Posted by Rae Lynn on 4/2/2014 to Country Western
If there is one thing that country folks appreciate, it is good eatin’. Whether you are hosting a blowout bonanza or a simple summer soiree, these Country Western appetizers & hors d'oeuvre recipes combine taste with ease that will give you the greatest bang for your entertaining buck.
When weighing your culinary options with a Country Western spin, we suggest staying true to the roots of country cooking, transforming the flavors of simple, hearty dishes into bite-sized bliss.
With a little creativity and a bit of bacon grease, this collection of Country Western appetizers is sure to impress:
Steak ’n Bacon Bites with Bernaise Sauce
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Cooking Level: Easy
What better way to celebrate the legacy of the cowpokes than with the crown jewel in the world of steak? Tasty tenderloin tidbits make an elegant selection for upscale events and a noteworthy treat for more casual affairs.
• Kitchen knife• Cutting board• Toothpicks• Large skillet• Tongs• Foil-lined baking sheet/broiler pan• Medium saucepan• Paring knife• Stirring spoon• Measuring cups/spoons
• 3 lb beef tenderloin• 1 lb bacon, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 350F.2. Cut the tenderloin into 1? cubes.3. Cut bacon slices into thirds.4. Wrap bacon around each tenderloin cube and secure with a toothpick.5. Over high heat, sear the cubes on all sides in a large skillet, using tongs to turn. Cook for about 30 seconds per side.6. Transfer pieces to a foil-lined baking sheet or broiler pan and cook for 15 minutes.
• 1/2 white/yellow onion, finely diced• 6 egg yolks• 2 teaspoons lemon juice• 2 sticks butter, unsalted• 1 teaspoon tarragon, dried• 1 teaspoon chervil or parsley, dried• 3 tablespoons white wine or substitute
1. Microwave the chopped onion on high for 1 minute, or saute in olive oil for 5 minutes to soften.2. Separate egg yolks into a medium saucepan and add lemon juice, stirring until well blended.3. Slice butter into small cubes and add to the egg yolk mixture over low heat, allowing each cube to melt completely before adding the next one. Stir constantly while butter melts until the sauce thickens to the consistency of thin pudding, about 10-15 minutes. When you can drag the spoon through the sauce and temporarily see the bottom of the pan, you know it is done. Note: Not stirring enough or cooking with too much heat will cause the sauce to curdle and form lumps.4. Remove sauce from heat, add the onions, tarragon and chervil. Mix well.5. Blend in the white wine, or substitute 2 teaspoons lemon juice + 2 tablespoons water.
Swizzle Tip: Sauce can be made a couple of days before serving and stored in refrigerator until ready to use.
Corn Cups with Green Chili
Advance prep: 1-2 days before the party
Last-minute prep: Heat the chili & fill corn cups
Cooking Level: More difficult
Makes 32 Hors d'oeuvres
Chicken Chili Filling
• 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast• 3 Tbsp olive oil• 20 green olives, pitted• 6 green Italian frying peppers (pictured), seeded & chopped• 1 green tomato• 1/2 cup white wine• 2 garlic cloves, minced• 1 tsp cumin• Salt & pepper to taste• 2 Tbsp unsalted butter• 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced thin• 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped• 8 sprigs cilantro, chopped
1. Chop the chicken breast into small pieces.2. Saute in olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes.3. Puree olives, Italian peppers, and tomato until smooth.4. Add chicken, wine, garlic, cumin, salt, & pepper.5. Cook over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes.6. Heat the butter in a pan and saute the jalapeno pepper, parsley, & cilantro over medium heat for 2 minutes.7. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
• 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature• 3 oz cream cheese, room temperature• 1 cup all-purpose flour• 1/2 cup cornmeal• Salt
1. Cream the butter and cream cheese with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.2. Combine the flour, cornmeal and a pinch of salt.3. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, to the butter mixture, stirring constantly. Knead lightly.4. Divide the dough into 1-inch balls and press them into mini-muffin baking pans, using your thumbs to form the cups inside the mold. The dough should be even and come to the top of the tin.5. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.6. Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to serve.
1. Heat the chili filling.2. Fill each corn cup with chili.
Source: The Martha Stewart Cookbook
Chicken Fried Steak Bites
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Level: Intermediate
The secret to true “chicken fried steak” is frying beef in cooking oil that was previously used to fry chicken. If you use fresh oil, it is considered “country fried” with less authentic flavor. The same batter recipe and method we’ve given below can be used to fry up some chicken breasts for lunch before cooking for the party for improved pre-party satisfaction.
• 2 lb cube steak, cut into 1-1/2 inch pieces• 4 cups canola oil Batter• 1/2 cup milk• 1 egg• 2 cups all-purpose flour• 1-1/2 tablespoon seasoned salt• 2 teaspoons coarse ground black pepper
1. Prepare a paper towel-lined plate for finished steak pieces and set aside.2. Heat oil in a deep cast iron skillet over high heat until the temperature reaches 350F, then reduce to medium. Note: if not using a thermometer, test the temperature of the oil by sticking the end of a bamboo skewer into it. When the indicated temperature range is reached, the end of the bamboo will sizzle, then reduce heat to medium.3. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg and milk for batter until well mixed.4. In a shallow dish such as a pie plate, combine the dry batter ingredients well.5. Dredge each piece of steak in flour mixture, dip into the egg mixture, the roll in flour mixture again to coat well.6. Shake off excess flour, then place into the hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until lightly browned.7. Remove cooked pieces to plate and allow to rest for 2 minutes before serving.
