Louis Lambert

"I grew up in a ranching family in West Texas," says Louis Lambert, "and every summer when it was time to work cattle—branding and shipping—a camp cook would prepare three meals a day over an open fire for all of the cowboys." One of the cook's staple dishes was chickpeas simmered in a large Dutch oven with a smoked ham hock and lots of onion, garlic and chiles. Louis's version includes robust sautéed kale. More Southwestern Recipes
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Salsa Roja
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The key to a great enchilada is the sauce. Mexican cooks refer to it as "gravy" and each region of Texas has its own distinct version. Salsa Roja is most common in the high desert of western Texas, where, Louis Lambert found, whole dried chiles are a mainstay. To him, this slightly sweet, richly flavored peppery sauce is the very best enchilada gravy. More Tex-Mex Recipes
In Texas, every cook has his or her own closely guarded recipe for the Mexican chocolate-and-chile sauce called mole, invariably making it for the holidays and other special occasions. "I've sampled mole from El Paso to Matamoros," says Louis Lambert. "It has taken me many years and many attempts to perfect my own version." He serves his mole, which has a delicious smoky flavor, with hearty cuts of grilled beef like porterhouse or the grilled strip steaks here. More Steak Recipes
When chef Louis Lambert was growing up in West Texas, his grandmother Lucille served citrus-and-avocado salad whenever she hosted the Odessa bridge club. Today, Louis embellishes her recipe with a few extra ingredients, adding watercress and toasted pine nuts for crunch and goat cheese for a bit of tang. More Salad Recipes
Chocolate-Oatmeal Carmelitas
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Over the years, Louis Lambert has fed a lot of politicians (President Clinton, every living Texas governor and both Bush presidents). He first made these decadent carmelitas for Lady Bird Johnson, who was hosting a fund-raiser for the Wildflower Center at a ranch outside Johnson City. Laced with chocolate chips, pecans and dulce de leche, these bar cookies have become one of his most popular recipes. More Cookie Recipes