BOWL O’ RED
The influence behind this recipe came from my maternal grandfather, who was in charge of the line extensions going west from Topeka, Kansas. While working with the Santa Fe Railroad, he was stationed a long time in Dodge City, KS which was the end of trail for the cattle drives. He developed this recipe after commiserating with lots of “cookies,” or trail cooks who cooked for the cowboys bringing cattle up from Texas and Northern Mexico. It has won numerous chili cook-offs and is one of the really true original chilis. I like to gussy it up with side dishes of Fixin’s ‘n Mixin’s of chopped onion, pickled jalapenos, mixed grated cheddar and Jack cheeses, sour cream garnished with lime wedges edged in powdered mild red chile and a bowl of pequin quebrado minced Habeneros for those who like it red hot!
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
2 Tablespoons lard, butter, bacon drippings, or rendered beef fat
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
3 pounds lean beef, cut into ½-inch cubes
3 medium-sized garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup pure ground hot chile or to taste
1/4 cup pure ground mild chile
1 Tablespoon ground cumin, divided
About 3 cups water
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- Melt the lard in a large heavy pot with a flat bottom and straight sides over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Remove from heat.
2. Add meat, garlic, ground chiles and ½ the cumin to the pot. Break up any lumps. Stir in the water and salt. Return to heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, 2-1/2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is very tender and the flavors are well blended. NEVER COVER. Placing a lid on a stew such as this will steam the meat, toughening it, rather than allowing it to break down and become quite tender. Add more water if necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding remaining cumin. Serve with fixin’s ‘n mixin’s as noted above.
When we first lived in Albuquerque, NM, nearly every Friday evening our neighbors and friends gathered at our house for drinks, a potluck of whatever they wished to bring and lots of conversation and good times. These soirees continued for years until we moved away.
One of our very fun neighbors started calling my margaritas “crawl home” when they were made as directed below. (He had literally almost crawled home one Friday night.) Afterward, if we made them half strength of the tequila, we started calling them “walk home” margaritas and the name stuck among our friends.
Interestingly enough, for our full participation weekend and week long classes, we make them and the students without exception always vote for the Perfect or “crawl home” margaritas.
These are so much better than the margaritas the average American bar serves. They are definitely the best when made with freshly squeezed lime juice and good-quality silver tequila and Triple Sec or Cointreau. These margaritas are strong, so be careful!
Yield: 2 to 3 drinks
Coarse or kosher salt (optional)
2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice, approximately 2 to 3 limes, save halves after juicing
6 ounces tequila
2 ounces Triple Sec
1 teaspoon raw egg white, lightly whipped, optional*
1. About an hour before serving, squeeze limes. If salted rims are desired, place salt in a small, dry saucer. Gently rub rind of lime that has been squeezed on the edge of the glass, then lightly crunch into the salt and place glasses in the freezer so they will be frosty.
2. Combine lime juice, tequila, Triple Sec, egg white if using and about 8 to 10 ice cubes in a blender or cocktail shaker. Blend or shake well. Taste and add more lime juice or Triple Sec, if desired. Pour into the frosted goblets and serve.
*The egg white sustains a foam on top of each margarita, which is very attractive.
Combine fresh lemon juice and lime juice for a delicious, if unconventional, margarita
Imperfect or “walk home” Margaritas: For less strong margaritas, reduce tequila to 3 ounces.
Frozen Margaritas: Keep adding ice and blending until mixture is somewhat firm or to desired consistency.