corn on the cob, fried chicken breast, pan gravy

Ancho chiles are the dried ripened version of poblano chiles. 

Usually seen fresh plump and unripe green in grocery stores. They are mild and a bit sweet. Heat-wise they are unchallenging. To use the fresh version they're best charred and sweated with their blistered skin removed. A bit of a pain the butt really but not all that bad once you're used to doing it and certainly worth the bother. 

Three and a half minutes microwaved.

This is the first time in awhile since I've made pan gravy.

I'm surprised how many people I meet who do not know how to do this. I've shown a few people, and they go, "Oooooh. So that's how they do it." Basically, the same way you clean the pan, by deglazing with some kind of liquid and lift off all the burned bits that are actually intensely concentrated flavor. Even my brother who is a good cook himself told me how to scrub a pan that he sent me with an unusual textured bottom, by using a fingernail brush. It hadn't occurred to him to simply deglaze the pan for a minute with water the same way he makes a gravy. Odd, all that, don't you think?

The pan is a mess. Add to the mess by browning flour in equal measure to fat. Remove fat or add fat to your desire, usually butter. One level tablespoon each fat and flour for one cup of liquid. 

First the flour is cooked in fat for one minute. Or else it will taste raw.

Chefs add liquid in two parts. First they lift off the dark bits from the pan with any type of alcohol until it turns into a thick wad of dark ugly sludge. 

Then they whisk in milk or any kind of broth to form an even slightly thick liquid. 

Then simmer until the gravy reaches the desired thickness. Looser than you imagine because the flour causes the gravy to continue thickening as it cools. 

The charred pan bits and cooked flour give the gravy its flavor. Alcohol contributes considerable depth and character. Beer, wine, brandy, sake, anything. This time I kept the flour light colored and added a teaspoon of Liquid Smoke so this gravy made with milk stayed a light color. 

And man is it good.


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