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Bon Ton pulled beef

12 Jul

Cut 6 lb roast in  half lengthwise

dry rub

elevate it with a grate in foil

cook an hour a pound at 350F

shred

toss with Cattleboys bbq sauce (gluten free and local!)

Jean’s Beans: Stampede style

12 Jul

An old recipe for Stampede time, from Jean Hoare – Driftwillow Ranch, Stavely, Alberta

SERVES 6 to 8

1-1/2 cups assorted dried beans
Water to cover beans
1 large onion
8 whole cloves
¼ cup ea molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup
½ cup ketchup or chili sauce
1 tbsp dry mustard
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ cup boiling bean water
diced salt pork, bacon ends or leftover baked ham

Beans may include one or more of the following: small white navy beans, the larger Great Northern beans, pinto, limas, kidney, blackeye, garbanzos or chick peas.

Put assorted beans into a large heavy pot and cover with water, about three or four times as much water as beans. Let stand overnight. Drain and cover with fresh water. Cover, bring to a boil, then simmer slowly until tender. Test for doneness of beans by blowing on them. If done, the skins will blow off. The small navy bean will take the longest to cook. Do not add meat or other ingredients yet or the beans will not soften. They should boil alone in water until tender.

When beans are tender, drain reserving the liquid. Stick whole cloves into the onion and add to the cooked beans. Add molasses, brown sugar, maple syrup, ketchup, dry mustard, salt, Worcestershire sauce and half the reserved liquid. Add meat. Cover and bake at 250○ F for 6 to 9 hours, adding extra bean water or more ketchup if the mixture becomes dry. Uncover for the last half hour and adjust seasonings, if necessary.

For camp, prepare the beans up to the final baking stage. Then dig a hole at least 4 inches deeper than the heavy iron bean pot. Prepare enough coals to have a good layer underneath the pot and on top of it. Put the bottom layer of hot coals into the hole, then lower the pot into the hole, covering the lid with foil to keep out any dirt. Cover with remaining coals and bury with at least 3 inches of dirt. Bake in the pit for at least 4 hours, watching that the dirt stays in place, thus holding in the heat.

A final word about beans. To speed up the soaking process, cover the dried beans with water, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Then remove from heat and let stand, tightly covered, for 1 hour. Blanching beans like this is equivalent to about 8 hours soaking.

Mexican Chicken Mole

7 Jul

stampede mole

The curry of Mexico, indeed: this unexpected dish was served in the cowboy grub line and we were pleasantly surprised.blueroom

Chicken thighs with onion, tomato and bell peppers were smothered in the richest mole poblano.

The sweet and smokey sauce packed a wallop: spicy, deeply dark, and lovely. And so at home amidst the usual barbecue.

During Stampede, it’s easy to get beefed out. And this spicy dish is a welcome change from stew. The Mexican connection to the cowboy west is one we’ve overlooked with our Stampede grub, but we’re keen to round out menus to include this winner. We opted for a small spoonful of rice, but others went whole hog:

stampede mole 2

CHICKEN WITH MOLE
from The Sweet Life in Paris (Broadway Books) by David Lebovitz
Makes enough for smothering one chicken or a pork shoulder, previously cooked.
5 dried ancho dried chiles
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
¼ teaspoon each: cinnamon, ground cloves, dried oregano, powdered cumin, ground coriander, ground anise seeds
1/3 cup (55 g) sliced almonds
1-2 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup (40 g) raisins or diced prunes
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper
1 cup (250 ml) water (or more, as needed)
1 oz (30 g) unsweetened chocolate, melted

Remove the seeds and stems from the chiles and soak them in very hot water until soft, about 30 minutes or so.
When softened, puree the chiles in a blender.
In a small skillet, sauté onion in vegetable oil until soft and translucent. Add garlic and sauté another minute. Add spices and herbs and cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 seconds, being careful not to let them burn.
Add to the chile puree in the blender, the almonds, the cooked onions and garlic, tomatoes, raisins or prunes, sesame seeds, salt, pepper, water, and melted chocolate, then puree until smooth.
Add additional water, if necessary, until the consistency is smooth and slightly pourable.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Spaghetti Western 3.0

29 Jun

It’s our annual spaghetti western time again.

