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Written by Texas Highways


Serves 6 - 8



5 pounds chuck roast

Lowry's seasoned salt

garlic salt

1/2 pound bacon

3 or 4 large carrots, diced

4 cloves garlic

2 leeks, chopped

2 medium onions, chopped

1/2 c. parsley, minced

2 1/2 c. Texas red wine

3 bay leaves

1 tsp. thyme

1/2 c. fresh mushrooms, sliced (optional)

Flour and water for thickening paste

Rub both sides of roast with seasoned salts, and sear. Roast in 350-degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. It should be crusty and well done. Cool and cube. Reserve dripping; add enough water for gravy. Set aside.

Fry bacon, and retain enough grease to cook vegetables. Drain bacon when crisp. Add diced and chopped vegetables to bacon grease and cook slowly, stirring until the carrots look candied.

Place cubed meat in heavy casserole, and cover with the pan drippings. Add cooked vegetables and place in a moderate over (350 degrees) for about two hours. Add bacon and fresh mushrooms (optional) for last few minutes. The sauce should be thick, not watery. Correct with flour paste if necessary.

Serve on wild rice, if available. Serve Cypress Valley red table wine or Llano Estacado Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Reata (in Alpine and Fort Worth) uses Polenta Stars to dress up one of its specials, Jalapeño Beef Stew. This version is adapted from recipes that appear in A Cowboy in the Kitchen by Grady Spears, Robb Walsh, and John Westerdahl (Ten Speed Press, 1998).  Yield: 4 servings.

6 whole shallots

1 T. olive oil

5 T. unsalted butter

1 lb. beef chuck, cut into

1-inch cubes

1/3 c. flour

3-4 jalapeños, seeded and minced

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

1 large potato, peeled and cut into

2-inch pieces

1/2 red onion, peeled and diced

1 c. port

2 c. beef stock (fresh or canned)

1 T. rubbed sage

1 T. dried oregano

2 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper


Toss shallots with olive oil, and roast in a 350 degree for 35 minutes, or until soft and brown. Set aside. Heat butter in a large deep saucepan over medium heat. Toss beef with flour to coat, and place in hot butter. Increase heat, and sauté for 5-10 minutes. (Don't crowd the meat.) Remove pan from heat, and transfer meat to a bowl, reserving drippings; cover meat loosely with aluminum foil, and set aside. Sauté jalapeños, carrots, potato, and red onion in drippings over medium heat, tossing to prevent burning, until onion turns translucent. Stir in wine, beef stock, sage, and oregano. Cook over low heat, with lid slightly ajar, for 30-40 minutes. Stir in reserved beef-shallots mixture, and continue cooking for 30 more minutes, or until meat and vegetables are done. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle stew into bowls, and top with 2 or 3 Polenta Stars. Serve hot.

Polenta Stars
1 T. olive oil

3/4 c. minced red onion (about 1/2 onion)

1 c. minced shallots

8 scallions without tops, thinly sliced

3 c. water

3 c. milk

2 tsp. dried thyme leaves

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1/4 c. unsalted butter

1 1/2 c. quick-cooking polenta

1 c. grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese


Heat oil in a large, deep saucepan. Add onion, shallots, and scallions, and sauté over medium heat about 5 minutes or until wilted. Stir in next 6 ingredients; bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Pour polenta in with one hand while whisking witht he other. After polenta is whisked in, stir with a long-handled wooden spoon 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture thickens and liquid is absorbed. Reduce eat if necessary. Remove metal pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least an hour. 

At serving time, cut polenta into stars or other shapes (unless serving as a side dish) and bake at 350-degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. (Stars may also be heated by sauteeing, grilling, or microwaving.) Serve hot. Yield: Enough stars for 2 recipes of Jalapeno Beef Stew, or 4 to 6 servings if used as a side dish. 


Yield: 4-6 servings



1 T. olive oil

2 lbs. venison shoulder steaks

1 T. minced garlic

1 medium onion, chopped

1 lb. mushrooms, sliced, or 2 (7-oz) cans mushrooms, drained

1 c. red wine

1 c. chicken stock

1 (16-oz) can tomato sauce

1/2 tsp. Cajun seasoning, or to taste

1 sprig rosemary

6 leaves of fresh basil, minced, or 1/2 tsp. dried basil

Heat olive oil in a cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat; sear venison on each side. Remove meat, and set aside.

