A Taste Of Texas, Texas Chili, Blue Cornmeal Muffins and Texas Coleslaw
What's Cookin' In Texas
Over sixty percent of the population of Texas can trace its ancestors back to Mexico, so it comes as no surprise that Tex-Mex food is what this state is famous for. However, Texas is the largest state in the continental United States and more than one distinct regional cuisine developed within the Lone Star State.
On the Gulf Coast in and around Galveston, for example southern cooking - particularly Creole and Cajun styles - still reflects the proximity to Louisiana and the influence of early settlers who came to Texas from the South. In western Texas, kitchens reflect the culinary character of New Mexico, with its vast range of chilies and its strong Native American influence.
The plains of the Texas Panhandle, where cattle have long roamed, is characterized by a rough - and - ready style of cowboy cooking where beef ( and lots of it ) reigns supreme. It was here that dishes like chili evolved, a reminder of the days when home on the range, the kitchen was a chuck wagon, and every last edible part of the steer was thrown into the stew pot.
Anyone seeking out Tex-Mex food would do best to travel deep into the heart south-central Texas, visiting towns like Austin and San Antonio, That's where you're likely to find the most authentic refried beans and chicken fried steak and that's where your most likely to find people arguing about whether a bowl of red should have or not have beans.
This is a subject that seems to spice up the lives of many Texans. Entire books have been written about chili, and the first chapter of Frank Tolbert's, A Bowl Of Red begins by quoting a man named Harry James: , Congress should pass a law making it mandatory for all restaurants serving chili to follow a Texas recipe" Never let it be said that Texans aren't chauvinistic when it comes to chili.
All that is well and good, but the trouble is that no one in Texas quite agrees on how an authentic chili should be made. This point becomes quite clear at the World Champion Chili Cook Off held every year in the dessert town of Terlingua in the Rio Grande Valley of southwest Texas. Here every impassioned " chili head " has a personal blend of herbs and spices, a certainty about the right proportion of beef to beans, ( or no beans at all ), and an inner knowing about just how incendiary the final product should be. Whatever the recipe, a good bowl of chili is indisputably the quintessential Tex-Mex dish.
Its no wonder that Kit Carson's dying words were reputed to be, " Wish I had time for one more bowl of chili".
Texas Chili Recipe
According to Frank Tolbert, who immortalized Texas Chili in, " A Bowl Of Red " , the authentic, original chili recipe included beef, hot peppers, oregano, cumin, and garlic but no beans. Beans are now considered acceptable, but those chili heads are a contentious bunch. Their current controversy is should there be beans in the chili or served alongside.
Ingredients For Your Texas Chili
1. One And One Half Pounds Beef Chuck Steak.
2. One Tablespoon Of Cooking Oil.
3. One Cup Sweet Onion Chopped Fine.
4. Two Tablespoons Minced Fresh Garlic.
5. One Twenty Eight Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes.
6. One Cup Beef Broth.
7. One Four Ounce Can Diced Green Chilies.
8. Two Tablespoons Chili Powder.
9. One Tablespoon Brown Sugar.
10. Two Teaspoons Dried Crushed Oregano.
11. One Teaspoon Ground Cumin.
12. One Teaspoon Ground Sea Salt.
On the side you may want to have pintos, rice, sour cream, diced green onions, and cheddar cheese.
Start by partially freezing the meat. Thinly slice across the grain into bite size strips or cut into very small cubes. In a large skillet brown your meat in the oil turning it over and over to brown all your meat on all sides. Add in your onion and the garlic and continue to stir over low heat until you have all the meat brown and the onions and garlic cooked. Drain off any excess fat.
Add the meat, onion, and garlic to a large stock pot and add in all the rest of your ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for about an hour until the meat is tender.
You can cook this chili in a slow cooker or crock pot as long as you brown your meat and cook the onions and garlic first. In a slow cooker or crock pot cook on high for at least six hours and allow it to cook down. I promise you that this will be one of the best chili's that you'll ever taste in your life. I hope there's a bowl of red in your future real soon.
