Tanya Tucker had it right when she sang – “when I die I may not go to heaven, I don’t know if they let cowboys in, but when I die let me go to Texas, ’cause Texas is as close as I’ve been.” I’m not sure what it is about Texas that I love so much but love it I do. Growing up in the grand old commonwealth of Virginia, Texas – a young upstart of a state by Virginia standards – seemed like some sort of foreign country. A place of cowboys, prickly cactus, scorching heat, rattlesnakes and cattle skulls bleached white in the roaring sun. Nothing there to appeal to a girl from a land of gentle blue mountains and endless acres of lush green forests. I never, ever thought I would live in Texas. And when I did I went there totally prepared to NOT love it. The first time I set foot on Texas soil was when I moved there in the early days of 1979 in the middle of one of the worst ice storms I have ever seen to this day – not the sort of scenario that endears a place to ones heart. But (as I said in a poem I wrote in the sad days sixteen years later when I finally had to leave Texas) “imperceptibly my heart put down its roots, and grew and flowered in the bigness there, and settled easy into the mesquite and cedar and the startling suddenness of blue northers. And I became a part of it all, and it all became a part of me.” I left Texas seventeen years ago this month but my heart, my heart keeps turning back to Texas. And I never thought I’d live in Texas.
Black Eyes of Texas (yeah, yeah, I know all you Walkers already know and love this recipe but this is for the non-Walker readers!)
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef, browned and drained of excess fat
1 small onion, finely chopped
garlic, salt and pepper to taste
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can enchilada sauce
1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
1 can black eyed peas, drained
1 dozen corn tortillas, cut into quarters
2 to 3 cups shredded cheese
several shakes of Tabasco sauce
Brown the hamburger with the onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Drain excess fat. Add the canned ingredients and the Tabasco. Cook over medium heat until hot and bubbly. Layer a 9 x 13 pan with half the tortillas, half the meat, half the cheese. Repeat. Bake at 350 for about 30 to 45 minutes or until heated through.