Texas When I Die

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.

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5 Responses to “Texas When I Die”


  1. 1 lorin June 2, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Never thought I would pry you out of there. Never thought I would like in Kansas City. You need to publish that entire poem. Or let me turn it into a song.

    This is a great dish…I suggest not tinkering with it none…as I have seen done.

  2. 2 Beth Fuller June 2, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    OHH! This one’s getting added to the menu too! Keep them coming Lin! Perhaps I should just stop by one day with a notebook….

    • 3 Lissa Bitton June 2, 2010 at 10:33 pm

      We still love it and are glad you have shared it with us – it has become an Alturas vacation staple meal! I loved the people and the watermelon in Texas but not the heat! I think them thar Texas people are the nicest people I ever did meet this side of the Mississippi!

  3. 4 Mike Walker June 3, 2010 at 12:56 am

    We had this on Sunday when Shiloh and Michael were here. I used regular heat instead of mild a la Hal Walker and I liked it with a little kick! We’ve had leftovers since and it does reheat in the microwave nicely. This is super tasty but I must say we add in way more black eyed peas than the recipe calls for. (Actually we play pretty loose with all of the ingredients.)

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. 5 Beth Fuller June 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I’ve made this twice already. Love it.


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