Darcey Anderson’s mother, Betty, still lives on her family’s ancestral home, the Pines, in North Louisiana’s Sabine Parish. Bordering on Texas, it’s a part of the country with a fascinating history, a region controlled by Spain longer than by France.
Later it was the northern section of the Neutral Strip, a lawless land governed by neither Spain nor the United States. You had to be tough to survive and prosper in the Neutral Strip. Betty’s family, the Belmonts, were tough. Darcey’s father, William Anderson, was equally strong. Darcey comes from good stock.
William was fond of spicy food. The hotter the better was his philosophy. Betty came to share her husband’s taste and was happy to prepare meals to suit. It was the food Darcey ate as she was growing up.
Like many country women, Betty keeps a garden. She raises the usual produce. Collards. Onions. Carrots. Jalapenos. Horseradish root. Yes. Horseradish root. A few gardeners in the parish raise jalapenos or other peppers. Betty is probably the only one growing horseradish root. And it is one of her favorite ingredients.
After she lost her husband, Betty assuaged her grief and occupied her time by joining several clubs in the small town near the Pines.
“You’ll join any club that will let you be president, Mom,” Darcey teased.
Betty laughed and said her daughter was right.
Betty especially liked the Red Hat organization when it came along. Under their rules, if you form a chapter you get to be queen for life. Betty immediately formed a club.
Like many who live alone and lead busy lives, Betty likes to prepare dishes that will give her multiple meals. She often uses a slow cooker when she will be gone for several hours. With the slow cooker, dinner will be ready when she gets home.
Knowing she would be in town most of the day, Betty put a beef chuck roast in the slow cooker. When she got home, it would be fork tender and delicious.
She wanted a sauce to accompany it. Something spicy. She had some horseradish root harvested the previous fall and, thanks to a warm winter, a few jalapenos recently picked. She decided on a jalapeno-horseradish butter.
With the roast in the slow cooker beginning its day long adventure, she put a head of garlic and a jalapeno in the oven to roast while she got dressed. She would make up the sauce when she got home.
Betty Anderson’s Jalapeno-Horseradish Butter
1 head garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon grated horseradish
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
salt to taste
To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 400. Cut the tip of the head just enough to expose the ends of the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. Place it on a jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. Lay a jalapeno alongside the garlic. Roast for about forty minutes.
To prepare the spicy butter, squeeze five garlic cloves out of their skins. Save the remainder of the garlic for use another day. Add the roasted cloves to the softened butter.
Mince the roasted jalapeno and add it, along with the grated horseradish root, to the butter. Toss in the lemon zest and salt to taste.
e garlic, minced jalapeno, grated horseradish, lemon zest, and butter well. You can put the mixture in a food processor or blender, if you wish, for a smoother sauce.
To serve, place a dollop of the seasoned butter on a slice of hot roast beef. Allow the butter to melt, letting the seasonings seep into the meat.
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