• 2 tablespoons bacon drippings• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour• 3/4 teaspoon salt• 3/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper• 3-1/2 cups whole milk
1. Melt bacon grease in an 8-inch iron skillet over medium heat.2. Brown the flour in the bacon grease along with the salt, and pepper, whisking constantly until golden in color, about 5-7 minutes.3. Gradually add 3 cups of milk a little at a time, stirring constantly to prevent curdling. Add more milk as necessary to keep from becoming too thick.4. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.
Swizzle Tip: Gravy can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight or frozen. Allow to defrost overnight in fridge before use, and heat slowly in the microwave stirring at 30-second intervals or over low heat on the stovetop. Add more milk as necessary to achieve desired consistency.
Country Kitchen Button Biscuits With Jam & Ham
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Level: Intermediate
Makes 40 biscuits
Biting into a warm, flaky biscuit fresh from the oven is surely one of the world’s greatest simple pleasures. We are willing the bet that even the most judgmental guest can be disarmed by this heavenly Southern staple.
• Sifter• Measuring cups• 1-inch biscuit cutter• Pastry brush• Mixing bowl• Rolling pin• Baking pan
• Paring knife• Skillet• Spatula• Spreading knife
• 3 cups of Self-Rising Flour, sifted• 3/4 cup buttermilk• 1/4 cup lard or vegetable shortening• 1/4 cup butter, melted• 3-4 slices of 1/4” country ham of your preference• Variety of jams/jellies/preserves of your preference
Serve1. Pre-heat oven to 500º F.2. Grease a baking pan with lard or shortening and set aside.3. Sift flour into large mixing bowl, then create a well in the middle of it.4. Mix together lard or shortening and buttermilk inside the well until mixed, then knead wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Not all flour needs to be incorporated; use only as much as needed to get the consistency to feel like an earlobe when pinched.5. Form dough into a ball and flour lightly.6. Lightly flour rolling pin and work top surface7. Gently roll out the dough in batches to a thickness of 1/2 inch with a rolling pin.8. Dip the biscuit cutter into flour and press into rolled dough to form circles and repeat with remaining dough.9. Bake at 500º for 8-10 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown.10. Remove from the oven and brush with butter.11. Cut slices of country ham into small 1-1/2 inch pieces.12. Fry over medium heat in a large skillet until edges are crispy, about 1 minute per side.
1. Cut the biscuits in half and place ham in the middle of half of them.2. Add a variety of preserves, jams, or jellies to the rest of the biscuits and serve warm.
Tex-Mex Queso Cups
Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Level: Very Easy
Makes up to 60 servings
Tex-Mex cuisine is a gratifying blend of cultures resulting from the fusion of textures and ingredients from both sides of the border. Our tasteful creation commemorates this culinary union in a single satisfying bite. The strong flavor of the Pico de Gallo is well-balanced by the soft and creamy American “queso blanco” underneath.
• Paring knife• Cutting board• Small bowl• Garlic press• Citrus juicer• Measuring cups/spoons• Large microwave-safe bowl• Mini muffin tins• 2-inch round biscuit cutter• Pastry brush• Serving spoon
Yield: 30 fluid ounces
• 1-1/4 lb 1-inch cubes of white American cheese• 1/4 cup diced green chiles, canned• 2 pickled jalapenos, chopped• 1 ounce pickled jalapeno juice• 2/3 cup whole milk• 1/2 cup cold water• Optional: Dash cumin
Toss all ingredients into a large, microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 5 minutes, stopping to stir after every minute.
Swizzle Tip: Queso dip can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight or frozen. If using frozen sauce, allow to defrost completely in refrigerator for 36 hours before reheating to prevent curdling. Reheat in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds or over low heat on stovetop.
Pico de Gallo:
Yield: 2 to 3 cups
• 1/2 cup red onion, finely diced• 1 clove garlic, minced• 1-1/2 tablespoons jalapeno peppers, minced• 2 cups plum tomatoes, diced• 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped (to taste)• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice• 1/2 teaspoon salt• Dash black pepper
Toss all ingredients into a medium mixing bowl, stirring gently to combine. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to four hours for optimal flavor. Best if used the same day.
Toasted Corn Cups:
Yield: 6 per 6-inch tortilla
• 10 corn tortillas• Olive oil
Preheat oven to 350F. Cut tortillas into circles with a 2-inch biscuit cutter, brush with olive oil, and press into mini muffin tins. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden & crisp.
1. Arrange up to 60 toasted corn cups on a baking sheet or other preparatory surface. Note: do not use serving platter for preparation due to risk of drips.2. Warm the queso dip in the microwave until warm and runny, stirring every 30 seconds.3. Dole out portions with a spoon, filling each corn chip scoop halfway.4. Top with 1 teaspoon of pico de gallo.5. Garnish each chip with a cilantro or parsley leaf, and serve immediately.
