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Leslie Horne Dishes Up Texas Quail, Chorizo and Mushroom Paella


Leslie Horne makes paella.

Leslie Horne makes paella.

Leslie Horne of Aurelia’s Chorizo knows her way around a paella pan.

Last fall, she gave several demonstrations at GauchoGourmet on Isom Road, using products in the store to create a dish that was loaded with a cornucopia of flavors. She also cooked up several enormous pans, featuring her chorizo and a host of other succulent ingredients, at Paella Lovers United, an Austin cook-off that drew hundreds to what is essentially a backyard get-together complete with prizes for those interested in competing. (Horne was not part of the competition.)

Once you get the knack of the dish, you’ll discover that you can make paella any way you like. Here’s a recipe that features her chorizo as well as that Texas favorite, quail. What makes it different is that it calls for no seafood. But if you love shrimp, include them in the recipe. Just don’t add them too early or they’ll overcook.

That’s all part of the fun of learning how to make this Spanish favorite. You can make it your own.

Texas Quail, Chorizo and Mushroom Paella

6 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
6 Texas quail (we love Diamond H brand)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Smoked Spanish paprika
1/4 cup olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 links Aurelia’s Spanish Style Chorizo, sliced into 1/4-inch thick sliced (see note)
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
1 medium tomato, grated or finely diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
3 cups short grain rice
2 cups green peas
Roasted red pepper strips for garnish
Caper berries, for garnish

Leslie Horne's paella at GauchoGourmet.

Leslie Horne’s paella at GauchoGourmet.

Combine chicken broth and saffron in large pot and heat to almost boiling. (Do not let it boil, or it will evaporate.) Season quail with salt, freshly ground black pepper and smoked Spanish paprika. In a 15-inch paella pan, over 2 burners, heat olive oil. Brown quail, but do not cook through. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onion and bell pepper, cooking until onion is wilted and translucent. Add chorizo and mushrooms, cook for 2 minutes. Add tomato, garlic and parsley. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms begin to soften and garlic becomes aromatic. Add 3 cups rice; stir to coat with pan drippings. Return quail to pan. Carefully add the hot saffron chicken broth. Taste and adjust the salt, if needed. Bring the stock to a boil, cook for 15 minutes rotating pan over two burners. Scatter peas evenly over entire pan but do not stir. Garnish the top of paella with strips of roasted red peppers and caper berries. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until all broth has been absorbed. Turn off heat. Cover with foil or a clean towel and let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Note: Mexican-style chorizo cannot be substituted in this recipe.

Makes 6 servings.

From Leslie Horne/Aurelia’s Chorizo

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Make Some Breakfast Chorizo Using Turkey Instead of Pork


The beauty of this recipe is that you could make up the meat the night before you use it, allowing the spices and seasonings to blend in. Then in the morning, you just let it cook, while you make the eggs, tacos, quiches or whatever you plan on serving with it. I bet it’d also be good on pizza with some queso blanco — thought the carbs in the crust wouldn’t be diabetic friendly, which is the point of the recipe.

That’s because it comes from Angela Shelf Medearis’ “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, $24.95).

Turkey Chorizo

1 pound ground turkey breast meat
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
2 tablespoons no-sugar-added apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Place the turkey in a medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the vinegar, garlic, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano and cloves to the meat. Blend well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to a large skillet. Over high heat, brown the meat, breaking it up with a potato masher or a slotted spoon. remove from the heat and let cool. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Makes4 servings.

Approximate nutritional value per serving: 220 calories, 10 g fat, 45 mg cholesterol, 358 mg sodium, 5 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 0 sugar, 29 g protein.

From “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook” by Angela Shelf  Medearis

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New to SA? Experience the Mighty Breakfast Taco!


A truly good breakfast taco will be hot, freshly made and not skimp on filling!

By Emily Stringer

In San Antonio the breakfast taco is as honored as air conditioning, trucks, cowboy boots, or barbeque. For that reason, you’re sure to get some ears perked up with the question, “Where’s your favorite breakfast taco joint?” It’s like asking New Yorkers, where they get the best slice of pizza.

You’re likely to get a hundred different answers, for a hundred different reasons from a hundred different people. Is it the fluffiness of the tortilla? How about the spice of the chorizo fillings? Or perhaps the loyalty card? Someone’s grandpa started going to X for breakfast tacos 60 years ago and three generations later, the family still dines at the same taco joint.

Breakfast tacos are all encompassing. You can get your meat, cheese, eggs and potatoes all in one swift bite. And when they are done right, you’ll never go back to pancakes. So, if you’re new to Texas you will need to quickly develop two skills. First, learn how to find shade. Second, find yourself some dependable breakfast taco spots.

