Traditional Texas Food
Articles about Texas' most famous foods
by John Raven, Ph.B.
Friends Share Recipes: Tex-Mex
One of the great things about having food for a hobby and an essential is making friends with like minded folks. The last article here on the subject of Tex-Mex style foods got a good bit of attention, so I have set about gathering recipes from personal friends to share with Texas Cooking folk.
The first recipes are from an old friend who lives in Garland, Texas. Bob "Ranger Bob" Ritchey has been one of my close friends for some 30 years or more. We were into chili cooking for a long time. Bob more or less "devises" his recipes. He just gets an idea and works on it until it suits his taste. Everyone likes a good picante sauce for their Tex-Mex menu. This is one of the simplest, least expensive things you can find.
Ranger Bob is a competition chili cook of long standing. In 30-plus years of competition, Bob and his family have won every major chili cooking contest in Texas several times over. The competition chili cookers always get into "Eating chili" vs. "Competition chili". Bob has come up with a eating chili recipe that follows the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) rule. It is hard to beat for a quick and easy chili fix.
Ranger Bob's Eating Chili
Stir in all remaining ingredients (Hint: mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl while graying the meat.)
Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 30 minutes, adding water as needed and stirring occasionally (let everything meld). Done.
Ranger Bob's Salsa Picante
In a food processor, chop the jalapeños fine. Don't purée them. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until tomatoes are desired consistency. Cover and refrigerate overnight to let flavors marry. Keep refrigerated. Makes about a quart.
Another of Bob's homie recipes that was inspired by classic Tex-Mex in Austin.
Mexi-SaltFor use on all things Tex-Mex. (For the novices among you, a "part" can be a teaspoon, tablespoon or cup, depending on the quantity you want to make.)
George's Jalapeño Cornbread
In one bowl, combine the corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, combine the onion, jalapeños, cheese, pimentos and cream-style corn. Add the two together and mix until combined.
In a third bowl, lightly beat the eggs, milk and oil. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and stir until just moistened. Pour into the preheated Dutch oven or skillet. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until it's done. (You can follow George down to Luckenbach, Texas for some camp cooking.)
Marta's Red Chile Sauce
Meanwhile, place the husked tomatillos in a small saucepan with just enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer gently for 5 to 10 minutes or until very tender. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water.
Place half the chiles with half the tomatillos in a blender with about 1/2 cup of the water the tomatillos were simmered in. Blend until puréed. Repeat with the remaining chiles and tomatillos. Process the chili sauce through a food mill to remove seeds and bits of chile skins.
This is a great sauce for tamales, menudo, posole and chilaquiles. Double or triple the recipe, depending on how much you need.
For making enchiladas or tamales, the sauce is modified as follows:
Mince 2 cloves of garlic and sauté at low heat in 2 tablespoons of lard until tender. Don't let the garlic brown. Add the red chile sauce and season with 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano and 1 teaspoon ground comino (cumin). Mix and simmer until heated through. If the sauce is too thick you can add chicken broth to get the desired consistency. Add salt to taste.
Marta's Green Chile Sauce
In another pan, bring the tomatoes and jalapeños to a boil and simmer 5 or 10 minutes. (The skins will slip off after they are done.)
In a blender, combine the tomatillos and tomato/jalapeño mixture, along with the garlic, until puréed. (Use a little of the cooking water from the tomatillos to make for easier puréeing.)
Add the chopped onion and fresh cilantro. If the sauce is too thick, you can add chicken broth to get the consistency you want. This sauce is the basis for green enchiladas, pork guisado and other recipes calling for green sauce.
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