We had the opportunity to travel on a family vacation to France back in 2009.…
One thing I enjoy about being part of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) is attending the annual conference and meeting a variety of authors and chefs from around the country. (This is a bit convoluted, so stay with me…..).
One of the friends I have met through the IACP is Nancie Mc Dermott. I didn’t realize what a rock star Nancie was for several years – we just had great conversations and I enjoyed speaking with her. I’ve been following her blog for a little while and a few weeks ago, she posted about a recipe from another friend’s new book – The New Southern-Latino Table by Sandra Gutierrez. I’ve had the pleasure over the last several years to meet and get to know Sandra. I bought her book this year and had her sign it for me at the Annual Cookbook Fair. I haven’t had time to go through the book because of the recipes I’ve been working and and I’ve been reading all about ice cream and cookies over the last few weeks.
After reading Nancie’s post, I had to pull Sandra’s book down and read it. Wow – learned a lot of things about Sandra – she was born in the US to Guatemalan parents, went back to Guatemala for most of her growing up years, came back to the US for school and has been here ever since. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and besides her latin food roots, also learned good ole Southern Cooking. In this book, she shares recipes that she has developed combining Southern and Latino cooking. These Chile-Cheese Biscuits are a great example. I had commented to Nancie that I was going to have to go make these….. So I’m off to the store to pick up the ingredients I needed and made these biscuits – and the Avacado Butter to go along with it. They were excellent (although mine weren’t as pretty as Nancie’s – you can see her pictures on her blog post here) and the Avocado Butter didn’t need a biscuit, it was pretty darn good right off a spoon!
So, if you are looking for some new variations to try, check out Sandra’s book. (And also check out Nancie’s last book – Southern Pies – it’s an awesome book!). The recipe and note below come out of Sandra’s book…..
Sandra Gutierrez’s Chile-Cheese Biscuits with Avocado Butter
“Moist and light, these new-Southern morsels deliver just the right combination of spice and comforting goodness. Self-rising flour is made from Southern soft wheat flour to which baking powder and salt have been added; it has less protein and gluten than all-purpose flour. The addition of just a little bit of fat and liquid yields fluffy, tender biscuits. Poblano chiles add a mild heat. Queso seco is a Mexican dry-aged cheese that tastes similar to Parmesan; you can find it in most grocery stores. I learned to make biscuits from my Southern friends, who taught me to handle the dough with respect and loving hands. Serve these mildly spiced biscuits with this creamy avocado spread that melts in the mouth.
For the biscuits
- 2 cups self-rising flour
- 1 cup grated queso seco (use Parmesan cheese in a bind) (CC’s note: the grocery store we went to didn’t have the Queso Seco, so I used the Parmesan when I made these)
- 1 teaspoon ancho (or pasilla) chile powder
- ¼ cup chilled lard, bacon fat, or shortening
- 1 poblano chile, roasted, peeled, seeded, deveined, and finely chopped
- 1–1 ¼ cups buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
For the avocado butter
- 2 Hass avocados
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch dried Mexican oregano (optional)
Preheat the oven to 475°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cheese, and chile powder. Using a pastry blender (or two knives), cut the lard into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse sand. Stir in the chiles. Gradually add the buttermilk, mixing the dough with a wooden spoon or your hands just until it holds together (you may not need all of the buttermilk). Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead it gently a couple of times. Pat it into an 8-inch circle (about ½ inch thick). Using a well-floured 2 ⅛-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 12 biscuits (you’ll need to gather up the dough and pat it down again lightly after the first biscuits are cut to get all 12). Place the biscuits, with sides touching, in a 10-inch springform or cake pan. With your knuckle, make a small indentation in the center of each biscuit; brush the tops of the biscuits with the cream. Bake for 18–22 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
To make the avocado butter:
Halve and pit the avocados; scoop out the flesh with a spoon into a medium bowl and mash into a smooth paste. Add the lime juice, salt, pepper, and oregano (if using) and stir until combined.
Serve the hot biscuits with avocado butter.
Makes 12 biscuits and 1 ½ cups avocado butter”