How To Make Sourdough Biscuits Like On The Chuckwagon
Sourdough Starter Recipe
1. Two Packages Dry Yeast. ( Usually One Fourth Ounce Packages )
2. Eight Cups Of Warm Not Hot Water.
3. Three Fourths Of A Cup Of White Granulated Sugar.
4. Eight Cups All Purpose Plain Flour.
5. One Large Potato Peeled And Cut In Small Cubes.
You will want to get started by whisking your yeast into the warm water. Then whisk in the sugar until its dissolved. Now whisk in your flour and potato until well mixed. Pour into a container that will hold it and have room for it to grow and expand. Place in a warm place overnight. Cover with a large towel to make sure it stays warm.
How To Make Your Sourdough Biscuits
1. Four Cups Of Your Sourdough Starter.
2. One Level Teaspoon Active Yeast.
3. One Third Cup Sugar.
4. One Tablespoon Ground Sea Salt.
5. Two Large Tablespoons Baking Powder.
6. One Teaspoon Baking Soda.
7. Three Fourths Cup Vegetable Oil.
8. Seven Cups All Purpose Flour Plus A Little For Dusting.
9. One Fourth Cup Melted Butter.
You'll want to start by sprinkling the yeast into the starter and stir it in well. Add the remainder of your ingredients one at a time and stir them in well. Once you get everything mixed in well turn your dough out onto a floured surface and flatten your dough out to a one half inch thickness and then cut your biscuits out with a floured biscuit cutter. The old chuckwagon cooks cooked their sourdough biscuits in a dutch oven but you can cook yours on a well greased baking pan in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for 20 - 25 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown. Brush the top of your cooked biscuits with melted butter when they come out of the oven.
Serve your just made sourdough biscuits with honey and butter and you'll have people begging you for more biscuits.
Chuckwagon Sausage Gravy
Here were going to make another of the cowboy's favorite meals. You'll want to get started by crumbling up a pound of your favorite breakfast sausage and fry it in a pan chopping it up as it cooks so you end up with fine chopped up browned sausage. Remove from the pan and drain well.
Into a large skillet you will want to add one cup of vegetable oil and one cup of plain all purpose flour. Turn the heat under the skillet to low while you stand there and stir the flour and oil together with a wire whisk. Continue to stir until the flour is brown. At this point you want to add whole milk to almost fill the pan but leave room to put your cooked sausage in but not yet. Cook until your liquid starts to thicken and then remove from the heat.
At this point add in your cooked sausage and stir well. If your gravy gets to thick add a little more milk.
You want to serve your sausage gravy over the above sourdough biscuits.This was a favorite meal of the cowboys out on the trail. And if you make it I bet every one that tries it will love it. If you have any questions feel free to ask below in the comment section.
Blue Cornmeal Muffins Recipe
Corn was so important to Native Americans in the Southwest that each color was associated with special qualities. In Native American ceremonies blue corn was the western direction. The color blue was also thought to have medicinal properties. Blue Cornmeal muffins are a popular bread in New Mexico.
If you'll check at your local supermarket you'll most likely find blue cornmeal for sale in the same area as the other corn meal and flour products.
Ingredients For Your Blue Corn Meal Muffins
1. Four Cups All Purpose Plain Flour.
2. One And One Half Cups Yellow Corn Meal.
3. One And One Half Cups Blue Corn Meal.
4. Four Large Well Beaten Eggs.
5. Two Eight Ounce Cans Cream Corn.
6. One And One Half Cups Milk.
7. One Cup Vegetable Oil.
8. Two Tablespoons Baking Powder.
9. One Teaspoon Sugar.
Start by mixing all your dry ingredients together first. Be sure that you get them very well mixed together. Now in another bowl mix together your milk, eggs, and cream corn and mix them together very well. Now mix all your ingredients together being sure to stir up from the bottom so all your ingredients get well mixed. Be sure not to leave any dry ingredients in the bottom of the bowl. This will make about 36 muffins.
You'll want to use well greased muffin cups so your muffins will come out of the muffin tins after you finish baking the muffins or you can use cup cake papers in your muffin cups. Fill your muffin cups about two thirds full so your muffins will rise properly and you'll have really pretty muffins. You'll want to bake your muffins in a hot 400 degree oven for 15 - 20 minutes.
A Chuckwagon Like This Often Followed Cattle Drives
No Chuckwagon cook would start out on the trail with out a good supply of dried beans. In fact mealtime was often referred to as bean time.
