Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mexican Rice

Yesterday, my husband came home from work with two dozen home-made pork hot tamales! What a treat! The mother of one of the Hispanic guys he works with was selling them at work. When hubby told me he'd be bringing home the tamales, I knew the perfect side dish I'd make to serve with it: Mexican rice!My mother made the best Mexican rice ever, and this is her recipe. She was always adamant that it was Mexican, and not Spanish rice. I'm not sure what the difference is, but it is a lot different than what you are served in restaurants as Spanish rice. It has a much richer flavor, probably from the bacon and the tomato soup.
This is not a quick rice to fix, you must stir the rice continuously while it's browning so that it won't burn. Then it has to simmer very slowly for 50 minutes while it's absorbing the liquid. It's worth every bit of trouble, though, I promise. The bad thing about it is that once you've eaten
this rice, you'll never want the other Mexican or Spanish rice dishes again.MEXICAN RICE (recipe from Elizabeth Anthony)

4 slices bacon
1 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 - 10 oz can tomato soup
1 - 10 oz can stewed tomatoes, broken up
½ cup rice
½ cup water
4 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
½ tsp salt

Cut bacon into small pieces, fry until crisp in cast iron skillet; remove. Cook onion, pepper, and garlic in bacon fat until golden; remove. Saute raw rice in skillet with bacon drippings, stirring constantly until brown (5-10 minutes depending on heat). Add all ingredients; cover tightly and cook slowly 50 minutes (or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed); stir occasionally. Remove cloves and bay leaf. Makes 5 - 6 servings.Now that is Mama's recipe verbatim. But of course, you know I modify
every recipe I touch, so here are my modifications:
First, don't bother to make this amount, go ahead and make a double recipe; I always double it, and even then, we rarely have much left over.
I don't fry the bacon in small pieces, I fry it in slices, then crumble it after it's cooled, when I add it back to the pan.
I like to use ground cloves simply so I don't have to search for them to remove them when the dish is ready. I use one shake of the ground cloves for each whole clove called for (4 shakes for the single recipe; 8 shakes for my doubled recipe).
My husband doesn't like tomatoes, so I use 2 cans of tomato soup, and leave out the tomatoes. (He loves tomato soup, salsa, and ketchup, he just doesn't like the tomato texture.)
If I want a meatier dish, I add as much extra bacon as I choose. Frequently I double the amount of bacon called for in the recipe, just remember to remove some of the extra fat before you sautee your onions and peppers.
This is a wonderful dish for cold winter nights, it is very hearty and filling. Also, it smells wonderful while cooking; nothing smells better than onions frying in bacon drippings! The dish can be fixed in advance and reheated in the microwave, or simply kept warm in a very low oven, but be sure to keep the lid on, or cover with foil so it won't dry out!
So, the next time you're having tamales, or enchiladas, or any Mexican food, please give this recipe a try, I promise you won't be sorry!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Creamy Caramelized-Onion Soup

My dear friend of more than 30 years, Kevbo (Journal 703) served this soup at a lunch he and George hosted recently. George made wonderful paninis to accompany the soup, I'll have to get that recipe soon. I couldn't wait to try making the soup at home, so today was the day! Below is the recipe in black as it was given to me by Kevbo. The red text are my added comments:

Martha Stewart's Creamy Caramelized-Onion Soup
(Note from Kevbo: I have edited and doubled this recipe)* 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2.5 pounds (6 to8) leeks, white and pale-green parts only, rinsed well and coarsely chopped
* 10 garlic, thinly sliced
* 14 large shallots, about 28 ounces, thinly sliced
* 4 large Vidalia onions, about 40 ounces, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
* 1.5 cup dry white vermouth or white wine (I use Reisling)
* 8 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock
* 2 tbsp Coarse salt
* 2 cups heavy cream


1. Melt 8 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks, garlic, shallots, and half of the onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are deep golden brown but not burned, about 25 minutes.
(Here are the onions, cooked down quite a bit, not yet brown; be patient, it does take a bit of time) 2. Add vermouth, stock, and 2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Let cool. Puree onion mixture in batches in a blender until smooth, about 3 minutes per batch. Set aside. (I use a stick blender....much easier) (This is how much wine was left out of the bottle; I am too frugal to waste anything, I'll have to find another use for the wine) 3. Meanwhile, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add remaining onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Cover, and set aside. (By now, I've been cooking a while, it is a lengthy process. Good News! I found another use for the wine! Cheers! Here's to Kevbo and George for finding this recipe and sharing it with me)4. Return onion puree to saucepan. Stir in cream. Reheat over medium heat, stirring, until heated through but not boiling. Season with salt, if desired. Serve, topped with caramelized onions. (I resisted the urge to add pepper; the recipe did not call for it, but I put pepper in everything. The only reason I was able to resist the temptation to add it was that I KNEW first hand that this recipe was absolutely perfect as written) It was absolutely heavenly, right down to the caramelized onions on top! I ate three bowls of it for dinner! I may have the rest of it as a midnight snack, or perhaps for breakfast.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


There are as many good recipes for chili as there are stars in the Texas sky. This is the recipe I favor. It is a combination of several different recipes I've tried and liked over the years.


2 pounds coarsely ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 - 16 oz cans tomato sauce
2 cups water

2 tsp chipotle peppers, pureed
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp masa, mixed with 1/4 cup cold water

Brown ground beef and onion together; add bell pepper last five minutes of cooking; drain. Add remaining ingredients except masa mixture. Simmer 20 minutes. Add the masa mixture to the chili to thicken it; simmer 20 more minutes.

Spices may be altered to taste; as it is, the recipe has a little "kick". If you find this chili too hot and spicy, reduce the amounts of chipotle and cayenne. I do not recommend deleting either, as each adds it's own distinct flavor, not just heat, to the recipe.
Under no circumstance should beans ever be added to this recipe! To do so would render it inedible. Okay, maybe you could still eat it, but it would not be CHILI. In Texas, it
would be illegal. Period. End of discussion.(Chili Queens at the Alamo by Julian Onderdonk)

As far as "all the trimmins", I like to add the following to my bowl of red:
raw, chopped onion
lots of fresh cilantro
cornbread or crackers
icy cold beer, lots of it

This recipe can be modified to use venison, pork, or a combination of either, or both added to beef. I have even used ground buffalo, and it was delicious! It is simply a matter of personal taste and availability. On occasion, I have even used roast or chuck steak that's been run through the food processor. I like both, the taste is pretty much the same, just the texture is different. The leaness of your meat will also affect the taste.

I could go on and on about the finer points of chili, and why each ingredient is so important, but Chili 101 is another post altogether. This recipe will introduce you to good chili, and you'll never want to go back to that stuff they sell in cans. So get on into the kitchen and start cookin' ya'll!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Alamo Chili Queen has arrived

I love the Alamo; I love to cook; I love chili. I have a beautiful print of the Alamo hanging in our living room entitled "Chili Queens at the Alamo" by Julian Onderdonk. All of those things kinda came together here and I decided to start yet another blog. This one I intend to devote strictly to cooking, recipes, and all things that happen in my kitchen. Sit back and watch this blog develop!
Tonight we're having our first "cold snap" of the season, it should dip down into the 40's. That's chili weather for me, ya'll! So tomorrow I'll post my recipe for chili (
& all the trimmins!).
If you stumbled on this blog by accident, there isn't much here yet, so I apologize. Please stop by my other blog Alamo North, which is about everything that happens in my little world! By the way, did I mention I live in Texas??? Did I even have to mention it???