Tex-Mex Chili Gravy

4 dried red New Mexico chiles*
8 dried red ancho chiles*
1 pound ground beef
4 cups beef stock
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons bacon drippings (optional)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Masa Harina?

* To shortcut, use about 1/2 cup Gebhardt? chili powder and reduce the cumin and oregano by half.

If using the shortcut, skip this step. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Break off the stems of the chile pods and discard the seeds. Place the pods in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast them for about 5 minutes. Watch the pods closely so that they do not scorch. Break each chile into several pieces. In a blender, pur?e the pods with the stock. You should be able to see tiny pieces of chile pulp, but they should be bound in a smooth, thick liquid. Set the pur?e aside.

In a medium saucepan, brown the meat with the onion and garlic. Drain the grease. Add bacon drippings, if desired, and return the pan to the heat. When the bacon drippings have melted, add the cumin, oregano, salt and pur?ed chiles or chili powder and beef stock. Simmer the mixture for about 50 minutes, until the meat is tender and the liquid has thickened slightly.

In a small bowl, mix the Masa Harina? with 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquid, and stir the mixture back into the gravy. Simmer the gravy for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve with Tex-Mex enchiladas, tamales or other dishes.

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