If you’ve been reading my blog a while you might know that Austin, Texas has a special place in my heart. It’s where I experienced America for the very first time as a student; it’s where I met Dan; and it’s where Dan and I got married.
Beyond the sentimental value, Austin is pretty easy to love. It has everything I didn’t expect from Texas when I first arrived: green grass, hills, lakes, springs, waterfalls, and damn good live music everywhere you turned. My life as a student there was spent staring in awe at the everyday blue skies, getting used to always having a reddy-brown glow, and eating waaaay too much of everything. I fell in love hard.
Of all the food delights that I came to know and love, breakfast tacos are up there as a perennial fave. We used to go to this place called Juan in a Million (geddit?) where the Don Juan taco came stuffed beyond all reasonable measure with potato, egg, bacon, and cheese in a deliciously hot tortilla. It set you back all of $3 and required loose fitting clothes and a can-do attitude.
These tacos don’t really require a recipe; simply gather some or all of the ingredients listed below, roll ’em up, and dig in! They’re pretty spectacular for brunch with friends alongside a greyhound and some salty chips and hot salsa.
The other mega-spectacular thing I’m sharing with you today is these black beans. I’ve (unsurprisingly) found a lot of inspiration from The Homesick Texan cookbook, and these beans are no exception: they’re smoky and tender, with a lovely kick.
- 4 flour tortillas (or 8 soft corn tortillas, since they’re about half the size of the flour ones)
- 8 eggs
- Dash half-and-half, cream, or milk
- Salt and pepper
- Canola oil
- 12 rashers streaky bacon (or swap this for sausage patties or chorizo)
- Austin-style black beans, recipe below (or swap re-fried beans)
- 1 large handful grated cheese (pepper jack is great)
- Whisk together the eggs in a large bowl with a dash of half-and-half, cream, or milk and a pinch of salt.
- Heat a pan or iron skillet over medium-high heat, and add oil. When oil is warm, pour in eggs and scramble for about three minutes or until done to your liking. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Warm your tortillas on a clean, dry skillet. When tortilla starts to puff (about 20 seconds) turn it over and cook for another 20 seconds.
- Serve tortillas with all the fixings for people to make themselves including: black or refried beans, scrambled eggs, salsa, grated cheese, and either a slice of bacon or sausage patty.
- Fold in the bottom of the tortilla, and then roll from left to right until self-contained. Gobble, with a greyhound in hand. Serves four.
Austin-Style Black Beans
adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook
- 1 lb dried black beans
- 1 tablespoon of lard, bacon grease, or canola oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- Salt to taste
- Rinse and sort through the beans, removing any stones. Place the beans in a large pot and cover with 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil and then cook for 15 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander in the sink.
- Return the empty pot to the stove and warm the vegetable oil (or lard/bacon fat) over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots while occasionally stirring and cook until the onions are translucent and the carrots are lighter, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic to the pot and cook for a minute more.
- Return the drained beans to the pot, along with the chipotle chiles and 1/4 cup of cilantro. Cover beans with 2 inches of water, bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours.
- After 1 1/2 hours, add the remaining cilantro, cumin, tomato paste, and lime juice. Taste and add salt. Cook for 30 more minutes or until beans are tender. When done, smash a few against the side of the pot with a spoon to thicken the broth. Stir the pot and serve.