Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-off Series ~ Pork tacos & Austin-style black beans

When Heather of Girlichef contacted me about whether I wanted to be a part of “The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-off” I was beyond ecstatic.

Yes, yes….of course I do! What a neat project to be a part of! Over the next 4 weeks a group of select bloggers will be cooking out of Lisa Fain’s new cookbook. Lisa Fain is a seventh-generation native Texan who was transplanted to New York City when she was 25. As excited as she was to be in the big city, she soon discovered that the food she grew up with just wasn’t available. This led her on her journey to create that food and document it on her blog of the same name The Homesick Texan.

After several weeks anticipating the arrival of her cookbook, it arrived hot off the presses, literally…overnighted direct from the publisher in New York. I’d like to pretend that this is a normal occurrence around here, but I’ll admit to being a bit star struck at the thought that a cookbook not released yet to the public arrived on my doorstep and with a personal note to me. I think you’d be a bit giddy too! Seriously, how cool is that?

You know I’m passionate about cooking and food, and lately I’ve even mentioned cookbooks, but did you know how much I love to read? Yeah, this was beyond cool! My girls thought it was pretty neat too and gathered around me to see the cookbook. What a beauty! A big thank you to Hyperion for sponsoring this cook-off and sending a free copy to me!!

As I thumbed through the pages, I was struck by all the beautiful photos….what a gorgeous cookbook. But it’s more than beautiful, it’s chock full of amazing recipes I can’t wait to try! Over 125 of them, and I’ve already made a list of at least 25 recipes just begging me to sample. Fortunately for you guys….we get to share a few of them with you even though the book won’t be released until September 13th. It’s clear that Lisa’s heart and soul went into this cookbook, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her through its pages. I think you will too!

And don’t forget to stop off and visit all of my cooking mates on this journey. Heather listed them all in one place over at her site Girlichef. Heather’s site is one of my very favorite reads so be sure to spend some time on her blog too! The first 2 weeks we’ll all be cooking the same recipes, the third week we get to choose our own and the fourth week we’ll write up a review of the cookbook. See….I told you I had some exciting news!! Now onto the recipes…..

The recipes Heather picked for this week are Pork Tacos, Dallas Gas Station Style & Austin Style Black Beans.

I was excited to try the pork tacos since I seem to have sampled tacos every other way, but pork. We’ve had fish tacos, shrimp tacos, steak tacos, lentil/bean tacos and of course beef tacos….but never pork tacos. I knew hubby would be excited, and he was! Having been to Texas many times on business, he was able to declare the taste was authentic after last night’s dinner.

The black beans cooked for 2 1/2 hours on the stove, and were my first ever successful attempt at dried beans from scratch. I’ve never been able to get the method down and my beans were always somewhat hard no matter what I tried. But not this time. Not only were they soft…but after all that time spent mingling with chipotle peppers, carrots, onions, garlic, cilantro, cumin and lime they were phenomenal in taste!

A couple tips for you before you get started with the recipes below.

Even after checking Whole Foods, I wasn’t able to find the pasilla chiles needed for the tacos. Several other bloggers recommended small mexican markets (which we have many), but all the markets I knew of were already closed for the day. I ended up heading back to Whole Foods on a recommendation to substitute with ancho chiles instead. Another first for me was buying and rehydrating dried chiles. I love trying new things in the kitchen!

Also, even though Lisa was very clear when stating “two canned chipotle chiles” for the black beans…my inexperience working with chiles canned or dry led to a spicy blunder. I misunderstood that to mean two cans of chipotle chiles. Being nervous of that kind of heat, thankfully I used only a half a can….but that was still more than the “two” chipotle chiles called for and was super spicy. I was able to fix my mistake by mixing our black beans with additional beans once they were cooked.

 Pork Tacos, Dallas Gas Station Style ~ 4 to 6 servings

For the pork ~

4 dried pasilla chiles, stems and seeds removed (use gloves)
2 lbs. pork shoulder
1 canned chipotle chile in adobo (1 chile out of can)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
small pinch of cloves
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 Tbsp white vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt, to taste
1 Tbsp vegetable oil

For the tacos ~

6 jalepeno chiles
Tortillas, either corn or flour
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4  medium yellow onion, diced
1 lime, cut in wedges
Salsa, for serving

1. In a dry skillet heated on high, toast the pasilla chiles on each side for about 10 seconds or just until they start to puff. Fill the skillet with enough water to cover chiles. Leave the heat on until water begins to boil and turn off the heat and let the chiles soak until soft, about 30 minutes.

2. While the pasilla chiles are soaking, rinse the pork and trim the fat. Cut into half-inch-size pieces.

3. Once the pasilla chiles are hydrated, drain and rinse the chiles. Place the chiles in a blender along with the chipotle chile, garlic, oregano, cumin, cloves, orange juice, pineapple juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Blend until a smooth puree forms. Taste and add salt.