The Calgary Stampede is upon us and in our quest to plan the perfect warmup party, spaghetti western reigns supreme.

We’ve come a long way from the inaugural Spaghetti Western discovery (a vile online 1.0 version with noodles, cream of mushroom soup, tomato sauce, Worchestershire, mushrooms and grated cheddar cheese. Yeesh)

We are still digging the Caesar/redeye flavour of Spaghetti with Vodka Cream Sauce. It’s light and perfect on its own or as alongside barbecued beef (sliced flank steak) for a summer night.

We are also toying with a penne/chipotle beef spagball in a red wine tomato sauce, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Maybe next year.

SPAGHETTI WITH VODKA CREAM SAUCE
adapted from Cooking Light
Serves 3 to 4

1/2 pound spaghetti pasta
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion or 2 to 3 shallots
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup vodka
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1/4 cup whipping cream
3 Tbsp fresh basil
Fresh parmesan

Cook pasta and keep warm. It will heat up when you add it to the sauce.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper, and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add vodka and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until liquid is reduced by about half. Stir in scant 1/2 teaspoon salt, broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and let cool slightly.

Puree the sauce until smooth. Return tomato mixture to pan.

Mix in cream, then cook the sauce for 2 minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in cooked pasta and basil. Taste the pasta and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve immediately.

Pie-eyed

18 Jul

Adding alcohol to a dessert this rich is gilding the lilly at Stampede time. For a short while, we contemplated serving guests tiny beer floats, inspired by the recent gift of blueberry beer.

But we are rather smitten by the frozen Margarita Pie our friend G served at a final Stampede party.

The boozy, no-bake pie is coated with salty, crushed pretzels. The puckery lime insides are impossibly creamy, and pack a wallop with shots of tequila and Triple Sec.

It’s the calorie-bomb combination of condensed milk and whipping cream that makes this such a dreamy treat. We suppose, if you had to be a buzz kill, you could soften low-fat ice cream, or use lime sorbet, in their place. Sort of like a margarita ice cream pie. Nothing wrong with that.

MARGARITA PIE
This recipe has been adapted from Al Roker’s book, “Big Bad Book of Barbecue” Makes one 9-inch pie.

Adding extra sprinkles of crushed pretzels on top helps cut through the rich taste. Or decorate with whole pretzels and whipping cream.

Crust:
1 1/4 cups crushed pretzels
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup white sugar
In a medium bowl, combine crushed pretzels, melted butter, and sugar. Press mixture into a pie pan.
Bake this at 350 for eight or so minutes and let cool completely.
Pie:
2 cans (14 ounces each) sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest
3/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
6 tablespoons tequila
4 teaspoons orange-flavored liqueur
Pinch of salt
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Lime slices, for serving (optional)

In a medium bowl, stir together condensed milk, zest, juice, tequila, liqueur, and salt.

Let stand for 5 minutes to thicken.
Pour filling into crust. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firmly set, for at least 2 or up to 8 hours.
Just before serving, whip cream until soft peaks form. Fold in sugar and vanilla, whipping until stiff peaks form. Garnish pie with whipped cream and lime slices, if using. Serve immediately.

Cheddar biscuits

15 Jul


If you’re suffering from stew/chili overload, don’t come crying to us.

Cheddar biscuits will make you crave a ladle-full of either.

Beef Chili with Sour Cream and Cheddar Biscuits
Smitten Kitchen

Sour Cream and Cheddar Biscuits
 Adapted from Gourmet
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons frozen unsalted butter, grated
1/4 pound sharp Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
Drained and chopped pickled jalapeños, to taste (I used about 2 tablespoons)
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425°F. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Either cut the butter pieces into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or rub them in with your fingertips until well-combined. Stir in the cheddar, jalapeños and sour cream until the mixture forms a sticky dough. Pat it out to a 1/2-inch thickness on a very well-floured counter and use a 3 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut six rounds. Bake on an ungreased for 15 to 17 minutes, until golden on top.

