Austin has a ton of great Mexican food, from old-school Tex-Mex to authentic interior Mexican cuisine. We wanted to see the range, so we consulted Austin Chowhounds for a little guidance. On scrumptiouschef's urging, we learned some of the secrets behind a family recipe for enchiladas, complete with classic brown gravy, served at a bowling alley. There were also breakfast tacos at the tiny El Taco Rico trailer, another Chowhound favorite where every corn tortilla is made fresh, and a taste of authentic home-style Mexican cooking at El Mesón.
The beauty of this colorful meatball recipe is that it can be both a bite-size party appetizer and a hearty main dish. Tex-Mex Meatballs in Red Chile Sauce take their heat from a broiled poblano pepper, and creamy Cotija makes for perfect tacos.
Easy Rice Pudding
A simple and supremely satisfying dessert, rice pudding is pure comfort in a bowl. It's easy to get there too! Just simmer white rice with whole milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt until the grains are tender, plump, and creamy, then stir in a little vanilla or almond extract while the pudding's still warm. Top however you like (fresh berries in season, dried fruit, toasted nuts for a crunchy contrast, a sprinkle of cinnamon, etc.) -- you really can't go wrong.
Easy Pie Crust
Homemade pie crust really elevates your desserts (and savory tarts and quiches too), and isn't as hard as you might think, especially if you use a food processor to make the dough. Even if you don't roll it out exactly evenly or press it in to your pie plate perfectly, the buttery taste and flaky texture will more than make up for any cosmetic imperfections. Give this easy pie crust recipe a try next time you bake -- and if you want to use it for a savory dish, just leave out the sugar in the recipe.
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Softened vegetables, including onions and bell peppers, amped up with spices like chili powder, cumin, oregano, and cayenne, form the base of this tortilla soup. Chicken broth and tomatoes are added, along with soft corn tortillas that meld into the liquid to make a hearty, thick meal. Finally, shredded chicken is stirred in, and everything is garnished with crunchy tortilla strips, sour cream, shredded cheese, and scallions (avocados, pickled jalapeños, and cilantro would all work too).
Behind The Business: Richard Blais
Richard Blais talks to Chowhound about being a TV chef, restaurateur, parent, and cookbook author.