Texas New Cuisine Recipes

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Serrano Ham Quesadillas

Go to Lee's RecipesLike any grilled cheese sandwich, a quesadilla tastes even better with a little something extra inside — in this case, serrano ham (or any other fine air-cured ham such as prosciutto, westphalian, or bayonne) and oaxacan string cheese. From Nuevo Tex-Mex — Festive New Recipes from Just North of the Border (Chronicle Books) by David Garrido and Robb Walsh.

8 ounces serrano ham, prosciutto, or other good ham, thinly sliced
8 ounces pulled Oaxacan string cheese or grated jack cheese
2 tablespoons minced serrano chili, or to taste
8 flour tortillas
4 teaspoons butter

Divide the ham, cheese, and serrano chili evenly among 8 flour tortillas. Fold the tortillas in half.

In a medium-sized skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. (Plan on using 12 teaspoon butter for each quesadilla in the pan.) When it starts to bubble, add as many of the folded tortillas as will fit easily in the pan. Toast for about 2 minutes on each side, or until the cheese melts and tortilla is crisp. Service the quesadillas piping hot. Makes 8 quesadillas.

Per serving: 271 calories; 14.8 g fat (7.8 g saturated fat; 49 percent calories from fat); 18.3 g carbohydrates; 45 mg cholesterol; 739 mg sodium; 15.6 g protein; 1.1 g fiber.

Corn Griddle Cakes

Serve them with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream, with or without caviar. Or try some salsa. They can be made ahead and reheated later; place them on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and heat in the oven at 325 degrees for 3 or 4 minutes. Adapted slightly from “Southwestern Vegetarian” by Stephan Pyles.

1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels, divided
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons diced yellow bell pepper
2 teaspoons minced serrano chili
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs plus 4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil or clarified butter, for frying, divided

Combine the cornmeal, flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl and set aside.

In a blender, puree 1 cup of the corn kernels until smooth and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining corn kernels, milk, diced bell peppers, chili and butter; whisk together. Add the cornmeal mixture and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks and salt. Add the egg mixture to the batter and stir to combine thoroughly.

On a griddle or in a large cast-iron skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Then pour in half the batter, as six pancakes. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until the pancakes are golden brown. Remove and let drain on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Repeat with remaining batter.

Makes 12 cakes. Serves 4 to 6.

Per 16 serving: 380 calories; 26 g fat (15 g saturated fat; 61 percent calories from fat); 29 g carbohydrates; 270 mg cholesterol; 470 mg sodium; 8 g protein; 2 g fiber.

Chicken Fried Steak with Cracked Pepper Gravy

These “steaks” are beef, not chicken, as the ingredients indicate below. The recipe originated with German immigrants to Texas, who created a variation on their traditional Wiener schnitzel. For the most tender meat, have the butcher run the round steaks through its tenderizer twice. (The meat then will look like cubed steaks.) From “A Cowboy in the Kitchen” by Grady Spears and Robb Walsh.


1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons paprika


2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup bock beer


2 cups peanut oil
4 (about 12-pound each) tenderized round steaks
2 cups Cracked Pepper Gravy (see recipe)

Prepare the seasoning by blending the flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Set aside on a plate or wax paper.

Prepare the batter by mixing the eggs with a whisk in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk and beer. Whisk to blend. Set aside.

In a deep, heavy skillet, heat the oil to 350 degrees. While the oil is heating, prepare the round steaks by dredging them in the seasoned flour, taking care to evenly coat the meat. Shake off any excess.

Dip the meat into the batter and then again in the seasoned flour, evenly coating the batter so it is dry on the outside. When the oil is hot (when a drop of batter sizzles in it), gently slide one steak into the hot oil. Cook the steak about 5 minutes. Turn it, taking care not to break the coating, and cook the meat 5 more minutes, or until the batter is nicely browned. Drain the cooked steak on paper towels.

Repeat with the other steaks. Hold the cooked steaks in a 225-degree oven until all four are done. Pour Cracked Pepper Gravy over the steaks and serve.

For Texas-style presentation, pour the cracked pepper gravy over chicken-fried steaks and garlic mashed potatoes. For a real Texas truck-stop touch, serve iceberg lettuce quarters with buttermilk dressing on the side.

Serves 4.

Per serving: 760 calories; 40 g fat (12 g saturated fat; 47 percent calories from fat); 42 g carbohydrates; 150 mg cholesterol; 1300 mg sodium; 54 g protein; 2 g fiber.

Cracked Pepper Gravy

Cracked pepper is different from freshly ground pepper because the former is stronger in flavor and aroma. Grind them in a food processor or blender, only pulsing them once or twice just to crack them. From “A Cowboy in the Kitchen.” This is a very tasty gravy.

1/4 cup (12 stick) unsalted butter
5 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 teaspoons cracked pepper

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. When the foam goes down, whisk in the flour. Continually whisk until the flour cooks, becoming a fragrant light brown.

Slowly add the milk, continuing to whisk to keep lumps from forming. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer gravy for 10 minutes to cook and reduce. Serve hot.

Makes 3 cups.

Per 14 cup serving: 73 calories; 5 g fat (3 g saturated fat; 61 percent calories from fat); 5 g carbohydrates; 14 mg cholesterol; 220 mg sodium; 2 g protein; 0 g fiber.

Source: http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/ah_recipes_ethnic/article/0,1801,HGTV_3178_1387136,00.html