Fill yer boots

13 Jul


During the Calgary Stampede, you’re guaranteed at least one dark stormy day. A comforting ladleful of deep, glossy mahogany-hued stew will warm your bones. Stew is western comfort food at its finest. Rich, velvet pools of chicken or beef perfectly nap hot cheese biscuits or buttery clouds of mashed potatoes flecked with chives.

stewAdding a bottle of red wine (boeuf bourguignon) or Belgian beer (les carbonades Flamandes) will only make your bubbling pot better. We confess to preferring our stew dark and saucy, with bite-sized chunks of meat, potatoes, onion and carrot. Too many chunky vegetables or a gluey consistency and you’ve lost us. If you can, try to prepare stew a day in advance.

These two western-style stews make use of Canadian ingredients. Maple syrup, juniper berries and dried blueberries make these distinct tastes.

SONOFABITCH STEW
Buzzards
This stew, by name, has a vile history with ingredients better left unsaid.

1/2 cup olive oil
2 1/2 lbs meat cubed 1″
1lb diced carrots
1lb onions
1lb diced red potatoes
5 celery stalks
1 cup flour
2 qts beef stock
2 or 3 juniper berries
1/2 cup dried berries (cranberry, blueberry, saskatoon (rosehips?)
2 1/4 lbs sausage chorizo, or Italian, thickly sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped thyme
Bay leaf
Salt pepper
Heat oil, sear meat in batches. Set aside. Add veg and saute til soft. Return meat, stir in flour until meat and veg are well coated
Add stock and and stir well. Reduce heat to low. Add berries, sausage and herbs. Simmer for one hour or until meat is tender. Season.

———————-
JASPER PARK LODGE VOYAGEUR STEW

Makes eight servings
3 pounds/1.5kg lean beef, cut into 1-inch/2.5cm cubes
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onions
3/4 cup maple syrup
3 cups potatoes, skin on , cut into 1-inch/2.5cm cubes
2 cups turnips, cut into 1-inch/2.5cm cubes
1 cup, green onions, cut into small rounds
4 cups beef stock
salt and pepper

In a pan, heat the oil and cook the beef until the cubes are brown on all sides about five minutes.

Add the onions and continue cooking for three minutes. Add the maple syrup and cook, stirring for one minute. Add the potatoes, turnips, and green onions and cook stirring for three minutes. Add the beef stock, salt and pepper and simmer for one hour.
———————
PARKER’S BEEF STEW
Barefoot contessa
2 1/2 pounds good-quality chuck beef, cut into 1 1/4-inch cubes
1(750 ml bottle) good red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
3 whole garlic cloves, smashed
3 bay leaves
6 ounces bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces
All-purpose flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Good olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch chunks
1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered
1 (14 1/2 ounce can) beef stock
1 large (2 small) branch fresh rosemary
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and sliced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 (10-ounce) package frozen peas (not petits pois)

1.Place the beef in a bowl with the red wine (I use a good one since it’s an important flavor), whole garlic, and bay leaves. Place in the refrigerator and allow to marinate overnight.

2.The next day, preheat the oven to 300°F.

3.Brown the bacon in a large (12-inch) sauté pan for 5 to 7 minutes, over medium-low heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a Dutch oven, such as Le Creuset. Combine 2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper. Lift the beef out of the marinade and discard the bay leaves and garlic, saving the marinade. In batches, dredge the cubes of beef in the flour mixture and then shake off the excess. In the sauté pan, brown half the beef over medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Place the beef in the Dutch oven with the bacon and continue to brown the remaining beef, placing it all in the Dutch oven.

4.Lower the heat to medium-low, add the onions to the sauté pan, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the carrots and potatoes and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Place all the vegetables in the Dutch oven with the beef. Add 2 1/2 cups of the reserved marinade (discard the rest) to the sauté pan and cook over high heat to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping up all the brown bits with a wooden spoon. Add the beef stock, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tablespoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven and bring it to a simmer over medium heat on top of the stove. Cover the pot and place it in the oven for 2 hours, until the meat and vegetables are all tender, stirring once during cooking. If the stew is boiling rather than simmering, lower the heat to 250°F or 275°F.

5.When the stew is done and the meat is tender, whisk 2 tablespoons of flour and 1 cup of the sauce together and pour it back into the stew. Simmer for 3 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the frozen peas, season to taste, and serve hot.