Recipes from The Kitchn

Essential Tex-Mex Recipes to Make in the Slow Cooker

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn

When you talk to Vianney Rodriguez about cooking Tex-Mex food in the slow cooker, you understand why she was the right person to write the book on it. For her, there's a Tex-Mex recipe that works as a delicious answer to all your eating conundrums — what to make for family gatherings, for dinner when you don't feel like standing over a pot, and for those South Texas days when "it's 100 degrees in the shade" and just too hot to turn on the oven.

Image Credit: Jason David Page

New Tool, Same Pot of Beans

Every Monday, Vianney makes a big batch of frijoles de la olla, just like her mami did — except for Vianney, the pinto beans, onions, garlic, and bay leaves go into a slow cooker and simmer away for hours. Her kids grew up knowing the same smell of the beans wafting through the kitchen, and will eat them refried or as a side of charro beans — a dish Vianney makes using frijoles de la olla as the base, adding bacon, sausage, and a mix of onions, tomatoes, and garlic to the beans to give them a fresh and savory punch of flavor.

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn

Essential Tex-Mex Recipes to Make in the Slow Cooker

The slow cooker is a tool in Vianney's kitchen and she reaches for it to make the workhorse pot of beans at the beginning of the week and the base for a few cocktails at the end of it. (When's the last time you made a red wine peach spritzer with the help of your slow cooker?) But in between the basics of beans and the clever takes on drinks, Vianney uses the slow cooker to make the everyday Tex-Mex classics she ate growing up in South Texas.

Image Credit: Jason David Page

The Tex-Mex Slow Cooker Cookbook

Every recipe in The Tex-Mex Slow Cooker draws on Vianney's Mexican heritage and her Tejano culture. The slow cooker is her contribution to the story — taking this tool of modern-day kitchens and using it as a way to cook the foods she wants to make for her family in a way that works best for her. It has encouraged a creativity that led to reimagined dishes like slow cooker elote rice and streamlined ways to make a big mess of brisket and fajitas.

Tex-Mex cuisine exists as a blend — it can take on the influences of many traditions while remaining distinctly itself. And because Vianney grew up surrounded by both the "Tex" and "Mex" elements of Tex-Mex cuisine, she's a natural expert on its most admirable quality: a hospitality towards thoughtful interpretation. "Tex-Mex cuisine is a blend of two incredible food cultures I love," says Vianney. Now she's living out that love with the help of the slow cooker.

Image Credit: Jason David Page

Meet Vianney Rodriguez

Vianney Rodriguez is the author of The Tex-Mex Slow Cooker: 100 Delicious Recipes for Easy Everyday Meals (Countryman Press, $19) and the founder of Sweet Life Bakes, a blog dedicated to the delicious food cultures of South Texas.

We fell in love with Vianney's recipes — and style — and wanted to carry that spirit into this story, so if you've got a big crush on the oilcloths in this story, you can find them here.

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