A gravy boat filled with Ancho Chile Gravy


Every family has their own traditions and list of essential dishes for their turkey feast and 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

To make gluten free gravy cornstarch or sweet rice flour are often used as a thickener in place of wheat flour. This recipe from my southwestern menu uses masa harina to thicken the gravy and I had been making it long before I heard of celiac disease. So it was a pleasant surprise to realize it was already a gluten free gravy.

Masa harina, or masa as it is sometimes referred to, is corn flour treated with lime. You would probably recognize the distinct taste if you’ve ever had freshly made soft corn tortillas. Masa is easy to find in Latin American markets or anywhere you buy Mexican ingredients. The most popular brand is Meseca and some recipes list it like that as an ingredient.

Once you buy a bag of masa harina you’ll want to make fresh corn tortillas too. Be careful, you might get hooked!

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Gluten free Ancho Chile Gravy, worth the effort!

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A Little Chile Know How – Poblanos and Anchos

I read a lot about food and will buy any ingredient but it still took me a very long time to know what chile to buy just by it’s name. If you know your chiles by name then good for you. If you’re just an adventurous home cook like me you might appreciate a few tips about cooking chiles.

Chiles are sold both dried and fresh and each has their own unique taste and amount of heat. Generally the bigger the chile the less heat it has. My gravy recipe uses two mild chiles; fresh poblanos and dried anchos. These are actually the same chile. Say what? The name changes when they get dried (I was not consulted on this naming convention).

Think about this. You know that dried grapes are called raisins and you also know that when apricots are dried they’re simply called dried apricots. Go figure! You just need to learn enough to cook the recipes you like so here’s my tip this recipe.

KITCHEN TIP – Write fresh poblano chile and dried ancho chile on your list so you know what you’re looking for. You can even check Google images if you want to confirm what the chiles look like since grocery store staff may not be experts in this area.

My annual Turkey Feast is bursting with the flavours of the American southwest. There is a poblano chile in the Cranberry Orange and Cilantro Salsa as well as an Anaheim chile in the Cornbread Chorizo Stuffing.

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. That’s how I do the fresh poblano chiles for this gravy.

Dried chiles can also be blackened in a hot, dry non-stick pan. In this recipe I blacken the ancho chile then soak it in water and use that soaking liquid to make the gravy. It only takes a few minutes and enhances the flavour of the final dish so don’t skip this step.

Get The Tools

My best tip for gravy making is to buy a gravy separator, it makes the job easier. 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.

This recipe makes a generous portion of gravy but if we have more than ten people we double it. No one wants turkey leftover after the gravy!

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

Originally posted October 2015, updated December 2020.

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More Recipes and Helpful Tips for Gluten Free Gravy

Ancho Chile Gravy

Families have their own traditions for a Turkey Feast but there's always gravy, right? My Ancho Chile Gravy is so good you won't want to wait for turkey to try it!
Author: Cinde Little
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Southwestern
Keyword: Ancho Chile Gravy


  • 2 fresh poblano chiles (substitute Anaheim chiles or green bell peppers)
  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • ½ cup soaking liquid
  • ¼ cup masa harina
  • 2-3 cups gluten free chicken stock (you want 3 cups total of pan juices and stock)
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Blacken ancho chile in heavy skillet over high heat until the colour darkens slightly and become fragrant, about 30 seconds. Transfer ancho chiles to medium bowl and add enough boiling water to cover. 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.
  • Char poblano chiles over a gas flame or under a broiler until blackened on all sides. Place in a plastic bag and steam for 10 minutes. Remove from bag, peel and seed chile. Cut chile into large pieces.
  • Puree ancho and poblano chiles with soaking liquid. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared up to this point 1 day in advance.)

ROAST TURKEY METHOD (or Roast Chicken)

  • Spoon off some of the fat from the turkey pan juices. Set roasting pan over 2 burners on medium low heat. Add additional broth as needed to measure 3 cups total. Bring to a slow boil.
  • Reduce heat, sprinkle masa harina over the pan juices and whisk until mixture thickens, scraping up brown bits, about 2 minutes.
  • Add chile puree and simmer another 5 minutes to blend flavours. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed. Serve with turkey and stuffing.


  • Cook chicken pieces or chicken wings in frying pan until browned. Remove and season or serve however you like.
  • Return pan to stove and add 2-3 cups chicken stock. Bring to a slow boil.
  • Reduce heat, sprinkle masa harina over the pan juices and whisk until mixture thickens, scraping up brown bits, about 2 minutes.
  • Add chile puree and simmer another 5 minutes to blend flavours adding more chicken stock if needed. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with roast turkey, chicken or on poutine.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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