Carne Asada, Chilaquiles And Even Cocktails: Make Tex-Mex Favorites In Your Slow Cooker

A new cookbook from Port Aransan Viennay Rodriguez includes 100 recipes from appetizers to dessert that you can prepare in a crockpot.

By Laura RiceMarch 6, 2018 11:38 am| ,

Slow cooking is all the rage right now. The Instant Pot became the most buzzworthy kitchen appliance over the holidays, and there’s a chance at least one of your Facebook friends is running a crockpot recipe sharing group. But if you think slow cookers are only good for wintertime stews, you’re missing out on a lot.

Vianney Rodriguez says slow cookers are actually perfect for the heat of Texas, and for making Tex-Mex meals. She’s the author of “The Tex-Mex Slow Cooker: 100 Delicious Recipes for Easy Everyday Meals.”

“I think once the summer hits, no one wants to have their oven on, or their stovetop,” Rodriguez says. “I put everything in the slow cooker, put it on low, and I’m ready for dinner.”

Rodriguez says that while some Tex-Mex favorites don’t lend themselves to slow cooker preparation, many do. She cites chilaquiles, beans and mole sauce as very slow cooker-friendly.

Rodriguez says queso verde is a good way to get started with slow cooker Tex-Mex.

“I’m all about my tomatillos. We have access to them here all year round,” she says. “It’s a little mix of the white queso with the tomatillo sauce that’s also in the book. It’s perfect for entertaining.”

Rodriguez’ book includes casseroles and meat dishes as you might expect, but there are desserts and big-batch cocktail options, along with syrups, including lavender and Texas pecan.

“You can have them spiked, or you can have them not spiked,” Rodriguez says.

Written by Shelly Brisbin.

Queso Verde

Reprinted with permission from “The Tex-Mex Slow Cooker: 100 Delicious Recipes for Easy Everyday Meals.”

Every fiesta needs a great queso, and this Queso Verde is a no-fuss, hands-free appetizer. I always stash a few cups of my Salsa Verde in the freezer so I can easily whip up this dish.

Serves 6 to 8

2 cups shredded Monterey Jack

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, diced

1 cup Salsa Verde (page 92), plus more for serving

½ cup whole milk

1 (4-ounce) can diced green chiles (optional)

Tortilla chips, for serving

Note: Fully cooked ground beef, sliced carne asada, or fajitas can be added to the queso during the final 30 minutes of cooking.

Big-batch margaritas

Photo courtesy of Vianney Rodriguez

Big-Batch Horchata Margaritas

Reprinted with permission from “The Tex-Mex Slow Cooker: 100 Delicious Recipes for Easy Everyday Meals.”

I love entertaining and creating specialty cocktails for events, but that doesn’t mean I want to spend the entire evening shaking them up, one at a time. My Horchata is the perfect base for a unique, creamy margarita. Served in a beautiful punch bowl or drink dispenser, these Big-Batch Horchata Margaritas are the ultimate summer cocktail.

Serves 15

1 cup granulated sugar and ¼ cup ground cinnamon, for rimming the glass

1 recipe Horchata (See below)

4 cups tequila blanco

1 cup coconut liqueur

Ice

Mix the sugar and cinnamon together on a small plate. Moisten the rims of 15 margarita glasses and dip the rims in the cinnamon sugar.

Combine the Horchata, tequila, and coconut liqueur in a large pitcher or punch bowl and stir until well combined. Serve over ice in the cinnamon-sugar rimmed glasses.

Horchata

Traditionally, horchata is made by pouring boiling water over rice and almonds, straining through a cloth, and allowing the mixture to sit overnight. These days, it’s much easier to use a slow cooker. You simply throw in all of your ingredients, walk away, and let the slow cooker do the work. I give my horchata extra richness by adding cinnamon sticks to the mixture. Once they’ve softened, they’re easily blended into the drink, lending it a beautiful cinnamon color.

Serves 15 to 20

12 cups water, plus more for blending

3 cups uncooked long-grain 
white rice

1½ cups granulated sugar, plus more to taste

1 cup raw almonds

3 (4-inch) cinnamon sticks

Ice

Combine 12 cups of water, the rice, 1½ cups of sugar, almonds, and cinnamon sticks in a slow cooker, cover, and cook on low for 2½ hours. Remove the cinnamon sticks.

Working in batches, transfer the contents of the slow cooker to a blender. Cover and blend on high speed until the mixture is nearly smooth (the mixture will still have small bits of rice); add more water if needed. Strain the mixture, taste, and add more sugar if needed.

Serve over ice.