Precisely capture the best flavors of the West. From appetizers to desserts, these are the top-rated, most reviewed recipes from The Sunset Essential Western Cookbook.
Avocados with Warm Bacon Parsley VinaigretteCrunchy bacon brings out the smokiness of a good Hass avocado, and the sharp vinaigrette helps cut its richness.
Gabriel's GuacamoleThis is the base guacamole recipe from Gabriel's in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is intended only as a jumping-off point: Add more seasonings to your taste. We preferred it with 1/2 teaspoon jalapeño, 4 teaspoons onion, and 4 teaspoons lime juice.
Fresh Corn and Avocado SaladIn the height of summer, you won't find a better side dish for ribs than this deceptively simple combination of peak-season produce. Try bringing it to a party, too.
Spinach, Mushroom, and Fennel Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette"Every hippie menu in the '70s had a spinach and mushroom salad," chef Mark Peel says about this recipe, inspired by a restaurant from his college days in Isla Vista, California. Cut it in half for a smaller group.
Smoky Beef-and-Bacon ChiliBacon, fire-roasted tomatoes, and spicy smoked paprika give this easy-to-make chili recipe a deep, complex flavor. While it's great right after you make it, it's even better the next day. Serve with warm cornbread for a complete meal.
Carrot Soup with Dungeness CrabServe this lively soup, a fine showcase for Dungeness crab, to brighten up a winter day.
Speedy Chicken Posole with Avocado and LimeThis dish, using canned hominy, takes a fraction of the time needed for regular posole. Serve with warm corn tortillas.
Char Siu-Glazed Pork and Pineapple BunsChar siu—Chinese-style barbecued pork—is popular throughout the Islands. We've used its sweet, tangy glaze on pork tenderloin and pineapple, and then tucked both into Hawaiian sweet rolls.
Pork Shoulder Roast with Figs, Garlic, and Pinot NoirStuffing this roast with figs and garlic slivers will make you feel like a modern-day Julia Child, and the results are stunning: mosaic-like slices infused with rich fruit and wine flavors.
Green Chile Chicken EnchiladasLike all good New Mexico food, these Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas are simple, earthy, and delicious. Its heat depends on the chiles; go with Anaheims if you scorch easily.
Heritage Turkey with Crisped Pancetta and RosemaryHeritage turkeys are breeds (such as Bourbon Red and Standard Bronze) that predate the Broad-Breasted White, the ubiquitous grocery-store turkey. The thighs and legs have rich, amazing flavor, but can be tough, so for best results, we braise legs and thighs and roast the breast.
Asparagus and Morel QuicheUmami-delicious morels pop up in Western woods and orchards, and make plump, savory nuggets in this quiche. For the neatest slices, make quiche a day ahead; let it cool, loosen it from pan edges, and chill. Cut into wedges, then reheat.
Avocado FriesCrunchy on the outside, creamy and nutty inside, these avocado fries are totally over the top. Chef Trey Foshee, at George's at the Cove restaurant in La Jolla, California, serves them with grilled steak.
Roasted Cauliflower and Shallots with Chard and DukkahThe secret ingredient in this dish, inspired by one served by chef Matthew Dillon at the Corson Building in Seattle, is an easy-to-make Egyptian toasted-nut-and-spice blend called dukkah.
Golden Olive Oil-Roasted PotatoesNothing more than good olive oil and crunchy sea salt turn super-simple potatoes into an irresistible holiday side dish.
Cornbread Chorizo DressingSean Yontz, chef-owner of El Diablo restaurant in Denver, gave us this recipe, which has become one of our most requested.
Brown Sugar Strawberry TartThis recipe is so simple that you'll find yourself getting creative with the berries you put on the top. The combination of the brown sugar crust, creamy filling and sweet fruit topping make this the perfect summertime treat.
Tangerine Olive Oil CakeA glass of Roussanne wine gives this citrusy cake a light floral note. Use fruit with tightly fitting skins (loose-skinned ones are more difficult to zest) and a good olive oil that's been crushed with tangerines, rather than infused after crushing.
Triple-Berry PopsiclesWe couldn't believe how simple it was to make these frozen treats. You can strain out the seeds if you like, but we love the texture they lend to the popsicles. Feel free to use boysenberries, pitted cherries, or other favorites instead of the combination of fruits here.
- Oxmoor House
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