A Homesick Texan Meal

This may not make sense to most people, but sometimes I am from Texas.  Sometimes I am from Pennsylvania, sometimes I am from Colorado, sometimes I am from Virginia.  As an Army brat who is the child of Army brats, answering the question “where are you from?” is more complicated than one might think.  So, sometimes it changes.  My mom’s family is from Pennsylvania, but now all live in Colorado.  My parents, sister and I have all lived in Virginia for several years.

My dad’s mom, my Mimi, was a born and raised, tried and true, deep in the heart Texan.  She moved around most of her adult life as an Army wife, but never lost her Texas charm or Texas roots, and made it back there permanently after my grandfather retired.  We still have family who live in Texas, including my sister and brother in law.  I spent my sophomore and junior year of high school there. My dad has a faint, but distinct, Texas accent, though only on certain words. I love Friday Night Lights. Even my dog is from Texas.

All this is to say, I have a little Texas in me, and a big soft spot for the Lone Star State.  While not a seventh generation Texan like Lisa Fain of The Homesick Texan, I absolutely loved cooking from her book, and honestly?  It made me just a little bit homesick. 

Carnitas*

  • 3 lb boneless pork shoulder
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt

The original recipe said to not trim the pork at all, but I cut off some of the larger pieces of fat.  Cut the pork into 2 inch pieces.  Put the pork in a large Dutch oven, and add juices, garlic cloves, cumin and salt.  Stir, and then add water to just barely cover the pork.  Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to simmer.  Allow the pork to simmer for two hours, uncovered.  Do not touch or stir.

After two hours, mot of the liquid should be evaporated, and the rendered pork fat will be in the bottom of the Dutch oven.  Turn heat up to medium high, and sauté the pork until browned on all sides.  This could take from 10-30 minutes, depending on how quickly the liquid evaporated.  Keep an eye on the pork!  When it is browned, it is done.  Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate to drain.

Serve warm, with Houston style salsa (recipe below), cilantro, onions and tortillas (recipe also below).

Houston Style Green Salsa*

  • ¾ lb tomatillos, husked
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 or 2 Serrano chiles, ribs and seeds removed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • salt

Bring a pot of water to a boil, and add the husked tomatillos, whole, and boil for 5 minutes.  Strain, allow to cool for a few minutes, and then add to blender with all other ingredients.  Puree, taste, add salt if needed.  If the mixture is overly thick, you can add water until desired consistency is reached.

San Antonio Style Flour Tortillas*

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.  Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan just until the butter melts.  Remove from heat and stir in oil.

Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until it forms a loose, sticky ball.  Knead on a floured surface for 2 minutes, until a firm, smooth ball is formed.  Cover the dough and allow to rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

After one hour, divide the dough into 8 smaller balls.  Cover and allow to rest for 30 more minutes.

On a floured surface, pat each ball into a 4 inch ball, and then roll out into a thin disk, about 8 inches in diameter.  Keep tortillas covered until ready to cook.

Heat a dry skillet over high heat.  One at a time, place the tortilla on the skillet.  It will immediately begin to bubble up.  Allow to cook for 30 seconds, then flip.  Cook 30 seconds on the other side, and then flip for another 30 seconds.

I had to keep a very close eye on the tortillas, and flip often.   More than 30 seconds on either side and they started to burn.  This will depend on the heat of your stove.  The bottom line is:  LOOK OUT.  They can burn quickly.  Frequent flipping is totally fine.

Keep tortillas warm by wrapping in a clean kitchen towel.

*All recipes are from The Homesick Texan cookbook.

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2 thoughts on “A Homesick Texan Meal

  1. This recipe makes me homesick for Texas. I spent some time in Texas and the food is the #1 thing that i miss. I am going to try this over the weekend. Thanks looks like a great meal.

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