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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.

Cowboy Happy Hour

2 Jul

Always on the lookout for Stampede recipes over here.

Here’s a quick barbecued nacho idea for a group, perfect with cold beer. Or bacon Caesars! IMG_2265

It’s a riff on retro Nachos Grande from Chi Chi’s. Each chip is covered with a thin smear of refried beans, cheese and a slice of jalepeno. Tidbits of sliced grilled steak or chicken can be added over top. Or seasoned ground beef can join the bean layer, but remember: it has to be thin!

In a large pan, brown ground sirloin and diced onion. Drain fat, and toss mixture with just a touch of smokey habernero barbecue sauce or your own mix of chili powder, cumin and oregano.

Then, start layering on fresh corn tortillas. Water down the refried bean layer so you are painting the tortilla rather than spreading a thick layer photoof mortar!

Then a spoonful of bbq beef or grilled beef or chicken tidbits. Sprinkle grated cheese over top, and top each quarter with a pickled jalepeno (or top with fresh after cooking).

Heat barbecue grill (we use mini pizza stones). When pizza stones are hot on the grill, slid the tortillas on and close lid. Check after a few minutes to see if tortilla bottom is crisp. When the tortillas are crisp, they’re ready.

Cut into quarters and serve with fire-roasted salsa, guacamole and sour cream presented on shredded lettuce.

Retro: Chi Chi's natchos grande

Retro: Chi Chi’s natchos grande

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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, Adapted from Gourmet

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.

Backyardecue

14 Jul

The Stampede backyard barbecue is a time-honoured tradition. Some have been hosting for decades, and their events have reached statutory holiday status. The highly-anticipated parties are competitive, to boot. Brunch parties almost always feature someone’s famous scotch eggs, fluffy pancakes and baked ham. Afternoon parties boast prime rib, Roast Baron of Beef, steaks or special burgers.

The pressure’s really on for side dishes that can compete. Devilled eggs, potato salad, coleslaw and corn on the cob are popular but rarely inspired.

A party invitation from a friend who is vegetarian got us thinking. The party isn’t meat free (it is Stampede for god’s sakes) but the usual mayonaissey side salads won’t do for veggie-savouring palates.

Pasta salad tossed with grilled Prairie vegetables seems appropriate. Barbecued corn, zucchini and mixed mushrooms are tossed with butter fried fresh sage and a zingy vinegrette. I like the idea of adding tumbleweed-like curly endive.

Chuckwagon wheel shaped pasta is also kind of hilarious.

STAMPEDE CHUCKWAGON PASTA SALAD WITH PRAIRIE SAGE DRESSING

With your barbecue on medium heat, layer olive oil rubbed shucked corn cobs, portobello mushrooms, and slices of zucchini on the grill.
When veggies are cool, cut corn from cob and slice veggies into bite size pieces.
For sage leaves: heat butter in sauce pan. When molten, add fresh sage leaves in a single layer. Turn them when they begin to crisp at the edges. Take off heat and add veggies and toss to coat.
Cook and drain pasta. When cool, add veggies and spring mix with curly endive. Toss with vinegrette.
butter fried fresh sage

PRAIRIE SAGE DRESSING
100 ml canola oil
50 ml while balsamic vinegar
10 ml Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, crushed
freshly ground pepper to taste
shake together

___________________________________________________________
Here’s a mushroom salad from Laura Calder:

1 pound mushrooms
2 lemons
4 cloves garlic
2/3 cup olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 sprig thyme
4 pepperoncini
Fleur de sel
A handful of chopped parsley

Directions
1.The night before eating, clean the mushrooms with a damp towel, peel, and discard the stems (or use to make stock). Zest one lemon and squeeze its juice. Mince 3 garlic cloves. Grill the mushroom caps 5 to 6 minutes. Turn them, hole down, and cook another minute. Put in a bowl.
2.Heat the oil, garlic, lemon juice and zest with the bay leaves, thyme and pepperoncini. Cook 5 minutes, pour over the mushrooms, and let cool in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning once.
3.To serve, grate over the zest of the remaining lemon, and the remaining garlic. Toss with into the salad with the parsley