Second Home in the Hill Country: Recipes From Boot Ranch for “Inner Peas”

Boot Ranch Chef Aaron StreitmaterBoot Ranch is our favorite vacation (or permanent!) home community in the Texas Hill Country. When Chef Aaron J. Staudenmaier moved to Fredericksburg (from Dallas — he worked under Chef Kent Rathbun at Abacus, Jasper’s and at the farm-to-table concept, Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen) to become the Boot Ranch Executive Chef in October 2012, he came with a vision to showcase the best of the Texas Hill Country farms and vineyards in five-star style. With several seasons of exploring the best farmers and vendors in the area under his belt and refining his creative ideas with their ingredients, Chef Staudenmaier is ready to share some of his introspection and findings. His quest continues and the bounty begins:

“Some of the first spring crops to hit kitchens in the Hill Country are beans and peas. Nothing quite announces the changing farm season and the beginning of warmer weather as that first delivery of creamy, nutty English peas just waiting to be cooked up. Gundermann Acres in Wharton County does a great job of keeping us in peas almost all year, but when it comes to the first harvests we look to our local farmers, the Engel’s, Fike’s and Jenschke’s.

If you’re not quite sure how to give peas a chance, I’ve included a couple of ideas of what to do with these beauties once they show up. The most important thing is this: don’t overcook them. Grey and squishy is for canned peas only. You are looking for bright colors, clean flavors and a bite similar to that of al dente pasta. It only takes minutes to cook them through.

Keep your eyes peeled for all the little roadside markets that are going to be popping up. After that, keep those fingers shucking peas because, come fall, you’re going to miss ‘em.”

BLACK EYED PEAS WITH ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE

Recipe By: Aaron J. Staudenmaier

Serving Size: 8

Ingredients:

2 ounces bacon fat

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 each large onion, diced

2 bay leaves

1 tablespoon Creole seasoning, salt free

2 cups fresh black-eyed peas

1 bottle Shiner Bock

1 quart chicken stock

1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced

1 each red bell pepper, diced

1 each green bell pepper, diced

1 each yellow bell pepper, diced

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon thyme, chopped

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

1 bunch scallions, chopped

 

Directions:

1. In a medium stock pot over medium heat, add bacon fat or canola oil and garlic, and cook until toasted.

2. Add onions and cook until translucent.

3. Add bay leaf and Creole seasoning and lightly toast.

4. Add black-eyed peas and continue stirring.

5. Deglaze with beer and reduce by 2/3.

6. Cover with chicken stock and bring to a simmer.

7. Cook for about 1 hour or until beans are tender.

8. Add Andouille sausage, red, green and yellow bell peppers and continue cooking until peppers soften.

9. Season with kosher salt, thyme and Tabasco, and garnish with scallions.

 

Notes: A natural pairing for fried catfish and hushpuppies.

 

ENGLISH PEA BUTTER SAUCE

Recipe By: Aaron J. Staudenmaier

Serving Size: 8

 

Ingredients:

1 ounce canola oil

2 shallot, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 cup white wine

1/2 bunch parsley

1/2 cup heavy cream

3/4 lbs. butter

2 lemon, juiced

4 ounces English peas, blanched

Salt to taste

 

Directions:

1. In a medium sauce pot, add canola oil and sauté shallots and garlic until translucent.

2. Deglaze with white wine and reduce by half.

3. Add heavy cream and reduce to half.

4. Reduce heat and whip in butter a little at a time until incorporated.

5. Add parsley and English peas and puree.

6. Strain through a chinois.

7. Immediately before serving, add English peas.

 

Notes: Serve with seafood dishes. If color is not vibrant after Step 5, add a small amount of spinach leaves while pureeing.

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