Friday, August 10, 2007

A Number Two Dinner

With this post, you now have all the proper fixins (yes, Texans say "fixins" in everyday speech, meaning "ingredients". We also say "I'm fixin' to...", meaning "getting ready to", which bowled them over in Ireland for some reason.) for an authentic Tex-Mex Number Two Dinner, just like it would be at Matt's El Rancho or Casita Jorge's. Two enchiladas, rice and beans. All you need is the chips and salsa and a cold Negra Modelo, if you are a guy, and a tall glass of beaded, sweating iced tea, if you are a girl. I do not know why this is, but it is a valid generalization. Maybe because women, being smarter than men, realize that alcohol makes a person fat, stupid, and subject to ED, except that isn't really a problem for most of them. Guys don't usually care if they become fat, stupid, etc. I know I don't.

Texans Bobby Earl Smith, Joe Gracey, Willie Nelson, and Colman Andrews, editor of Modern Lounging Magazine, before drinking too many Negra Modelos

Kimmie and I are going off to cook 100 meals for my mother and freeze them for her so that she can have good food and not have to rely on frozen store-bought garbage or the kindness of friends so much. It is an interesting exercise and one that I shall probably write about here, so I will not be posting here for a few days, most likely. These Tex-Mex recipes should keep you busy until my return. A drum roll, please:

Frijoles Refritos

If you were a Native Texan 400 years ago and you had a mess of beans and vegetables, then your first idea would be to throw them all in a pot and stew them together. Most of these things grow wild in Texas and Mexico so the cooks of the bunch developed this soup/stew. Earthenware is still the best type of pot to cook this dish in, just as it was ten thousand years ago.

1 pound (about 2 1/4 cups) Pinto or Anasazi Beans, soaked overnight, water discarded
2 yellow onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tomato, chopped, or a small can of diced tomatoes
salt and pepper (careful, the pork adds salt)
Salt Pork, blanched and cubed, or a handful of bacon, chopped up, or a smoked ham hock
Lard, preferably unhydrogenated, or bacon fat, Canola Oil or Corn Oil

Drain the beans. Cover with water plus a few inches, add the vegetables and the salt and pepper and pork. Simmer partially covered until the beans are done, about two hours. (Anasazis cook faster than Pintos, so check often or they fall apart.) Check frequently and put more water in if needed. Taste for salt and pepper. In an iron skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil for each cup of beans and "fry" them, mashing with a fork, adding bean liquid until a smooth puree is formed. Makes 10 small servings.