Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cure for Homesick Texans...

How excited am I to see this new cookbook on the shelves? Pretty dang excited! I've been stalking Lisa Fain for about 3 years now, since I started blogging and found her at Homesick Texan. Every week she shared great home-made, no shortcut recipes that smack of Tex-Mex, Texican, whatever you call it... it's good eating!

As a displaced Texan who lives and works in New York City, she started a blog in 2005 to share her memories through food. Her blog reaches me, it plucks me right out of my chair and takes me back to her Grandma's kitchen while she makes her peach pie. Those hands, who have rolled a thousand and one pie crusts lovingly make one more for Lisa who's home for a visit. It's not common these days for Grandchildren to ask, "Will you teach me?" Go for a peek at that post HERE. In this cookbook are recipes and stories that will touch your heart, feed your body and nourish your soul.


2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup lard, chilled
¼ cup cold water

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups cooking apples such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored and diced
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ancho chile powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt

Vegetable oil, for frying
Powdered sugar and ground cinnamon for sprinkling

To make the crust
Mix together the flour and salt. Add the lard, either with a fork, your hands, or a pastry cutter. When the flour is clumped together, slowly add the cold water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough is moist enough to come together. Form the dough into a ball, then wrap and place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour.
Meanwhile, in a large ovenproof skillet, preferably a cast-iron skillet, melt the butter on low heat. Add the apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, ancho chile powder and salt, and while occasionally stirring, cook until the apples are soft, about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
To make the fried pies, roll out the chilled pie crust until it's no more than ¹⁄8 of an inch thick.
Cut out 3-inch-diameter circles. Roll out any leftover scraps and continue to cut 3-inch circles until all the dough has been used. You should have about 10.
Place 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of each crust. Moisten the edges and fold the crust over, sealing the edges with your fingers, and then press down on the edges with a fork. In a cast-iron skillet, heat 1 inch of oil to 350 degrees. With a spatula, gently place each pie into the hot oil, and turn over after a minute. Cook on the other side for another minute, and then drain on a rack or paper-towel-lined plate. You can sprinkle powdered sugar and/or cinnamon over pies if you like. Makes 10 pies.


2 dried pasilla chiles, stems and seeds removed
½ cup plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
6 corn tortillas, preferably stale
1 pound plum tomatoes, or 1 (14-ounce) can of diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted, drained
1 medium yellow onion, cut into quarters
6 cloves garlic
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup chopped cilantro
6 cups chicken broth
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons lime juice
Salt, to taste
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken meat (optional)

2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
¼ cup Cotija cheese, crumbled
¼ cup chopped cilantro

In a dry skillet heated on high, toast the pasilla chiles on each side for about 10 seconds or just until they start to puff. Fill the skillet with enough water to cover chiles. Leave the heat on until the water begins to boil and then turn off the heat and let the chiles soak until soft, about 30 minutes.
Heat ½ cup of the vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 350 degrees. Slice the tortillas into strips ¼ inch thick. Add tortilla strips to the hot oil and cook until crisp, about a minute. Drain tortillas on paper towels.
If using fresh tomatoes, cut in half and place on a greased sheet under the broiler, along with the onion quarters and garlic cloves. Cook the tomatoes, onions and garlic on each side for 5 minutes or until black spots begin to appear. (If using canned tomatoes, broil only the onions and garlic.)
Place the tomatoes, onions, and garlic into a blender. When the pasilla chiles are hydrated, drain and rinse and also add to the blender along with the chipotle chiles, cumin, oregano, cloves, cilantro, ½ cup of the fried tortilla strips and ½ cup of water. Blend on high until smooth.
In a large pot, heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil on medium heat and add the tomato puree. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes until it thickens and gets darker. Note that it will probably pop and squirt. Add the chicken broth and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Stir in the smoked paprika, lime juice, salt to taste, and the chicken meat if you're using it, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Before serving the soup, place the remaining tortilla strips and grated Monterey Jack cheese into 4 or 6 bowls. Top with the soup and serve immediately. Serve with the avocado, Cotija cheese and cilantro for garnish.

Makes 6-8 servings

NOTE:pasilla chiles, you can add one more canned chipotle chile; you can substitute dried ancho chiles, as these tend to be more available; or you can use 1 tablespoon of chili powder.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 to 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 serrano chiles, chopped
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ pound fresh tomatillos, husks removed, and quartered
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound zucchini, diced
1 pound yellow squash, diced
1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons lime juice
Tortillas, for serving

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil on medium and brown the pork until light brown on all sides, about 15 minutes. (You may have to do this in batches.)
Remove pork from pot. Add the onions to the pot and cook until they just begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
Place the pork back in the pot and add the serrano chiles, cilantro, tomatillos, cumin, oregano, zucchini, yellow squash, corn, and broth. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and then simmer for 30 more minutes. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Stir in the lime juice and serve with tortillas.

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  1. is a cool fall day here in Indiana...this food looks SO delish!
    xo, Cheryl

  2. wow those all look really good. I am about to start cooking up some good ol' prairie food in the next week as the farmers start to roll.

  3. Perfect for fall weather!... thanks for sharing, now I have to go check out the blog.

  4. I'm not the least bit homesick for Texas... snicker, snicker!

  5. Those fried pies really caught my attention. I haven't made any in a long time. I think I will have to get busy.

    Mom and grandma always used dried fruit to make theirs.


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