It’s all about convenience. Often, the best taco joints are the ones that are within a few miles of your home. There are a few that are worth a long drive but it’s best to stay local. A great way to find a nearby hot spot is to look for an unassuming mom and pop type of place with lots of trucks in the parking lot, and even a few barred windows. Try to avoid white tablecloths, or any place charging more than $3 per taco. If you see too many fancy ingredients, like goat cheese — those places are probably more hype than you’ve bargained for.

Once you’ve found unassuming spot, your next mission is all about tortillas. There are two options, corn or flour. The best spots will almost all have fresh homemade tortillas. Fresh means just made: not reheated, not microwaved (blasphemy!). If it’s a homemade flour tortilla, it will have a soft texture with golden-crisp places, slightly browned and pillowy. The inside should be hot, but feathery soft

A homemade corn tortilla will have a grainy texture, not mushy or overly moist and it will have a robust, buttery corn flavor.

Important signs of taco shenanigans include soggy, stiff, or rubbery edges. These are strong indicators of yesterday’s reheated tacos. Take the kids and run out the door to the next Jalisico sign.

Now that we have examined the proper surroundings of the breakfast taco we need to talk guts. The insides. The fillings.

Every fluffy shell needs a hot date, right? The eggs should be custard-like. The cheese should be freshly shredded. Tacos with American cheese are generally acceptable Tex-Mex, but you can also find places that are using natural cheese.

The meats should have a strong machismo. Bacon will need crisp edges. Soggy bacon is another strong signal that you haven’t found the right eatery yet. The chorizo needs a bull-kick of spice.

When choosing tacos, keep in mind that you’re going to order several different flavors. This way, you diversify your taco investment, thus increasing your chances of finding the perfect taco.

Simple is sometimes better.  Egg and cheese is a tried and true standard and it is hard to mess it up, provided the tacos are freshly made. Kids, almost without exception, love a good, warm bean and cheese taco.

Then there are the carnivorous delights, carnitas (pork), barbacoa (tender, shredded beef) and bacon (oink). When you take your first bite a small clump of filling should ooze on your plate.  If this doesn’t happen your cook is stingy.

A trio of colorful salsas.

Like most things in life, a little color adds a lot of flavor. Some people insist that the best breakfast taco spots are all about the salsa. A true red salsa can dress up even a reheated tortilla. It’s likely that your server will bring you two types of salsa.  The green tends to look like the stuff used to slime teenagers on Nickelodeon in the ’90s.  This stuff has serious spice. The red salsa can be soupy or chunky and still be delicious.  I also prefer to order a side of ranchero sauce as it usually comes out warm and keeps my taco warm.

I also always order a side of guacamole but I don’t think most born and raised Texans do this. Either way, a drizzle of the red, a little green and perhaps some more red (ranchero) will make your taco pop. And don’t worry about the drips. It’s OK to get messy.

Breakfast tacos are an adventurous reminder of true Texan culture. So sit back, enjoy the experience and never try to tell a local where the best breakfast tacos are – you want them to tell you!  Tell us some of your favorite breakfast taco places. Below are some of the places I enjoy:

Breakfast Tacos with Local Badges of Honor

  • Taco Haven, 1032 S. Presa St.: The flour tortillas set the bar high
  • Las Carnitas, 1310 S. W.W. White: You may have to ask twice but do get the carnitas
  • El Mirador, 722 S. Presa St.: A downtown tradition of great Mexican food.
  • El Milagrito Cafe 521 East Woodlawn Ave.
  • Blanco Café, 7934 Fredricksburg Road: Families have been coming here for years.
  • Titos, 955 S. Alamo St.: A popular location in the King William area
  • Eddies Taco House, 402 W. Cevallos St.: Definitely putting the term hole-in-the-wall to good use. I’d say stick with the drive-thru and enjoy in the comforts in your own truck.
  • Ruthie’s, 11423 West Ave.
  • Rolando’s Super Taco, 919 West Hildebrand Ave.
  • Any place with a lot clogged parking lot at 8 a.m.!

Emily Reynolds Stringer is a guest writer at SavorSA. She is the author of “Beyond Burning Bras” and is a writer specializing in food culture based in San Antonio. She blogs at DefiningDelicious.com and tweets @definedelicious

 

 

 

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The Kitchen Diva’s Portuguese-Style Slow-Cooker Chicken


With the temperatures dropping even slightly, it’s time to think of slow-cooker meals cooking all day while you tend to other things. This sensational recipe comes from Kitchen Diva Angela Shelf Medearis of Austin, who includes it in her “The Kitchen Diva Cooks” (Lake Isle Press, $16.95).

