Texas Food Overview.
Last night during the World Series, Tim McCarver, the color commentator mentioned the wonderful fact that the venerable hamburger was invented(can food really be an invention?) in Athens, Texas in nineteen hundred and four. I actually didn't know that one. Typically, when you think of Texas, and then food-you should be thinking about our wonderful, world class Barbecue.
My brother has been a part of couple different Texas State BBQ awards. This year, the restaurant that he is the Pit Master at, Stanley's Famous , in Tyler, Texas-won "best pork ribs" in the State. But besides BBQ, and because of the increased change in demographics, when you think of "Texas Food," you should be thinking TEX-MEX. , and if you think along those lines you've hit the Lone Star State's culinary vein.
Now, I know that I can sometimes be a little long winded, and perhaps a little off topic-I'll get to the recipe in a minute. This is MY hub, after all. Recently, it was reported that Mexican Americans have the longest life span of any major ethnic group in these not so United States in America. I think that this is an important thing to pay attention to.
So guess what? You think that eating meat is unhealthy? Tell that to the Mexican Americans-they live longer on average than you do. You think flour tortillas cooked in REAL butter are bad for you? Tell that to the Mexican Americans-they live longer lives than the rest of us.
So what makes Texas food Texas Food is, in my opinion, our state's long history and relationship with Mexico, and Mexican Americans. We "Anglos" and African Americans here enjoy, perhaps, a closer relationship with Mexican Americans, and Mexico than the rest of the Nation-and this influences our entirely unique state culture, and our culinary habits.
Ingredients and Equipment
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Fusion and Infusion.
So basically, yours truly, bachelor extraordinare, and every dish that he cooks, is a form of traditional Southern cooking and/or TEX-MEX fusion; and when it comes right down to it-this basically means that I incorporate a lot of spices and chili peppers into my cooking.
Mexican Americans live longer lives than the other demographic groups-this isn't entirely because of their culinary habits, and I have some rather pointed ideas about the rest of that equation, but I think it can be safely assumed here that the rest of us would do well to eat more chili peppers!
Now, it's true-Mexican Americans don't usually boil their chicken. They usually grill it. But I made this dish last night because I wanted to try something new-and it came together rather wonderfully. Boiling chicken is an easier way of doing things, and because the chicken will be immersed in boiling water-the meat gets cooked on all sides at once, and is less of a hassle. You also get the opportunity to infuse flavor into the meat in a way that you wouldn't get with grilling. Here is how to do it:
Take your boiling pot, fill with water, and bring to a boil. When the water is boiling, take your thawed chicken, and put it in the pot. Your water is no longer boiling as you've now lowered the water temp with the chicken-add judicious amounts of salt and black pepper to the water and bring the chicken, salt, and pepper mix back to a boil.
Use a LOW BOIL. What on Earth is a "low boil?" Boiling isn't always boiling. Water boils at 212 Fahrenheit at sea level, but boiling water can be "superheated," and this means that additional heat is present past the 212 Fahrenheit . You don't want a superheated boil. You want a "low boil."
Let the mix boil for about ten minutes-depending on how much chicken you are cooking, and add diced onions, bell peppers, Anaheim Peppers, and jalapeño peppers. I also add diced tomato, but very late in the process-as I don't want my tomato to be boiled to mush. Basically, you should be your own judge of when to add the onions and peppers, as there's no way for me to know just how much "crunch" you like in your veggies. Obviously, the earlier you add the veggies, the softer they will be when the chicken is done.
note: It's occurred to me that you might not have a clue what an Anaheim pepper is. . . .an Anaheim pepper only LOOKS like a jalapeño pepper, but is much larger, and very mild in flavor-but it most certainly, like all chili peppers, has it's own unique flavor-very unlike the jalapeño or the bell peppers.
Onions: it doesn't matter which color onion you use-Red onions or Yellow onions make for a more colorful dish. What you might want to think about if you are into the presentation of a meal. . . is what color bell pepper you've used. Bell Peppers come in red, orange, and the traditional green. The orange bell peppers cost the most, as they are well known to have the highest content of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, the reds are second, and lastly the green.
Finally, you know your chicken is done when you use a knife, cut into the center of the meat-and see that the chicken is "white," and NOT EVER "pink." Use a strainer to get rid of the water-and you've got yourself an easy, colorful, flavorful, healthy meal to enjoy-inspired by the wonderful, and unique flavors of the most beautiful state in either the North or South Americas.
Flavor Options and Suggested Sides.
As for additional flavor options for this dish, I suggest Mrs. Dash seasonings, a brand that I've become rather fond of-and for this dish I used Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning, and added it to the water early on, when I added the salt and black pepper. Mrs. Dash seasonings come in many varieties, but for more of a TEX-MEX flavor, you'll use the Fiesta Lime.
After straining, and putting the dish, arranged with the veggie and pepper mix "separate but equal" from the chicken. I always add lime juice, and Louisiana Hot Sauce.. Texas is ALSO rather influenced in the culinary vein by the abused state of Louisiana, and it's Cajun population, and it's unique French inspired Cajun culture.
For sides, the best options for keeping it Tex-Mex are either flour or corn tortillas, pan cooked with REAL butter, or Mexican brown rice.
An Alternate Way To Prepare The Veggies.
An alternate method to preparing vegetables for this dish, or any like it is to take the diced veggies of your choosing, and slowly cook them in a pan with either butter, or olive oil. You'll know when the diced vegetables of your own choosing are ready by looking at the onions in the mix, and you do need to include diced onion in the vegetables of YOUR own choosing :-D What will happen is that the onions will start to look translucent, and this will be when they are all ready. This method, though you get no infused veggie juice into your chicken, allows the vegetables to remain a little bit crunchy, which I find very appealing.