Tastes of Texas: Tex Mex

Tex Mex, you know it, you love it, but where did it come from? I’ve got answers. Let me give you the short lowdown on some Tex Mex history.

So, Tex Mex didn’t start as a cuisine: it started as a train. The Texas-Mexican Railway came first in 1875. Tex Mex started as the train’s abbreviation but ended up describing the people of Mexican descent who were born in Texas.

“Tex Mex” as a culture has existed for hundreds of years: it began during the mission era when Spanish and Mexican foods mixed with Anglo fare. But, Tex Mex the food wasn’t referenced until 1945, and after, Tex Mex restaurants sprang up around the Southwest, especially towns with Hispanic populations.

Okay, okay, now let’s get to the grub. What do you think about when you think Tex Mex? Enchiladas, nachos, chalupas? Check, check, check. When you go to a restaurant and they serve you chips and salsa? That’s Tex Mex. Chili con carne? Definitely Tex Mex.

Originally Tex Mex was cattle-based. We’re talking kid goat and barbecued cow heads. But as the years went on, we got the beauty that is known as the fajita. The cuisine evolved in the ‘50s when Mexican immigrants were coming into Texas. The Mexican flavors changed and evolved as it aged, eventually becoming almost wholly Western. The food community began to recognize Tex Mex as Americanized Mexican food, which came to some Tejanos as an insult. But American way persisted, and that’s how we know Tex Mex today.  

Margs anyone?

Who out there loves Tex Mex? What’s your favorite dish? Tell me in the comments!

Tex Mex Steak Fajitas

INGREDIENTS

  • 3lb top sirloin steak
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1teaspoon chili powder
  • 12 teaspoon cumin
  • 12 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 12 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 teaspoon salt
  • 8 flour tortillas (8 inch/20 cm)
  • 1 -2 onions, depending on size
  • 2 small sweet peppers, of your choice (green, red, or yellow)

TOPPINGS

  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • shredded cheese
  • chopped tomato

DIRECTIONS

  1. Slice steak into thin strips.
  2. In bowl, mix together 1 tablespoons olive oil, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, hot pepper flakes, black pepper & salt.
  3. Add beef strips and stir to coat, set aside.
  4. Wrap tortillas in foil and place in 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or until heated through.
  5. Cut onions in half lengthwise and slice into strips, cut your peppers into strips.
  6. In large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat remaining tablespoons of olive oil.
  7. Add onions & peppers stirring for 3-4 minutes, until softened; transfer to a bowl and set aside.
  8. Add beef to skillet, cook, stirring for 3-4 minutes or until they lose their red color.
  9. Return onions and peppers to skillet; stir for about one minute.
  10. To serve, spoon a portion of the beef mixture down the center of each tortilla, top with your desired toppings, fold bottom of tortilla up over filling, fold the sides in, overlapping.