“Essential” Tex Mex dishes is the topic of this post. So what do we mean by “essential?”
Well, because Tex Mex meals are – essentially – Americanized versions of traditional Mexican dishes as brought to the U.S. via Texas’ Tejano culture (people of Mexican or Spanish descent who moved to Texas before it became a republic) , we’re talking about tacos, fajitos, enchiladas, and tortilla chips. Lots and lots of tortilla chips!
Oh, and melted cheese. Tons of melted cheese!
But what are the essential dishes of Tex Mex, the ones that, were you to see them on a menu you’d say, “Ah, ‘traditional’ Tex Mex!”?
Here are four:
Many lovers of Tex Mex cuisine consider refried beans to be the mashed potatoes, the macaroni and cheese, the comfort food of Tex Mex! This thick and hearty side dish is not exactly healthy fare, but just like mashed potatoes and a bowl of mac and cheese, it’s heaven.
Fajitas. More to the point, steak fajitas.
Fajitas definitely didn’t originate in Mexico: they are a true Texas/U.S. creation. This combination of sizzling hot skirt steak (and it should be sizzling hot), paired with red, green and yellow bell peppers, tomatoes and garnish of your choosing, is indescribably delicious.
Cheese. Particularly yellow cheese. Preferably melted yellow cheese.
In fact, queso (a dip comprised of melted yellow cheese, with chilies for extra zip) is so much a Tex Mex staple in Texas that your Tex Mex party or barbecue isn’t complete without this beloved dip.
Nachos. The more melted cheese and jalapenos and even refried beans, the better!
Tortillas covered in melted cheese, sliced jalapenos, smothered in refried beans, tomatoes, even ground beef? Many people look to nachos as an appetizer, but others know them for what they truly can be, a most satisfying meal in and of themselves!
Those are just four Tex Mex dishes we feel are “essential.” What are yours?
Image courtesy of Glory Foods/flickr.com