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.
With a little creativity and a bit of bacon grease, this collection of Country Western appetizers is sure to satisfy:
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.
Wrap bacon around each tenderloin cube and secure with a toothpick.
Over high heat, sear the cubes on all sides in a large skillet, using tongs to turn. Cook for about 30 seconds per side.
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
Microwave the chopped onion on high for 1 minute, or saute in olive oil for 5 minutes to soften.
Separate egg yolks into a medium saucepan and add lemon juice, stirring until well blended.
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.
Remove sauce from heat, add the onions, tarragon and chervil. Mix well.
Blend in the white wine, or substitute 2 teaspoons lemon juice + 2 tablespoons water.
TIP: Sauce can be made a couple of days before serving and stored in refrigerator until ready to use.
The secret to true “chicken fried steak” is frying beef in cooking oil that was previously used to fry chicken. Use this same batter recipe and method below to fry up some chicken breasts for lunch, then re-use the cooking oil to get that chicken-fried flavor for your party steak bites.
Prepare a paper towel-lined plate for finished steak pieces and set aside.
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.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg and milk for batter until well mixed.
In a shallow dish such as a pie plate, combine the dry batter ingredients well.
Dredge each piece of steak in flour mixture, dip into the egg mixture, the roll in flour mixture again to coat well.
Shake off excess flour, then place into the hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until lightly browned.
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
Melt bacon grease in an 8-inch iron skillet over medium heat.
Brown the flour in the bacon grease along with the salt, and pepper, whisking constantly until golden in color, about 5-7 minutes.
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.
Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve.
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.
Biting into a warm, flaky biscuit fresh from the oven is surely one of the world’s greatest simple pleasures. We are willing to bet that even the most judgmental guest can be disarmed by this heavenly Southern staple.
Variety of jams/jellies/preserves of your preference
Pre-heat oven to 500º F.
Grease a baking pan with lard or shortening and set aside.
Sift flour into large mixing bowl, then create a well in the middle of it.
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.
Form dough into a ball and flour lightly.
Lightly flour rolling pin and work top surface.
Gently roll out the dough in batches to a thickness of 1/2 inch with a rolling pin.
Dip the biscuit cutter into flour and press into rolled dough to form circles and repeat with remaining dough.
Bake at 500º for 8-10 minutes or until the tops turn golden brown.
Remove from the oven and brush with butter.
Cut slices of country ham into small 1-1/2 inch pieces.
Fry over medium heat in a large skillet until edges are crispy, about 1 minute per side.
Cut the biscuits in half and place ham in the middle of half of them.
Add a variety of preserves, jams, or jellies to the rest of the biscuits and serve warm.
Press the wonton wrappers into mini (1-1/2 inch) muffin pan.
Brown the ground beef in a skillet.
Mix chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper.
Add spices and picante sauce to ground beef and mix well.
Spoon the beef mixture into the wonton cups.
Top with salsa and cheese.
Bake for 5 minutes or until wontons are golden brown and cheese is melted.
Top with sour cream and black olives.
Garnish with a cilantro leaf.
Tex-Mex Queso Cups
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.
Prep Time: 1 hour Cook Time: 5 minutes Cooking Level: Easy Yield: Up to 60 servings
Large microwave-safe bowl
Mini muffin tins
2-inch round biscuit cutter
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.
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
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.
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.
Warm the queso dip in the microwave until warm and runny, stirring every 30 seconds.
Dole out portions with a spoon, filling each corn chip scoop halfway.
Top with 1 teaspoon of pico de gallo.
Garnish each chip with a cilantro or parsley leaf, and serve immediately.
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.
Advance Prep: 1-2 days before the party Last-minute prep: Heat the chili & fill corn cups Cooking Level: Intermediate Yield: 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
Chop the chicken breast into small pieces.
Saute in olive oil for 3 to 4 minutes.
Puree olives, Italian peppers, and tomato until smooth.
Add chicken, wine, garlic, cumin, salt, & pepper.
Cook over medium-low heat for 20-30 minutes.
Heat the butter in a pan and saute the jalapeno pepper, parsley, & cilantro over medium heat for 2 minutes.
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
Cream the butter and cream cheese with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.
Combine the flour, cornmeal and a pinch of salt.
Add the flour mixture, a little at a time, to the butter mixture, stirring constantly. Knead lightly.
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.
Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature until ready to serve.
Heat the chili filling.
Fill each corn cup with chili.
Source: The Martha Stewart Cookbook
Mini Pecan 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: 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.
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 to enjoy all season long.
Roll lemons firmly on a hard surface until they are soft to make them easier to juice.
Zest 2-3 lemons and set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add sugar, lemon zest and 2 cups of water.
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.
Juice lemons, then strain juice into a large serving pitcher.
Strain the sugar mixture into the large pitcher.
Add in 4 cups of cold water; if it is too sweet, add more water.
Optional: Add fresh chopped mint to the pitcher for added refreshment if desired.
Refrigerate and serve cold.
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
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
In a large saucepan over medium heat, add diced peaches, lemon zest, sugar and 2 cups of water.
Stir to dissolve sugar and let mixture simmer. Do not boil, reduce heat, if needed.
When peaches are very soft, break apart with fork or potato masher.
Let the mixture simmer until it thickens slightly.
Remove from heat and let cool at room temperature.
Strain the peach mixture into a pitcher, discard the solids, and add lemon juice.
Pour 4 cups of still or sparkling water and refrigerate until cold.
Garnish with fresh peach slices, fresh lemon slices and mint.
TIP: We've mentioned making lemonade ice cubes, but using frozen peach slices or other frozen fruit works well too. This recipe can also be used for other flavors such as strawberry, blueberry, mango, etc.