This morning’s biscuits and gravy (scent courtesy of Ed Selser) reminded me of my Grand-Dad. He was a cowboy, as was his father, until he married. He’d saved enough to buy a ranch in Kansas. Later he owned a livestock auction in southern Colorado.
He liked to come up to the Stock Show in January, and somehow I wrangled invitations to go along with him. As the last of five kids, I considered it a key moment in my short life to wear jeans and boots, to go alone with him, and to listen in as he talked to cattlemen and others – adults — about the previous year, the markets, feed, weather, breeding … I didn’t understand everything, but I pretended I did. He taught me how to say “hawg” and he called me “Windy” because I talked a lot.
Even during the years I lived in the city, on the East Coast, I made cowboy food in January, and I remembered our ambles through the pens. I remembered freezing feet and my grandfather holding my coat collar — to keep me from wandering and a safe distance from the hooves of giants.
Cowboy BeansIngredients: 2 cans pinto beans Vegetable or chicken stock 1 c. diced ham ½ teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon black pepper ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper 1 Tablespoon chile powder Directions:
- drain and rinse beans; pour into a pot, add spices (except salt) and ham;
- add 1-1/2 cups stock and then water to cover
- simmer covered for two hours; salt to taste
- consume with cornbread
Of course, cowboys always like t-bone steak with broiled onions. And although the recipes at Chez What? may have had more to do with the Dallas Cowboys than the Stock Show type, they are great alternatives. Speaking of heat-sweetened onions try out awesome grilled onions and grilled chile relleno from Recipe Goldmine
If you can believe it, the Cowboy Showcase website provided me my first encounter with a dessert using 7-Up, but I think I actually remember the kind of blackberry cobbler I found on the Pioneer Woman blog.
If campsite cooking is your thing, try the Scout Camp Stew (none of the scouting organizations are responsible for the content of this recipe.) I blame my affection for Shepard’s Pie and Hachis Parmentier on having consumed this “stew” at my first organized overnight camp, and it is a great recipe to make with kids.
Scout Camp Stew (for a crowd, obviously)
- 4 – pounds ground beef
- 1 – teaspoon salt
- 1 – teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
- 1-1/2 quarts beef broth
- 2 – medium onions, diced
- 4 – medium potatoes, diced
- 2 – medium carrots, diced
- 4 – stalks celery, diced
- 2 – bay leaves
- 1/4 – teaspoon dried rosemary
- Bring large pot to high heat; brown the ground beef.
- Reduce heat to medium temperature.
- Add diced onions, celery and carrots; stir until onions are softened
- Add salt, pepper and garlic.
- Add the beef broth and stir into the ground beef and vegetable mixture.
- Add in potatoes.
- Pour in water to cover all and bring pot to a simmer.
- Add the bay leaves and rosemary.
- Reduce heat to low to medium.
- Cover the pot and cook for 1 to 1+1/2 hours.
- Potatoes should be just tender.