Brown garlic, onion, and mushrooms in remaining oil. Stir in wine and next 4 ingredients. Bring to a boil; add seared venison, and return to a boil.

Cover, and bake in a 325 degree oven for about 2 hours. Remove from oven, and remove rosemary, if desired. Stir in basil, replace cover, and let stand in Dutch oven for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Mince meat pies

Yields: 12 pints, or enough filling for 12 pies.

Vietnamese Skewered BeefThis recipe is adapted from one that appears in Paula Tran's Living and Cooking Vietnamese. Nuoc mam (fish sauce) and Asian chili sauce are available at Asian import stores and at many grocery stores.  Serves 4

1 lb. tender, lean beef

4 stalks lemongrass, root and leaves removed, chopped fine (or 1 tsp. minced lemon peel)

1 T. minced ginger root

2 T. nuoc mam (fish sauce)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. black pepper

Asian chili sauce (optional)

Cut beef into very thin, 4-inch long slices. Combine lemongrass, ginger, nuoc mam, salt, and pepper. Spread 1/2-1 tsp. of the mixture on each strip of beef and roll into a ball. Place five balls on each skewer, and grill over hot coals or under broiler for 6-7 minutes. Serve with chili sauce.

Friedhelm Bopp, the proprietor and chef Friedhelm's Bavarian Inn in Fredericksburg, serves one of his signature dishes, Sauerbraten with Gingersnap Gravy, with a potato dumpling and a choice of sauerkraut or red cabbage.  Serves 8-10

1 (4 lb) beef rump roast

2 onions, thinly sliced

8 peppercorns

4 cloves

1 bay leaf

1/2 c. cider vinegar

1/2 c. red wine

1 c. water

1/2 c. vegetable oil

1/2 tsp. salt

2 c. boiling water

10 gingersnaps, crushed

1/2 c. sour cream

1 T. flour

Place roast in deep ceramic or glass bowl. Add onions, peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaf. Combine vinegar, wine, and 1 c. of water, and pour over meat.

Chill, covered, for 4 days, turning meat twice each day.Remove meat from marinade, reserving marinade. Dry well with paper towels. Strain marinade; reserve onions and one c. of liquid.

In a Dutch oven, brown roast on all sides in hot oil. Turn roast and sprinkle with salt. Pour boiling water around meat. Sprinkle in gingersnaps; simmer covered, 1 1/2 hours, turning roast often. Add the reserved marinade and onions; cook 2 additional hours (or more), until tender.

Remove meat; keep warm.Strain cooking liquid into a large saucepan. Mix sour cream with flour in a small bowl. Add a small amount of cooking liquid to sour cream mixture; stir until smooth, then stir mixture into the rest of the cooking liquid. Cook over low heat, stirring, until gravy is thickened and smooth. Slice meat in 1/4-inch-thick slices and serve with gravy.

Acclaimed by CFS aficionados for decades, the Broken Spoke’s version of the Lone Star classic went public in 1994, when co-owner James White released the recipe in honor of the Austin dance hall’s 30th anniversary. Co-owner Annetta White, James’ wife, says the following adaptation reflects the Spoke’s tradition of hand-breading each steak and cooking everything fresh, when ordered.

1 large egg

1 c. buttermilk

salt to taste

pepper to taste

1/2 c. flour

1/2 c. cracker meal

1 (3- to 5-oz.) beef cutlet, hand-tenderized

vegetable shortening

Whip together egg, buttermilk, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; set batter aside.

Blend together flour and cracker meal in another bowl. Place cutlet in mixture, and cover both sides well. Submerge the cutlet in the egg batter, then place it back in the flour mixture, patting both sides again evenly to coat.

Melt shortening in a deep fryer (or cast-iron skillet), and heat to 325º. Place cutlet in fryer, and fry until it floats and turns golden.

Remove steak from fryer; drain well, reserving 1/2 c. drippings for gravy, if desired. Place steak on plate, and keep warm while preparing Cream Gravy. Spoon gravy generously over steak.


Cream Gravy

1/2 c. shortening or reserved drippings

1/4 c. flour

1 qt. milk

salt to taste

pepper to taste

Place shortening in a 10- to 12-inch cast-iron skillet, and heat until hot. Gradually add flour, and cook over low heat until mixture turns brown, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Add remaining ingredients, and cook, stirring constantly until thick. If gravy gets too thick, thin to desired consistency with water.

