Friday, October 7, 2011

More from the Homesick Texan

I practically sat by the side of the mailbox waiting for my copy of The Homesick Texan to arrive, so it pains me to report that my first 2 outings with this cookbook that has been all over the blogosphere were dismal failures. The first recipe I made was arroz con leche. I know the difference between this and rice pudding, but this recipe produced rice soup. It went over the bank behind the house and I hope some of our woodland creatures derived some nourishment from it. Relatively undeterred, I decided to make the tres leches cake. If you've ever eaten a piece of this, you know how decadent it is. I followed Fain's recipe to the letter. I've made genoise/sponge cake many times. The cake that I produced from this recipe did not look good, but I proceeded to poke holes in it and pour over some of the milk mixture. The next day we tossed that over the bank as well. DSO's suggestion was that I toss the cookbook over the bank, but I figured three's a charm and so I went on to make cheese enchiladas with chile con carne and Austin-style black beans. Finally, success!

After my lack of success with the first 2 recipes, I decided to use Fain's recipes as guidelines and made a few small changes. I used flour tortillas instead of corn tortillas; chipotle chilis in adobo instead of ancho chilies, and I put the chile con carne inside the enchilada along with the cheese. I also doubled the amount of ground beef called for.

Cheese and Chile con Carne Enchiladas (4-6 servings)
For the chile con carne:
1-2 chipotles chilies in adobo, finely chopped
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tbs ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup water
1/2 lb lean ground beef
2 cups beef broth
salt,  pepper to taste

For the enchiladas:
10-12 small flour tortillas
4 cups grated cheddar cheese (16 oz)

In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Place cooked onions and garlic into the blender along with the cumin, oregano, allspice, cinnamon, and 1 cup of water. Blend until smooth. Set aside sauce.

In the same pot on medium heat, brown the ground beef, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add the chilies and the beef broth on high until boiling, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes, adjust the seasonings.

To make the enchiladas, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking dish. One at a time, dip the tortillas into the sauce, shaking off excess. Lay the tortilla on a plate and add 1/12 of the chile con carne and 1/4 cup of the grated cheese down the center. Roll the tortilla tightly and add to the prepared baking dish. Pour remaining sauce over the enchiladas and top with the remaining grated cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is lightly browned and bubbling. Serve with additional chopped onion, if desired.

Austin-style Black Beans (8-10 servings)
1 lb dried black beans
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tbs tomato paste
1/4 cup lime juice
salt, to taste

Rinse and sort through the beans, removing any stones or shriveled beans. Place the beans in a large pot and cover with 1 inch water. Bring to a boil, then cook for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse the beans in a colander.

Return the empty pot to the stove and on medium-low heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the onions and carrots to the pot and while occasionally stirring, cook until the onions are translucent and the carrots are lighter, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic to the pot and cook for 30 more seconds.

Return the beans to the pot, along with the chipotle chiles and 1/4 cup of cilantro. Cover with 2 inches of water, bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer UNCOVERED for 1 1/2 hours.

After 1 1/2 hours, add the remaining cilantro, cumin, tomato paste, and lime juice. Taste and add salt. Cook uncovered for 30 more minutes or until beans are tender. When done, smash a few beans against the side of the pot with a spoon to thicken the broth. Stir the pot and serve.
I almost didn't post the pictures because, as you can see, these dishes aren't too "purty." That said, I'll be quick to add that they were absolutely delicious--as good as or better than what we get at our local "cantina." I'm so pleased that I didn't let DSO convince me to toss the cookbook along with the failed desserts. My decision to place the chile con carne INside the enchiladas was simply to assist with portion control. I could easily anticipate having just cheese enchiladas left over if I'd put the sauce on top. I'm glad I gave Fain a third shot and look forward to more delicious recipes (though I'm swearing off the desserts!).


  1. Sounds like she does much better on the savoury recipes! What a shame about the desserts!

  2. I've been eyeing that cookbook for a while now. If/when I ever get I'll have to make a note to skip the desserts! These Enchiladas and black beans look delicious though! Can't wait to hear how more of the recipes turn out!

  3. Black beans delicous,this is one my whole gang will like me to make!

  4. It is frustrating when recipe doesn't work. Glad you finally get one that works:D The enchalidas adn black beans looks yummy.

  5. i have GOT to get that cookbook, everything that comes from it looks amazing!

  6. Hi this is Nicole from Colie’s Kitchen I just discovered your blog and wanted to drop by and say hi. I am now a new follower. I would love to have you stop by Colie’s Kitchen if you get a chance.

  7. I am glad you finally had some success with it. I really loved everything I made but I didn't do any of the desserts. ;-)


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