The kick comes from chorizo, which, she says, “adds a fantastic flavor to the tomato sauce that blankets this chicken while it cooks.”

It also uses less-expensive thigh meat, which is the most flavorful part of the chicken.

Portuguese-Style Slow-Cooker Chicken

1/2 pound chorizo sausage, chopped
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 to 3 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, wings and drumsticks
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 (3-pound) jar prepared red pasta sauce
1 (14-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped
1 (14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 (4-ounce) can sliced black olives, drained

Combine chorizo, onions, garlic, chicken, oreganoc, pepper, pasta sauce and tomatoes in a 4-quart slow-cooker; mix well. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours, until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Stir in artichoke hearts and olives and cook on low for 10 to 15 minutes longer. Serve over hot cooked rice or couscous.

Note: Alternately, you can bake this chicken in a 350-degree oven for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours. Add the olives and artichokes during thhe last 15 minutes of cooking time.

Makes 6 servings.

From “The Kitchen Diva Cooks!” by Angela Shelf Medearis

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Rice Rules at Pearl Paella Party



Waldy Malouf’s Paella is artfully arranged with seafood and vegetables on top.

It was a beautiful day for a cook-off Sunday and the Pearl Brewery, in front of the Culinary Institute of America, offered a perfect setting for the first ever Cocina de las Americas. The big event was a Paella Cook-Off.


Rene Fernandez of Azuca stirs rice into a paella that he made out of competition during Sunday’s paella cook-off.

When the flames under the huge paella pans were extinguished in the afternoon, judges chose their winners. First place went to chef and restaurateur Ben Ford, of Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, CA. Peter Holt and crew from Lupe Tortilla Mexican Restaurant in Houston,  took second place and San Antonio chef, Jeffrey Balfour of Citrus, at the Valencia Hotel, took third.

There were as many imaginative takes on paella as there were teams — 16 in all. These included celebrity chefs Waldy Malouf of New York (Beacon and Waldy’s restaurants in New York City) and Ford. Each team drew long lines, as attendees waited patiently for tastes of the famous, saffron-laced Spanish rice dish.

SavorSA was there, too. The writers of this article admit they had a few minutes of high excitement when the chef we’d been assigned to help ran late. Michael Gilleto, chef of a private club in New Jersey, flew in Sunday and arrived in the nick of time, but not before his two nervous assistants had dashed off to the huge food pantry in the middle of the grounds to snatch up ingredients. If Gilleto didn’t make it, we figured we’d pinch hit and make our own paella.


Chef Michael Giletto plates his paella for judging.

Gilleto showed up, though, and we were off — slicing, dicing, killing lobsters, cutting up whole chickens, cleaning shrimp and dashing around looking for a few ingredients we’d missed during the first mad rush.

Gilleto liked a classic-style paella, one traditionally more about rice and olive oil than about masses of seafood, chicken, chorizo and more ingredients piled high. We were with him on that.

Along with the usual ingredients in the pantry we noticed bags of chopped pineapple, hoja santa plants (sometimes called the root beer plant), ancho chiles and more. We said “yes” to the ancho chiles, which Gilleto wanted to flavor the stock, but we all tacitly agreed “no” on the pineapple.

One crew decorated their paella with julienned carrots. Another crew had help from one of their member’s grandmother, who hailed from the northern principality of Asturias, Spain.


bout 1,000 people, including families, turned out to the first paella cook-off.

Shelley Grieshaber, culinary director at the Pearl Brewery and CIA graduate, made her way from table to table doing the “color” interviews for the day. Johnny Hernandez, chef and owner of Pearl’s upcoming La Gloria restaurant, and driving force behind the cook-off, alternated roles between host and trouble shooter.

“We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day,” said Grieshaber, who was excited at the success of the event.

San Antonio Food Bank culinary students were on hand to assist. Chef Rene Fernandez of Azuca made a huge paella prior to the contest to serve to the hungry masses. Other San Antonio chefs in the competition included Jason Dady, Dave Souter and Brian West, as well as a crew from the R.K. Group and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.


Ben Ford, right, shakes hands with a fellow chef after winning the paella cook-off.

Proceeds from ticket sales will be going toward scholarship opportunities at the CIA San Antonio to benefit local chefs.  A portion of proceeds will also go to the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Office of the Honorary Council to Spain for educational initiatives benefiting San Antonio students. H-E-B/Central Market were presenting sponsors of the community event, in partnership with the Culinary Institute of America.

It was a fun competition, and one we hope to see again next year.

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