Mouthwatering recipes from the Lone Star State, including crispy quails with chile jam and three-bean salad and braised pork shanks.
Food & Wine
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Cocoa-and-Chile-Rubbed Pork Chops
Tim Love rubs meat with a bit of sugar to help brown it but finishes the dish over low heat so the sugar doesn't char the outside. Here, he coats pork chops with cocoa and chile powders for a rub that's like a deconstructed version of Mexican mole sauce.
This extraordinarily rich and sweet dessert was the winner at the 1996 State Fair of Texas State pie competition, which Dean Fearing helped judge. "Out of 140 pies, this one was it," he says. "Her name was Bobby Lee; she never told me her last name."
Bryan Caswell left Texas for nine years, but there are some things he couldn't shake, like three-bean salad. It gives a Southern touch to his Asian-accented quail, which marinates in ginger, garlic and soy sauce. Caswell learned to make chile jam in Bangkok, but he says Texans love the heat.
Monica Pope, an F&W Best New Chef 1996, loves the organic pecans from Rio Grande Organics in Quemado Valley, Texas. At her Houston restaurant, T'afia, she uses the nuts to garnish a salad of quickly grilled zucchini ribbons and creamy-fleshed cranberry beans. Pecan oil enhances the pecans' sweet flavor but the dish is equally delicious without it.
Pork shanks, which come from the front leg of the pig, can be chewy when cooked incorrectly. When prepared properly, however, they become succulent and flavorful. Tim Love thinks the best way to cook them is in a long, slow braise, as in the recipe here. Don't let the liquid boil, he warns, or it will toughen the meat.
Walking into a yakitori bar in Tokyo, Dean Fearing was startled by the thick grill smoke filling the room, then delighted by the delicious flavor of the skewered meats. "These chicken skewers are as close to the food from that grill as I can remember," he says.
The 1980s ushered in the era of the celebrity chef. Some big names, like John Sedlar, disappeared but are back now (his Rivera in Los Angeles opens soon); others never left, like Robert del Grande, who is reinventing Houston's Cafe Annie as Bar Annie with dishes like this Southwestern pork rib stew.