Chili Gravy

This chili gravy is indispensable for enchiladas, tamales, and a host of other Tex-Mex dishes. Our recipe calls for three tablespoons of chili powder because it suits our tastes. You may use more less, according to yours.

  • 3 tablespoons melted shortening or lard
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced or put through a garlic press
  • 1 tablespoon bacon drippings
  • 3 tablespoons good chili powder (preferably Gebhardt's or your own homemade)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Masa Harina
  • Salt to taste
  1. Over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the oil until the onion is softened, but not browned.
  2. Stir in the bacon drippings, chili powder, cumin, oregano; then gradually add the beef stock and water, stirring well.
  3. Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes until mixture is slightly reduced and thickened.
  4. Mix the Masa Harina with a few tablespoons of water or the gravy, itself, and stir back into the gravy. Simmer for 10 minutes more.
  5. Taste the gravy and add salt only if you think it necessary.
  6. Makes about 4 cups.

Note: A word about chili powder: The most-recommended chili powder in Texas is Gebhardt's, and for good reason. Also, if you make your own chili powder and can get your hands on some dried chiles pasillas, make some pure ground pasillas, and you'll have an extraordinary powder for Tex-Mex enchiladas. However, if neither is accessible to you, you can still make perfectly acceptable and delicious Tex-Mex enchiladas with McCormick's or Durkee's chili powder, or whatever it is that your store carries. If you know nothing whatsoever of chili powder or chiles, then my instructions to you are very simple: Buy a product called "chili powder" -- not cayenne, not crushed red pepper, not ground red pepper.

Ready in: 1 Hour

Recipe editor Patricia Mitchell