Tag Archives: Tex-Mex

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
  • 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.

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Gimme Chimi: Beef Chimichangas – Arizona

The origins of the chimichanga are murky at best. Two restaurants in the Grand Canyon State stake a claim: Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen, a

Beef Chimichangas - AZ

Phoenix chain, asserts that the dish was created there in 1946. Tucson’s El Charro Café also says that the dish was the happy accident of a burrito being knocked into the deep fat fryer in the early 1950s. The cook started to swear in Spanish, but seeing children, quickly changed her profane utterance to the word “chimichanga” which loosely translates as “thingamajig.”

In 2011, Macayo’s started a petition drive to have the chimichanga recognized by the Arizona legislature as the official state dish. Alas, that effort was not successful, so poor Arizona must muddle along without a signature dish to call its own. That’s OK, because StateEats is officially declaring our allegiance to chimis and all its variations, from pork to chicken to vegetarian. For this recipe, we went with the very traditional beef. We also tested both the deep frying and baking methods. Although purists may scoff, we actually preferred the baked version which is less heavy. Save your calories for a margarita (prickly pear!) and chips and guac.

You still have time to check out the Arizona State Fair which runs Wednesday through Sunday until November 6, 2015, in Phoenix.

Beef Chimichangas

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • Small white onion, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (optional)
  • 4 oz. can chopped green chilies
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
  • Salsa (optional)
  • Guacamole (optional)
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Cilantro, chopped (optional)

Instructions

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the beef until it is no longer pink. Drain the fat. Add onions, garlic and jalapeno (if using). Cook until onion is translucent and pepper is soft. Add green chilies, chili powder, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Soften tortillas one at a time by heating them in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds. Add approximately one third of a cup of filling just off center of the tortilla. Fold up bottom edge closest to you, then sides, then roll up tortilla the rest of the way. Secure with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Place into a shallow pan, seam side down. Brush with melted butter. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until tortillas just begin to brown. Remove from oven, top with shredded cheese and return to oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve with salsa, guacamole and/or sour cream and top with chopped cilantro if desired.