Category Archives: Texas

Frito Pie – Texas

Frito Pie is a beloved Texas dish, probably made popular at little league and football concession stands across the Lone Star State. The recipe is simple. Take your favorite chili, slice open a bag of

Frito Pie - Texas

Fritos, ladle said chili on top of the corn chips and garnish with cheese. Think nachos served in a bag but eaten with a plastic fork. Messy but oh-so-yummy.

The origins of Frito Pie are contested but Frito-Lay asserts San Antonio resident Daisy Doolin, mother of Charles Elmer Doolin (inventor of the Frito), came up with the idea in the 1930s to help market the chips. Fun fact: in October of 2102, Frito-Lay set a Guinness World Record for the largest Frito Pie at the State Fair of Texas, weighing in at a monstrous 1,325 pounds. Holy moly, chili willy!

You can make your own chili or pop over your favorite grocery store and pick up some ready-made chili at the soup station. Texas chili traditionally does not have beans but we looooooove us some beans so we added them. Be conscious of the amount of salt you add to the chili when making it since the chips are quite salty on their own.

One of the newest national monuments is Waco Mammoth, so designated by President Obama in 2015. Between 65,000 and 72,000 years ago, a herd of 19 mammoths drowned in rapidly rising river waters and were trapped. You can now see the remains in situ along with a bull mammoth and a camel.

Frito Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 1 hr.
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green or red pepper, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 12 oz. bottle of beer
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • Salt (go easy on this)
  • Pepper
  • Cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 14 oz. cans dark red kidney beans, drained (optional)
  • 1 14 oz. can white beans, drained (optional)
  • Snack sized Fritos corn chips, one bag per person
  • Cheddar cheese

 Instructions

In a large pot over medium heat, brown beef until no longer pink. Add onions, peppers and garlic and cook until onion is translucent. Add diced tomatoes and beer, then chili powder and cumin. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Add beans if using. If chili is too thick, add additional beer. Adjust seasonings with salt, pepper and cayenne if heat is needed. Cook another 15-20 minutes or until beans are heated through.

To serve, cut Fritos bag on the long side. Add a healthy scoop of chili and top with cheese.

Oh, You’re Full o’ Beans: Tortilla Soup – Texas

Let’s talk about Tex-Mex, shall we? The term was coined in 1875 and initially referred to the Texas and Mexican Railroad. Some claim that the cradle of Tex-Mex food is San Antonio where Hispanic women, called “chili queens” began serving chili in the plazas in the 1880s. In

Tortilla Soup from Texas is comfort food at its best

the 1930s, several restaurant chains started and popularized the idea of the combo plate with rice and beans. Then in the 1970s, cookbook author Diana Kennedy asserted that Mexican food made north of the border wasn’t truly Mexican food at all. Even though she offended Texans who liked their nachos, fajitas and cheese enchiladas, she probably cemented the idea of regional dishes with big southwest flavors that came to be known as Tex-Mex.

We’ve been making tortilla soup for years and could probably do it while half-asleep, it’s that easy. Our little trick is to pulverize some tortilla chips in the food processor and add these when the veggies are almost done. They add a bit of texture and thicken up the soup nicely.

The last several times we cooked this soup, we made our own chicken stock by simmering bone-in chicken thighs with veggies (a quartered onion, celery, and carrot) and seasoning (salt, peppercorns, bay leaf) for about 40 minutes. But you don’t have to do this. Leftover chicken (rotisserie chicken is particularly good) and canned stock works just as well.

This recipe is easily adaptable. You don’t like heat? Leave out the jalapeno. You don’t eat meat? Make it vegan by leaving out the chicken and subbing vegetable stock.

If you make your way to San Antonio, remember the Alamo (literally), site of the 1836 battle between Mexican troops under President General Santa Anna and Texian defenders. Visitors can take in the shrine, visit the museum and walk the gardens.

Tortilla Soup

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Time: 60 min.
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 rib celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium red pepper, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, deveined and deseeded, finely diced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup corn tortilla chips, blitzed in food processor
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 15-oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 15-oz. cans of black beans, drained
  • 3-4 cups cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Salt to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce for garnish (optional)
  • Chopped cilantro, chopped for garnish (optional)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese for garnish (optional)
  • Tortilla strips for garnish (optional)
  • Avocado or guacamole for garnish (optional)
  • Sour cream or Greek yogurt for garnish (optional)

 Instructions

Heat olive oil in large stock pot. Add carrots and sauté, 3-4 minutes. Add celery, onion, red pepper, garlic and jalapeno if using. Sauté 3-4 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add tortilla chips, continue cooking until soft. Add stock, tomatoes, salsa and black beans. Bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low. Add chicken and season to taste with salt, pepper and cumin. Simmer 20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through. Enjoy with your favorite toppings.

Big and Beefy: Texas Brisket

Although the state snack of Texas is chips and salsa, and the state dish is chili con carne, we decided we needed to highlight beef in a big Texas way. The Lone Star state is the top cattle producer in the country ― a $10.5 billion industry in 2012 — according to the Texas Department of Agriculture.

Texas Brisket

Barbeque can mean different things depending on where you eat in this country. In the southeast, barbeque usually means pig. But in Texas, when folks babble on about barbeque, they usually are talking about beef, and by beef, we mean brisket.

The key to a good brisket is picking a good cut of meat with a bit of marbling (choose choice or prime) and cooking it low and slow over a wood or charcoal fire. Is this method time consuming? Yes. It is worth every minute? Absolutely! We smoked ours over hickory chips and the resulting meat had a beautiful bark (that dark, crusty exterior) and a wonderful, smoky flavor. Some Texans scoff at using any type of BBQ sauce but we provided one for you here, just in case you like to embellish your meat.

If you’d like some homegrown Texas refreshment to wash down that BBQ, head to the Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco. Fun and kitschy!

Texas Brisket

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 6-8 hours
  • Difficulty: moderate
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Ingredients

  • 3-4 lb. choice or prime beef brisket, trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons black pepper

For beef rub:

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

For BBQ sauce:

  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/3 cups beer
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Instructions

For meat: The night before, mix the 4 tablespoons salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Rub on the brisket. Loosely cover with foil and let sit overnight in fridge. Mix all ingredients for the rub in another bowl, set aside.

In the morning, preheat smoker. Remove meat from fridge and cover meat with a thin coating of vegetable oil. Cover with the rub. When the smoker reaches 225 degrees, place meat in smoker. Cooking time will depend on thickness of brisket, but a general rule is about 90 minutes for each pound. When brisket reaches 190-200 degrees, remove from smoker, wrap tightly in aluminum foil and place in a cooler lined with old towels. This will allow the brisket to stay hot until serving time.

For BBQ sauce: Heat vegetable oil in a medium saucepan. When hot, add chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until onion is translucent. Add beer, ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Stir until combined. Add chili powder and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil. Let simmer for one hour until thickened. Allow to cool slightly. Place BBQ sauce in a food processor or blender. Blend until onions and garlic are incorporated into the sauce (if too thick, thin with a little bit of the leftover beer).

When ready to serve brisket, reheat BBQ sauce. Slice meat perpendicular to the grain and drizzle or dollop with sauce. Serve plain or on soft buns.