpy ball. Cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, moving roux around. Add 1/2 cup of water, stir until incorporated. Add the rest of the water in slow additions. When water is incorporated, add tomato paste. Add chili powder through sugar, stirring constantly to combine. Add more water if gravy is too thick. Turn heat to low, and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Refrigerate overnight, or use immediately. If refrigerating overnight, warm sauce in skillet for a few minutes before use.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Using an 8-inch square pan, spread about 1/2 cup of gravy on the bottom of the pan. Place tortillas on a plate, and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 1 minute. Remove from microwave. Place 1 tortilla on a clean surface, and spoon 1/2 cup of mozzarella in the middle of the tortilla. Roll tortilla up like a burrito and place in the pan. Repeat with other 3 tortillas. 4 tortillas should fit perfectly in an 8-inch pan. Pour desired amount of gravy over the top of the pan (you may have a little extra gravy). Top with 1/4 cup mozzarella and 1/4 cup shredded cheddar. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Don't over-bake, or your enchiladas will be dry (ewww).
- Distribute enchiladas between 2 plates. Top with lettuce, tomato, and sour cream, if using. Serve immediately.