 Note: This recipe makes enough gravy for 4 steaks.

Savory sage and mustard enhance these tasty steaks. You can find mesquite chips at most outdoors stores.

2 T. prepared yellow mustard

2 T. vegetable oil

6 cloves garlic, dry-roasted until soft

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp. crumbled sage

2 boneless top sirloin strip steaks (18- to 20-oz. each, 1-inch thick)

8 green onions

salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste

4 serranos, halved lengthwise

mesquite chips

Combine first five ingredients in a food processor or blender. Rub steaks and onions with mixture, season with salt and pepper, and let sit at room temperature for 45 minutes.

On an outdoor grill, fire up enough charcoal to form a single layer of coals. Place a few handfuls of mesquite chips or pods in water to soak. When charcoal is covered with gray ash, scatter mesquite over it, and place steaks directly over fire.

Place onions and serranos on a small piece of foil, a little off to the side of the fire, where heat is lower. Grill steaks on one side for about 4-5 minutes, covering partially with the grill lid (vents open) to trap some of the mesquite smoke. Turn steaks, again cover grill partially, and cook to desired doneness, about 4 more minutes for medium-rare.

When you turn the steaks, turn onions and serranos, removing them when soft. Top steaks with onions and serranos, and serve immediately. Yield: 4 servings.

Lemon Buttermilk Ricotta Pancakes

(serves 4)

Organic gardens and straw-bale construction characterizes the philosophy of Eve's Garden Bed & Breakfast in Marathon. Breakfast might include these lemon-ricotta pancakes. (Photo by J. Griffis Smith)“We call these Rosemary pancakes because we got the recipe from my sister Rosemary Lyday,” says Kate Thayer of Eve’s Garden Bed &Breakfast in Marathon. “She has a bed and breakfast in San Marcos called Alexandra"s House B & B.”

For the Lemon Sauce:

  •  1 C. sugar
  •  1/4 C. water
  •  1/2 C. butter
  •  1 egg yolk (white can be added to the 2 whites for the batter)
  •  Zest and juice of 1 large lemon

 Combine ingredients and bring to a boil; leftover sauce can be frozen


For the Pancakes:

Mix dry ingredients:

  • 3/4 C. whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 C. unbleached white flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

 Mix wet ingredients:

  •  1 1/4 C. buttermilk
  •  1/4 C. orange juice
  •  1/2 C. part skim ricotta cheese
  •  2 T. vegetable oil
  •  1 tsp lemon extract
  • Zest from the ends of 1 orange (orange slices from the center are served with the pancakes)
  •  2 egg yolks (reserve whites)

Combine wet and dry ingredients, leaving batter lumpy

Whip egg whites and fold gently into batter. Give batter a 15-minute rest, but it can be mixed up to 1 hour ahead of cooking. Because of the ricotta, these pancakes don't bubble to let you know it's time to flip them, so it is best to time the pancakes 2 minutes per side.

Spoon on lemon sauce, add a few blueberries or strawberry slices and sprinkle on a little powdered sugar.

Researchers in Texas are finding evidence that humans inhabited the New World At least A thousand years earlier than once believed

Surrounding the interpretive center at Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark , five large sculptures, including these representations of Columbian mammoths, illustrate animals living at the site at the end of the last Ice Age, during the Pleistocene era. (Photos by Michael Amador)

Web Extras: Older than Clovis? and Horn Shelter exhibit

Window on Texas: Photographing the Gault Site     Guest Blog: To Dig or Not to Dig?

By Dale Weisman

Who were the first humans to set foot in the New World? Where did they originate? When did they arrive?

The “peopling of the Americas” remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of archeology. And Paleoindian experts are piecing together some of the answers to this prehistoric puzzle at archeological sites right here in Texas.

Researchers are digging into our ancient past throughout Texas, unearthing chipped-stone artifacts and Pleistocene mammal fossils that provide clues to how prehistoric humans lived, migrated, and adapted to a changing climate more than 10,000 years ago. Recent discoveries at Paleoindian sites in Central Texas are providing new evidence that humans reached the New World at least a thousand years earlier than once believed.

You don’t need to be an expert to experience the cutting edge of Paleoindian research. Several sites in Texas welcome visitors, offering public tours, educational programs, and opportunities to participate in active digs.

