Easy recipes from Apple Tree

Tag: Tex-Mex

(Dog)Fish Tacos

Dogfish (huss) is a good meat for this dish. It is firm and holds its shape well, and can take a strong seasoning. Some would say it needs strong seasoning – I’m not going to argue with that. Nor am I going to argue about freezing dogfish. I always freeze dogfish for at least a week before cooking and have never experienced an ammonia taste. Let others argue for or against!

Quite simply, these are marinated, spicy, flash-fried fish strips served on a flour tortilla with all the trimmings. One small dogfish makes a generous meal for one. Simply scale up for more people. Here goes.

First prepare your fish strips: take your skinned dogfish and cut two fillets from either side of the central bone. Then cut prawn-sized strips from the fillets. Now make your marinade:

  • 1 tbs tomato puree
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1 tbs cider vinegar
  • 0.5 tsp paprika
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • pinch salt
  • pinch garlic powder
  • pinch dried oregano

Mix well and toss your fish strips in the marinade. Leave to infuse while you prepare the rest of the meal. Make some garlic sauce:

  • 3 tbs mayo
  • 1 tbs cold water
  • 1 tsp garlic puree or 1 clove of garlic, grated
  • pinch salt.

Mix well and set aside. Now shred a few lettuce leaves, slice half an avacado, slice a small tomato, chop some fresh coriander, slice some red onion and find a quarter of a lime. Now warm two or three small tortillas or one big one ready for the final cook-off.

Heat 1tbs oil in a frying pan. When smoking hot, tip your marinated fish strips in the pan and spread out. After about a minute flip the strips over, they should be nice and charred. The honey in the marinade will help. As soon as the strips are cooked – literally a minute or two – you can assemble your fish tacos as pictured above.

Chilli Cornbread Pie

This is basically a chilli with cornbread on top. Cooked together – what’s not to like?? You make your chilli first, then mix the topping and bake it like a shepherd’s pie.  For four portions:

  • 1 onion chopped
  • dash of oil (rapeseed preferably)

Gently fry until soft

  • 2 garlic cloves crushed and chopped

Add to the pan and fry briefly

  • 450g lean minced beef

Add to the pan and stir about. Fry until coloured (no pink)

  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomato
  • 2 x 400g cans chilli beans (or regular red kidney beans plus 1 tsp hot chilli powder)
  • 250ml beef stock

Here’s a general tip, if you are adding tinned tomatoes followed by stock, use the stock to swill out the tin so nothing is wasted.  Season the mix and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile make the topping.

Preheat the oven to 180C

  • 150g cornmeal or fine polenta flour
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Mix in a bowl

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 300ml buttermilk (or plain yoghurt mixed with milk at a pinch)

Mix in a jug. Then pour into the flour mix, and mix to a runny batter. It needs to be “thickly pourable” if that is any guide. Not too runny, but it needs to move.

When your chilli mix looks cooked, it needs to be still liquidy, with liquid to the top of the meat/beans, not drying out and lumpy. If it isn’t wet enough, add some water and stir about. This is because the cornbread will suck up moisture and you don’t want a dry pie do you? Check the seasoning – if it’s not spicy enough consider adding some chopped jalapenos or minced chillies.

Now find a suitable oven-proof tin or casserole dish and put the chilli in. Now carefully cover the top of the chilli mix with your cornbread mix. This is why you want it runny enough to cover the surface. Now bake for 35-40  minutes. It’s probably worth a check after 25, because you want to top browned not blackened. If it is still looking pale stick a skewer in the topping. If it comes out dry it is cooked. If it comes out with batter on it needs more time. If it comes out covered in chilli you stuck it in too far.

This needs the traditional accompaniments of cold beer, soured cream, maybe avacado, chopped tomato, shredded lettuce, grated cheese and more jalapenos. This is an Ainsley Herriot recipe and he just said salad. That’s a missed opportunity in my opinion.

Best Chilli (easy)

Found this on the Internet and it is a good one.

  • 450g minced beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 tbs chopped jalapeno
  • 400g tin chopped tomato
  • 400g tin red kidney beans
  • 400g tin black beans
  • 1 pack passata
  • 125ml water or stock
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tbs ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • dash of cooking oil

Heat oil in an iron casserole. Chop the onion and green pepper. Heat in the oil to soften. Add the mince and stir around until the pink has gone. Add the spices and jalapeno. Cook for 1 minute more. Lob in everything else and simmer for an hour. Keep checking and if it looks like drying out add more water.