4. Toss the diced pork with the chile puree, place in a non-reative container, and store covered in the refrigerator for 8 hours.

5. Before cooking, let the pork sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. To cook the pork, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet on medium. Fry the pork in the skillet for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

6. While the pork is cooking, place the jalepenos under the broiler and cook for 10 minutes, or until blackened, turning once. Serve pork in warm tortillas, topped with cilantro and onions along with the roasted jalepenos, lime wedges, and salsa on the side.

NOTE: Ask your butcher to cut you a 2-pound pork shoulder roast if one is available. Avoid using pork tenderloin, as this is a very lean meat and won’t taste quite as good.

Austin-Style Black Beans ~ 8 to 10 servings

1 pound dried black beans
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 canned chipotle chiles, in adobo, chopped (2 chiles out of can)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup lime juice
salt, to taste

1. Rinse and sort through the beans, removing any stones and shriveled beans.

2. Place the beans in a large pot and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and then cook for 15 minutes.

3. Drain and rinse the beans in a colander in the sink.

4. Return the empty pot to the stove and on medium-low heat, warm the vegetable oil. Add the onions and carrots to the pot and while occasionally stirring, cook until the onions are translucent and the carrots are lighter, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic to the pot and cook for 30 more seconds.

5. Return the beans to the pot, along with the chipotle chiles and 1/4 cup cilantro. Cover with 2 inches of water, bring to a boil, and then turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours.

6. After 1 1/2 hours, add the remaining cilantro, cumin, tomato paste, and lime juice. Taste and add salt. Cook uncovered for 30 more minutes or until beans are tender (the ultimate cooking time will depend on the freshness of your beans). When done, smash a few beans against the side of the pot with a spoon to thicken the broth. Stir the pot and serve.

If you enjoyed this post, won’t you consider sharing it with others? Handy share and “Facebook recommend” buttons are below. It really makes my day when you pass things along! To make sure you don’t miss a post or recipe you can either follow Creative Kitchen on Facebook or subscribe by Email in the sidebar. Thanks for reading….I love having company in the kitchen!

This post is part of The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef
This recipe is linked up with Works for Me Wednesday, Real Food WednesdayWhat’s on the Menu Wednesday, Show and TellPennywise Platter, Simple Lives Thursday, It’s a Keeper, Full Plate ThursdayFriday Potluck, Friday Favorites, Fight Back Friday, Mangia Mondays, Homemaker Monday, Tasty Tuesday, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Fat Tuesday, Tuesdays at the Table, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Tip me Tuesday, Tasty Tuedays & Hearth and Soul Hop.

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35 Responses to Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-off Series ~ Pork tacos & Austin-style black beans

  1. Tina says:

    Impressive! I know what you mean, getting a book sent to you – a good cookbook at that – is always a thrill, I am happy to be cooking with you all 🙂

  2. Bo W says:

    I once used a whole can of chipotles in a recipe and it was not edible…I’m so glad you didn’t use 2 cans! All your food looks great. This is a beautiful book…I too have bookmarked a lot of the recipes.

  3. Yours turned out beautifully. I have used canned chipotle before and they are full of flavor and plenty spicy. Good thing you didn’t use more than a half of can. 😀 This is so much fun to follow and see everyone’s rsults.
    Lyndsey ~The Tiny Skillet~ recently posted..Oven-Baked Risotto ~ Martha Monday’s

  4. christy says:

    oh no with the chipotles! yeah for finding a solution to dim the spice down a bit.. i’m glad to have found your blog through this project 🙂
    christy recently posted..austin-style black beans {cooking from The Homesick Texan}

  5. Everything looks so good. And I know the tacos were delicious, because I made them for lunch today! 😀
    Leslie @ La Cocina de Leslie recently posted..Comfort Food Classics: Banana Pudding

  6. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Denise,
    Your presentation is awesome and I really enjoyed your post. The taco’s were just delicious and I am making the beans as I write this note to you, from the ingredient list they will be just as good. It is fun meeting and cooking with you!
    Miz Helen
    Miz Helen recently posted..Pork Tacos Dallas Gas Station Style

  7. Looks like everything turned out beautifully…and I’m so excited that you’re excited. Contagious, isn’t it!? 😉 Check another type of taco off of your list!
    Heather @girlichef recently posted..Pork Tacos, Dallas Gas Station Style & Austin-Style Black Beans {The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off}

  8. That looks great! We are huge fans of tacos and this one covers all the flavor bases! Woohoo for free cookbooks!
    Krista {Budget Gourmet Mom} recently posted..Breakfast Pockets

  9. marla says:

    This cookbook sounds wonderful & I must get my hands on one 🙂

  10. Looks like a fantastic book… and beans. 🙂
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective recently posted..Grilled Corn Salad with Smokey Vinaigrette

  11. Awesome first post of our adventure! I cant wait to see your next dish if it’s as good as this one.
    Thanks for sharing…
    Foodness Gracious recently posted..Food Trucks…

