Since the semester is over, I thought it would be fun to mimic Monty Python in a sense: “… And now, for something completely different…”
My mother grew up in a small town just west of San Antonio that was settled via a land grant by some pioneers from the Alsace region of France. The question of whether Alsace is French or German would remind one of the song by “They Might Be Giants,” called “Istanbul (Not Constantinople).” Ownership has traded back and forth by the two nations since humanity first thought of territorial gain.
Medina County has some of the most localized and unique culinary traditions of anywhere I can think of in Texas. The way sausage is seasoned there is unique, and there is a highly unique appetizer dish called ‘parisa’ (pah-REE-sah). Think of it as South Texas style paté, but better. It is a holiday tradition at parties, and can be obtained commercially at any of the local meat markets. The recipe is very flexible and can be varied according to taste, but a sample recipe is:
1 lb of EXCEEDINGLY lean ground red meat of your choice
½ lb of your choice of shredded yellow cheese (American or mild cheddar are common)
½ lb of very finely chopped onion (less if it’s strong)
4 finely chopped fresh Serrano peppers or 2-3 jalapeños
Salt, garlic, and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
Mix all ingredients well in a bowl and put covered in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours. (I like making it in a gallon Ziploc bag—dump everything in, close tightly, and mix everything through the bag then throw it in the fridge, preferably overnight.)
Serve. It goes great as a topping for saltines.
Yes, it is uncooked, but the meat is cured by the lemon juice. You want it as lean as possible, because fat can make it go rancid. You do want to take appropriate precautions in handling, but it is safe to eat, and frankly, it’s delicious! (I recommend not advertising what it is to your guests until after they’ve tried it.)
If you try it, let me know what you think, and your guests’ reaction to it. Also, I have some readership from Germany, and I’m curious if they know of anything similar back in the “Old Country” that served as the inspiration for this recipe, as it is so localized here, even among the larger German communities of central Texas.
Quick plug: be sure to come back on Christmas for that day’s post. It will be a special Christmas tale.