Server with rice or tortillas, plus grated cheese, sour cream, avacado and beer.

Instant pot method:

  1. Press “Saute”. Fry onion, pepper and beef as above.
  2. Chuck the rest in.
  3. Cancel Saute and put on “Chilli” for 30 minutes.


Easy Mexican. Serves Four.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 400g lean beef mince

Heat a dash of oil in a pad and fry onion and garlic gently for a few minutes. Add the beef and continue frying and stiffing until all the pink has gone.

  • 1 tbs chipotle paste
  • 1 can red kidney beans
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes plus a teaspoon of minced chilli or 1 packet of Passata and minced chilli or 1 tub of bought tomato and chilli sauce

Add to the pan, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Heat the oven to 200C

  • 4 tortilla wraps
  • 100g cheddar cheese (or more if you like cheesy)

Spoon a quarter of the meat mix into the centre of each wrap. Top with cheese. Roll up into a neat parcel and place in an oven-proof dish (like a lasagne dish). Sprinkle with more cheese. Bake 10 minutes until golden.

Serve with tomato rice, shredded lettuce, avacado, diced tomato, jalapenos, sour cream – in fact all the Mexican add-ons you fancy! Like a Sol…



Chilli by Hairy Bikers

There are many, many different variations on this. True Texans would not want chilli adulterated with what we regularly put in it but this is a good version for every-day. You can make a big mix of chilli and keep the leftovers to make a tortilla grill or toppings for jacket potatoes. The following is for four hungry people.

  • 2 onions
  • 500g mince beef
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • splash of oil

Fry these up in a pan until all the pink has gone. Add

  • 1 or 2 tsp chilli powder. Olwyn likes it at level 1. I like it at level 2. You can always add but you can’t take away
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbs plain flour

Fry another minute. Then add

  • 450 ml beef stock (Oxo cube is fine). You could use part red wine and part stock.
  • 3 tbs tomato puree
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin red kidney beans
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano

Bubble up and simmer 45 minutes, covered. Stir from time to time so it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Add a bit more water if it looks too dry. Serve with cornbread, rice, and if you need to ramp up the heat, some chopped jalopenos.


DIY Taco Seasoning Mix and Taco Mince

This makes enough for 1Kg mince. If you have a smaller quantity of mince just divide the taco mix in proportion and save in a jar for next time. It keeps fine.

  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1.5 tsp cumin powder
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 0.5tsp salt

To make taco mince, dry fry the mince until it is no longer pink;  add the taco mix, fry a few minutes more; add 4 tbs tomato puree per kilo of mince and 250ml water, bubble away for 20 minutes. You may need to add a bit more water if you like it gloopy.

Great on tacos, filled wraps, on potato skins and in jacket potato with a combo of Jalapeno peppers, grated cheese, chopped tomato, chopped avacado, sour cream, salsa, fresh coriander leaves, shredded iceberg lettuce, chopped red onion. What’s not to like.

Quesadillas – snack or meal

This can be a quick and easy warm snack or a meal in itself, depending what you put in it or on it. For a snack, omit the chicken, or just add a few slithers of ham.

Ingredients (For One) – easily multiplied up for more people.

  • 2 flour tortillas
  • 1 small chicken breast or a couple of mini fillets
  • grated cheese
  • 1 teaspoon of Taco seasoning mix
  • Taco sauce
  • Oil for frying

Step 1: Slice up the chicken. Stir about in a bowl with the taco seasoning to coat.

Step 2: Heat your oil in a frying pan and stir fry the chicken, it will cook in a couple of minutes.

Step 3: Lay out your tortillas. Spread one tortilla with Taco sauce. Spread the chicken over. Sprinkle with cheese, use as much as you like. Lay the other tortilla on top to make a giant sandwich.

Step 4: Quickly rinse out your pan and dry it. Put it back on a high heat. Put the tortilla sandwich on the pan and after a minute flip it over. Hopefully the cheese will have melted and help glue it together. Give it another 30 seconds and you are good to go.

Cut into quarters and either eat on the run like street food or make a meal of it with sour cream, jalopenos, lettuce, tomato, refried beans, guacamole and a Corona.

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