  12. I’ve been seeing these beans everywhere! I already have them added to the menu in a few weeks. I am SOOOO glad you didn’t use 2 whole cans! I couldn’t even imagine! I LOVE the chipotles out of the can. I puree the whole can of stuff and keep it in the frig. It adds excellent flavor to a LOT of things! Thanks!
    Debbi Does Dinner Healthy recently posted..Slow Cooked Bean Casserole

  13. Eva says:

    A very flavourful meal indeed. Great bean recipe too!
    Eva recently posted..Tuppkaka – a recipe from Charles

  14. Kim says:

    I did a happy dance when I go the book too. It’s such a pretty book and so many nice stories and excerpts.
    Your tacos and beans look amazing. Wish I had thought to add cheese like you did!
    Kim recently posted..The Homesick Texan Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-off: Pork Tacos, Dallas Gas Station Style and Austin-Style Black Beans

  15. Nutmeg Nanny says:

    I really wish I would have had the time to make those tacos…they look amazing!
    Nutmeg Nanny recently posted..Pumpkin Yeast Bread

  16. Miranda says:

    2 cans! Whoa that really would have been spicy! Your presentation looks beautiful and I love the cheese garnish on top.
    Miranda recently posted..*New* Join the Forum Discussions!

  17. Wowza–those would have been very spicy beans! I am glad you were able to save them. 😉 Both your tacos and beans look wonderful. These were two very fun recipes to try–I love all the flavors.
    Deb in Hawaii recently posted..(Not) Pork Tacos, Dallas Gas Station Style and Austin-Style Black Beans for Cookbook Spotlight: "The Homesick Texan"

  18. I could have helped ya with the chiles! Next time call me! 🙂
    I’m glad it still turned out good… looks delish!
    michelle @ The Village Cook recently posted..easy cake recipe

  19. I too was starstruck just a bit. Though, I didn’t get the benefit of seeing the overnighted book on my step since I was out of town. Wow – what great recipes. It’s great to cook with you and I look forward to our next adventure 🙂
    Erin @ EKat’s Kitchen recently posted..Pork Tacos, Dallas Gas Station Style

  20. Danielle says:

    I felt the same way when I got my cookbook….so special. Pretty funny about your chipotle…..wwwwhhheewy, that would’ve been hot if you’d added two cans LOL. Everything looks great!!
    Danielle recently posted..Kara-Age Soy-Ginger Seasoned Chicken

  21. Receive a cookbook prior to it being on the market – how cool is that and I would be super excited too. I really like the name of the cookbook and I think it will draw a big audience from just the name alone. Makes me miss Texas that’s for sure.

    I smiled at your chipotle chili problem. I couldn’t find them for years and then, all of a sudden, there they were in my market, in the Mexican food section. Love tacos and black beans – a really successful dish you have.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Dinner at the Inn on Biltmore Estate & a Tour of the Antler Hill Farm

    • Denise says:

      Yes…it’s been SO much fun!! I really do hope to make it to the Biltmore soon. My father-in-law lives in Asheville part time, so I really have no excuse!

  22. looks awesome!! i was also very excited to be asked and the recipes chosen were perfect. happy to be cooking with you on this cookbook spotlight!!

  23. These look fabulous; I can’t wait to get my copy of the book. I’m not but Texas so no homesickness for me but just love their food.
    Barbara | Creative Culinary recently posted..Welshing on the Rabbit becomes Welsh Wabbit (Think Chicken!)

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  26. I had so much fun cooking this… and still have to do the beans! Can’t wait to try them! Thanks for linking up to Friday Potluck this week. 🙂

  27. jill says:

    Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. Hope to see you next week! Be sure to visit on Sunday for
    Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!

    If you have grain-free recipes please visit Wednesday night for a grain-free linky carnival in support of my 28 day grain-free challenge starting Wednesday!
    jill recently posted..Fat Tuesday: October 4, 2011

  28. What delicious comfort food! Your tacos and black beans look wonderful. Thank you for sharing them with Let’s Do Brunch.
    April @ The 21st Century Housewife recently posted..The Hearth and Soul Hop with The 21st Century Housewife

  29. Alea Milham says:

    Mmmmm, Both the pork tacos and black beans look great! Thank you for sharing your experience and recipes with the Hearth and Soul Hop.

  30. Incredible, thanks for sharing with the Hearth and Soul. This book has sparked so much interest, and it is clear why, with your wonderful post.
    Melynda@Moms Sunday Cafe recently posted..Hearth and Soul # 68

  31. Phoebe Gardner says:

    Impressive! Whoa that really would have been spicy!
    Phoebe Gardner recently posted..Acne Tips

  32. Maricela Little says:

    Thanks! I felt the same way when I got my cookbook….so special. Wow – what great recipes.
    Maricela Little recently posted..Arthritis Tips

  33. Pingback: Pork Tacos, Dallas Gas Station Style | Salmon at Seven

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