New Cookbook Focuses on Pecans

16 May

Pecans are as Texasn as the Rangers and bluebonnets. In fact, the pecan tree is Texas’ state tree, and Texas is the leading U.S. producer of native pecans.

Go Nuts! The Texas Pecan Cookbook makes its debut in September, and I just couldn’t wait. I’ve baked with pecans for years, especially when we lived in West Texas with its bountiful crops, but I couldn’t resist trying some of the recipes for main and side dishes.

We offer a free weekly pecan recipe, so as I selected a new one for the week, my eyes fell on Potato-Pecan Croquettes. Now, that would be some crunchy mashed potatoes! I mentally prepared an ingredient list of items I would need to buy. Fortunately, I had a huge bag of pecans in my freezer. On a side note, one can freeze pecans before or after shelling. I prefer freezing them after they’re shelled, since that is most convenient when preparing a recipe.

I also had some lean ground beef in the refrigerator so decided to find a recipe in which to use it. It didn’t take long before I came across Burgundy Pecan Burgers. Now that I had two recipes, my only worry was the meal might be a little heavy on pecans.

Not to worry. Husband, Bob, pronounced both dishes as “different but good.”

I’ll share both recipes here, since the book won’t be out until fall. The book is available for pre-order at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Potato-Pecan Croquettes

Ingredients:

3 cups potatoes, unseasoned and mashed

2 eggs, beaten and kept separate

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

2 cups pecans, chopped

1 Tbsp parsley, chopped

1 Tbsp onion, minced

1 Tbsp green pepper, chopped

2 Tbsp shortening

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp water

Fine dry bread crumbs

Instructions:

Sauté green pepper and onion in shortening over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add mashed potatoes, pecans, 1 egg, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce to vegetables and shape into croquettes. Beat together 1 egg and water. Roll croquettes in fine dry bread crumbs. Dip in egg mixture, and then roll in crumbs again. Let stand 10 minutes to form slight crust. Fry in deep hot oil (375° F) until golden brown. Serve hot with mushroom or cheese sauce if desired. Yields 16 croquettes. (I made mine a little larger, so I yielded 8 croquettes.)

Burgundy Pecan Burgers

1 lb ground beef

1/3 cup dry red wine

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 cup pecans, chopped

1 tsp instant minced onion

1/3 cup water

1 tsp cornstarch

Mix beef, pecans, salt, and pepper together. Shape into 4 patties, brown on both sides, and then drain. Add dry red wine and minced onion. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove patties to platter. Blend water with cornstarch, and add to pan juices. Cook and stir until boiling. Pour over patties on serving platter.

— Sheila

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