Swizzle Tip: Queso-filled chips can be kept warm in an oven at lowest setting (~150F) until just before serving, then top with pico and serve immediately.
Mini Pecan Pies
Prep Time: 20 Min
Cook Time: 20 Min
Cooking Level: Easy
Makes 36 pies
A perennial “New World” favorite, Pecan pie is actually more American than apple pie (King Richard II of England was enjoying apple pie in the 14th century: www.godecookery.com). In the Southern U.S. it is virtually the king of all tree nuts, and after tasting these tiny tarts you’ll understand why.
• 1 3-inch circle cookie cutter• 3 mini muffin tins• Rolling pin• Large mixing bowl• Measuring cups and spoons• Cooking spray
• 1 package unbaked roll-out pie crusts, at room temperature• 1/3 cup dark Karo syrup• 1 egg• 1/3 cup sugar• 2 teaspoons butter, melted• 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract• 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350F.2. Spray muffin tins lightly with cooking spray.3. Lightly flour work surface and dust the pie crust with flour.4. Roll the crust thinly on the floured surface.5. Using the cookie cutter, cut 36 circles 3 inches in diameter, and press into muffin tins.6. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar together.7. Add Karo syrup, melted butter and vanilla, mixing well.8. Fold in pecan pieces.9. Using a tablespoon, transfer the mixture into each pie shell, filling until 3/4 full.10. Bake pies for 18 minutes, until crusts are golden brown.
Swizzle Tip: Pie crusts can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight or frozen in their tins. Allow them to thaw at room temperature before filling.
Perfectly Sweet Tea
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Cooking Level: Very Easy
Makes 2 quarts
Nothing beats a glass of ice cold sweet tea on a hot summer day, and we’ll share with you the secret to making the perfect cup.
• 64-ounce pitcher• Tea kettle/small saucepan• Stirring spoon• Measuring cups
• 1 pinch baking soda• 2 cups boiling water• 6 tea bags• 3/4 cup white sugar• 6 cups cool water
Recipe: allrecipes.com1. Boil 2 cups of water in a tea kettle or small saucepan.2. Sprinkle a pinch of baking soda into a 64-ounce heat-proof pitcher.3. Pour in boiling water and add tea bags.4. Cover and allow to steep for 15 minutes.5. Remove tea bags and discard; stir in sugar until dissolved.6. Pour in cool water, then refrigerate until cold.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Cooking Level: Very Easy
Makes 2 quarts
Delicious and refreshing, lemonade is the perfect party drink because of its popularity and versatility. Fresh lemonade is a welcome treat on its own, and also is a well-served base for a number of cocktails (for inspiration, check out this list: www.huffingtonpost.com).
We've also included a delicious twist on the conventional recipe that is sure to impress all season long.
• 64-ounce pitcher• Large saucepan• Stirring spoon• Measuring cups• Zest grater• Optional: Paring knife• Optional: Ice cube trays
• 8 lemons, plus garnish• 1-1/2 to 2 cups sugar, to taste• 6 cups water, divided• Optional: 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
1. Wash lemons thoroughly.2. Roll lemons firmly on a hard surface until they are soft to make them easier to juice.3. Zest 2-3 lemons and set aside.4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add sugar, lemon zest and 2 cups of water.5. Simmer lightly for 5 minutes or until sugar has dissolved and the mixture turns a light yellow color, then remove from heat. Do not boil.6. Juice lemons, then strain juice into a large serving pitcher.7. Strain the sugar mixture into the large pitcher.8. Add in 4 cups of cold water; if it is too sweet, add more water.9. Optional: Add fresh chopped mint to the pitcher for added refreshment if desired.10. Refrigerate and serve cold.
Swizzle Tip: Freeze a portion of the lemonade in ice cube trays to keep drinks cold without watering them down. Lemonade ice cubes are also delicious in iced tea and cocktails too for a little extra flavor!
Variation: Peach Lemonade
• 64-ounce pitcher• Large saucepan• Stirring spoon• Measuring cups• Zest grater• Paring knife• Fork/potato masher• Strainer
• 3 cups fresh peaches, diced (about 6 peaches)• Zest of 3 lemons• 1-1/2 cups sugar• 6 cups cold water or sparkling water, divided• 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 7 lemons)• Garnishes: peach slices, lemon slices, mint
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add diced peaches, lemon zest, sugar and 2 cups of water.2. Stir to dissolve sugar and let mixture simmer. Do not boil, reduce heat, if needed.3. When peaches are very soft, break apart with fork or potato masher.4. Let the mixture simmer until it thickens slightly.5. Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature.6. Strain the peach mixture into a pitcher, discard the solids, and add lemon juice.7. Pour 4 cups of still or sparkling water and refrigerate until cold.8. Garnish with fresh peach slices, fresh lemon slices and mint.
Swizzle Tip: We've mentioned making lemonade ice cubes, but using frozen peach slices or other frozen fruit would work well too. This recipe can be adopted as is to incorporate other flavors such as strawberry, blueberry, mango, etc.