Cooks Exchange

Fall food favorites: gumbo, Tex-Mex and pumpkin muffins

Pumpkin muffins are among Cooks Exchange readers’ favorite fall foods.
Pumpkin muffins are among Cooks Exchange readers’ favorite fall foods. KRT

Readers are ready for the tastes of fall.

Few things smell as good as the aroma of baked rolls or muffins. Of course, Tex-Mex recipes are great when the temperatures dip some or just any old time.

Lynette Faul of Gulfport, who hails from Australia, shares two favorite bread recipes, one for sour cream rolls and the other for pumpkin muffins. She said the pumpkin muffins in the Oct. 10 column made her think of these recipes.

She also shared a pumpkin chutney recipe that I will use in the Oct. 26 column when everything is coming up Halloween and pumpkins.

Another reader Bettie Cashion of Picayune shares an enchilada recipe that she says is pure Tex-Mex, which as readers know is my favorite.

“I’ve seen several recipes for more authentic Mexican food in your Cook’s Exchange column, but I would have to call these enchiladas Tex-Mex, for they are a combination of the kind of food we ate in South Texas,” Cashion said. “In case there are any leftovers (not likely), they freeze well to have another day.

“I was raised in the oil fields of 1950s South Texas, and there was a café in town that served these. I’ve worked with this recipe for years to get it exactly right,” Cashion said. “It’s the one dish I always make for company, and they put in a request ahead of time when they are coming for a visit.”

“I have a couple of recipes for you,” said Faul. “The biscuits (rolls), I do not remember where I got it, but the muffins’ one is from one of Laura Childs’ Scrapbooking mysteries.”

Not so spicy gumbo

Leslie Sivak asked for an easy gumbo recipe that is easy to follow, not too spicy and does not contain okra, which she does not like.

I searched my files and found a gumbo recipe that seems to fit her tastes. Sivak did not say if she wanted a seafood gumbo or a chicken and sausage gumbo.

I have modified my chicken and sausage gumbo to suit Sivak’s taste. I usually use andouille and not kielbasa, but that would be too spicy for Sivak. My late husband also liked oysters added to the chicken and sausage gumbo, again a matter of preference.

If Sivak wants a seafood gumbo, she just needs to send me an e-mail at ayeager51@cableone.net. My late mother-in-law’s gumbo is one of the best and is not too spicy, especially if you do not boil the shrimp in crab or shrimp boil.

The major rule of gumbo is if the roux isn’t right neither is the gumbo.

I like a dark chocolate roux. Roux is a mixture of flour and oil and browns and thickens in the gumbo pot. Roux takes time and can easily burn if not stirred constantly. Mine takes about 40 minutes to come to dark chocolate. Some Coastians like a dark mahogany colored roux. I don’t like mine that dark, but it is a matter of taste.

Andrea Yeager can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net and Cooks Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

SOUR CREAM ROLLS

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sour cream

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup water

1 envelope Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 egg

Combine 1 cup of flour, sugar, undissolved yeast and salt in a large bowl. Heat sour cream. water and butter until very warm (120-130 degrees). Add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer scraping bowl occasionally. Add egg and remaining 1 1/4 cups flour to make a soft batter.

Spoon evenly into 12 greased (2 1/2-inch) muffin cups. Cover, let rise until double in size, about 1 hour.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans and cool on wire rack. You also can take bun size of the dough and roll it in floured hands and pat and place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise as for muffin.

Submitted by Lynette Faul

MOMMA’S PUMPKIN MUFFINS

2 cups pumpkin (canned)

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 large eggs

1 cup oil (I use olive oil)

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup raisins

Combine pumpkin, vanilla, eggs, oil and sugar in a bowl, then set aside. Sift flour and combine with baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Combine wet and dry ingredients and beat until batter is smooth. Add raisins. Pour batter into greased muffin tin, filling each cup 2/3 full. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned.

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups sifted powdered sugar

1/2 cup butter

Combine all ingredients and mix at medium speed until smooth. Frost pumpkin muffins when cool. Submitted by Lynette Faul

PECK’S CAFÉ ENCHILADAS

1 can of Hormel Chili (15 ounces), no beans

12 yellow corn tortillas

8-ounce block of sharp Cheddar cheese

8-ounce block of mozzarella cheese

2 large sweet onions (like Vidalia)

Pam spray

Preheat oven to 350. Heat the chili in a small saucepan. You could cheat and use pre-shredded cheese, but it won’t taste as good as using blocks that you shred yourself. Chop onions in about 1/4-inch cubes. Spray each tortilla lightly with Pam spray and heat in frying pan until warm and softened, so it can be rolled. Spray a 9-by-1-inch pan (or casserole dish) to keep tortillas from sticking. Roll about 1 tablespoon of each cheese and onion in each tortilla; (it will become obvious how much you can put in each tortilla) and place close together in baking pan. You should have a little cheese and onion left over. Spread onions first, then the heated chili; finish with the remainder of the cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is bubbling. Easily serves 4.

To finish off the meal, finely chop lettuce, tomatoes and onions, and use a prepared salsa for dressing. Add a bag of thin restaurant-style chips, and your meal is complete.

Submitted by Bettie Cashion

CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE GUMBO

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup bacon drippings or oil

1 to 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast, cut into pieces and fried

1 pound andouille or kielbasa smoked sausage, sliced (I use andouille, but it is too spicy for some)

2 to 3 cups chopped onion

1 cup chopped scallions (green onions)

1 cup chopped bell pepper

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced

3 quarts poultry stock

Salt, black pepper and hot sauce to taste

Seasonings for chicken: garlic powder, black pepper and paprika (I add cayenne pepper, too, but do not advise Sivak to do so)

Oil for frying the chicken

Plenty of cooked rice

First chop your vegetables and parsley, mince the garlic and put your stock in a pot on a back burner.

Now make the dark roux, with 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup oil. Stir constantly. Do not let burn. After roux is mahogany or chocolate colored, add onions, then the bell pepper and celery, stirring vigorously all the while. Heat the stock.

After a few minutes, add chopped scallions and parsley. Once onions are nearly transparent, add the minced garlic to the roux. Keep stirring the roux. Don’t let the garlic burn.

Blend in the stock a cup at a time. After stock has been added, reduce the heat to a simmer and let the gumbo pot take care of itself, of course, give an occasional stir.

Add the sausage and fried chicken, which has been drained and patted with paper towel to remove excess oil. Start seasoning the gumbo with salt, black pepper and hot sauce, if using. Let simmer about 40 minutes. Do not add too much salt. You can add more, but you can’t add less. Taste for seasoning adjustments. Serve over hot cooked rice with a sprinkling of file, if desired.

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