Cowboy Beans Ingredients
1. One Pound Of Dry Pintos.
2. One Cup Of Chopped Fine Smoked Ham.
3. One Cup Fine Chopped Sweet Onion.
4. Two Eight Ounce Cans Tomato Sauce.
5. Two Four Ounce Cans Green Chilies.
6. One Fourth Cup Brown Sugar.
7. One Teaspoon Chili Powder.
8. One Teaspoon Ground Sea Salt.
9. One Teaspoon Dry Mustard.
10. Enough Water To Cover Your Beans And Other Ingredients.
Rinse your beans well under cold running water. Then you'll want to add all your ingredients to a crock pot or slow cooker. You'll want to cook your cowboy beans on high for six to eight hours and you may or may not need to add more water during the cooking time.
And you now have some of the most authentic cowboy beans that you'll ever eat in your life and I promise you that they will be delicious. Give them a try. I bet you'll love them. I've made thousands of gallons of these beans over the years and people just love them.
Have You Ever Heard Of Flapjacks
How To Make Delicious Flapjacks ( Pancakes )
Flapjacks was what the cowboys and Chuckwagon cooks called pancakes. Of course you've heard of pancakes but not as many people know what a flapjack is. Well now you do.
Homemade Flapjack Mix
1. Seven Cups All Purpose Flour.
2. Two Teaspoons Baking Soda.
3. Two Teaspoons Baking Powder.
4. One Tablespoon Ground Sea Salt.
5. Three Tablespoons Sugar.
Mix all your ingredients and keep in a tightly covered container. The old Chuckwagon cooks mixed it up so they could quickly make flapjacks out on the trail.
In the morning you mix two cups of flapjack mix with two cups of buttermilk and two large eggs and whisk it together well. You drop the mixture out onto a hot griddle or frying pan and cook on one side until you see lots of bubbles form on top of the flapjack. Then flip them over and cook on the other side. Resist the urge to slap your flapjacks with a spatula.
Cook until golden brown and done in the center. Out on the cattle drive they were served with honey, molasses and butter but you can if you wish serve them with pancake syrup and butter. Hope you have flapjacks in your future real soon.
Texas Coleslaw Recipe
This is the way slaw is made in west Texas and I love to serve it on the side with chili or barbecue. It is wonderful with either. You can find Jicama in the produce section of your local supermarket. If they don't have it just leave it out.
Ingredients For Your Texas Slaw
1. Three Cups Finely Shredded Green Cabbage.
2. Three Cups Finely Shredded Red Cabbage.
3. Two Cups Finely Shredded Jicama.
4. One Cup Finely Chopped Yellow Bell Pepper.
5. One Cup Finely Chopped Red Bell Pepper.
6. One Cup Raisins.
7. One Cup Sour Cream.
8. One Cup Mayonnaise.
9. Two Tablespoons Finely Chopped Jalapeno Pepper.
10. One Tablespoon Sugar.
11. One Teaspoon Ground Cumin.
12. One Teaspoon Ground Sea Salt.
13. One Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper.
14. One Avocado Peeled , The Seed Removed, And Chopped Fine.
In a large plastic container with a lid mix together all your ingredients being sure to get everything well mixed together. Put your lid on the container and place in the refrigerator overnight before you serve it. This slaw will keep in the refrigerator for 10 days and you will want to serve it chilled. I promise you that this will be one of the best slaw's you'll ever taste and enjoy.
Pinto Beans Recipe
Here's a delicious and easy recipe for pinto beans. Bacon fat is what makes these beans delicious. You can if you wish use vegetable oil instead of bacon fat but the pintos won't be as tasty.
Ingredients For Your Pintos
1. One Pound Dry Pintos.
2. Two Tablespoons Bacon Fat.
3. Two Teaspoons Ground Sea Salt.
4. One Tablespoon Minced Garlic.
Soak your pintos overnight covered with water. In the morning rinse them well and then add all your ingredients to a crock pot or slow cooker and cook for about eight hours on high stirring often. You should end up with a wonderful pot of beans. These will go great served on the side with a bowl of red.
Thanks For Reading My Hub Page
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my Hub Page on Texas and Texas Chili. I hope you get to make the recipes on this Hub Page real soon. If you have any questions feel free to post them below.
About The Author
Thomas Byers has been an award winning Chef for over forty years now and he has won over $50,000 in Chili Contests.