The Gault Site

A lovely valley along Buttermilk Creek in Bell County has attracted humans for millennia. This idyllic enclave, known to archeologists as the Gault Site, has all the natural ingredients that Paleoindians needed to survive: water from the creek and from springs that have never gone dry in historic times; diverse flora and fauna for hunting and gathering; and plenty of chert, a silica mineral similar to flint from which they formed razor-sharp projectile points and other stone tools.

The Gault Site, named for onetime landowner Henry Gault, is situated in the Balcones ecotone, a transitional area for the Edwards Plateau, Black Prairie, and Coast Plains ecozones. “It would have been an attractive area for living, and an excellent place for hunting and gathering,” says archeologist Clark Wernecke, executive director of the Gault School of Archeological Research.

In fact, the Buttermilk Creek valley served as a major Paleoindian base camp and stone-tool manufacturing center. Debitage—flakes of waste lithic material produced during flint-knapping—blankets the trails and valley floor at Gault.

“Hundreds of thousands of person-hours of flint-knapping are represented at Gault over a span of 15,000 years,” says Mike Collins, the Gault School’s chairman and a leading authority on Clovis culture, which flourished at the end of the Pleistocene epoch, roughly 13,000 years ago. James E. Pearce, a professor of anthropology at the University of Texas in Austin, conducted the first archeological investigations at Gault in 1929, excavating 6,000- to 8,000-year-old burned-rock middens.

The Bell County Museum in Belton highlights exhibitions relating to area archeology, and also offers tours to the nearby Gault Site.

Lubbock Lake Landmark

Imagine stepping back in time to the end of the Ice Age on the Southern High Plains. Rich grasslands flourish in a milder, wetter climate. Pleistocene mammals roam the savannahs and frequent watering holes along flowing streams. Humans, too, gather at these lush havens to forage and hunt prey.

Flash forward 13,000 years to the remnants of one of these ancient oases on the western edge of Lubbock. Now known as Lubbock Lake Landmark, the 300-acre site is an archeological and natural history preserve operated by the Museum of Texas Tech University. A National Historic Landmark, Lubbock Lake Landmark ranks as one of the most important hunter-gatherer sites in North America.

Located on an intermittent tributary of the Brazos River called Yellowhouse Draw, Lubbock Lake is the site of a spring once fed by the Ogallala Aquifer. When the spring went dry during the Dust Bowl era, the city of Lubbock tried to resurrect it by dredging the lakebed, uncovering a lost world of fossils and artifacts.

Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument

Welcome to a Paleo workshop: the windswept caprock overlooking the breaks of the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle. Prehistoric tool makers have come here for thousands of years to chip away at an abundant material—Alibates flint. Paleoindians prized it not only for its durability but also for its magical beauty. Each piece of Alibates shimmers like a petrified rainbow splashed with bands of white, maroon, red, orange, yellow, blue, and black.

Alibates is not a true flint but a type of agate called agatized dolomite. A sedimentary rock similar to limestone, dolomite forms the craggy caprock along the Canadian River. Clovis and Folsom peoples came here to gather chunks of Alibates, found in profusion in a 10-square-mile area, and knapped the colorful agate into elegantly fluted projectile points. Clovis points made of Alibates flint have turned up in archeological sites—even in situ with ancient bison and mammoth bones—in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana, and Mexico. Alibates flint was a sought-after trade item among prehistoric peoples, and it’s still treasured by contemporary flint-knappers.

Austin-based writer Dale Weisman blogs about the ethics of artifact-collecting and the science of archeology at


Rekindle the tense violence and the explosive events of the Texas War for Independence at Goliad’s Presidio La Bahía.  The wounded cry out as smoking cannons and cracking gunfire take their toll.  (Photo by J. Griffis Smith)

Because March 2 marks the anniversary of the dramatic events leading to Texas winning independence from Mexico in 1836, it seems the perfect time to visit some of the key sites.

The fairwater/conning tower of the USS Pintado (SS-387) reminds museum patrons of the critical strategic role of U.S. submarine forces in the Pacific Theater. (Photo by J. Griffis Smith)

Most weekends of the year, crowds flock to Fredericksburg to enjoy the Hill Country ambiance, shop along historic Main Street, or savor impromptu wine tastings. As they wander among the shops and galleries, many visitors may inadvertently miss one of the town’s jewels: The National Museum of the Pacific War.

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