J.D.'s Kitchen - February 2003
Cowboy Hash Creamy Almond Chicken Creamy Potato Casserole Howdy, Howdy, Howdy! Today is one of those cold, dark, cloudy, rainy, winter days that makes you want to hunker down next to the ol' cook stove all day. So that's exactly what I did. My favorite cowboy singer Skip Gorman is singing one of his haunting cowboy ballads real low in the background, which adds to the lonely feeling here on the mountain today. I guess some days are meant to feel lonely. I'm sure that it was on days such as this that Bill Monroe penned some of his finest "high lonesome" songs. Bill also wrote some mighty fine cowboy songs too. I was privileged to spend some time in conversation with Bill during one of his last visits to the West Coast a year or so before he died. The conversation got around to the cowboy songs that he'd written over the years. Bill loved horses and had owned and ridden them all of his life. He told me that he would have loved to be one of "them old time cowboys" that lived life on the open range. Since that conversation, every time I hear the song "Goodbye Old Pal," I can see Bill's dream come true in his mind. Knowing the man that Bill Monroe was, had he been a cowboy, I'm sure that we would have known him as Bill Monroe, world champion bronc rider and bulldogger! There's no doubt in my mind that's the way it would have been! Thankfully, however, he chose music over cowboyin' and left that to such greats as Jim Shoulders, Casey Tibbs and Ty Murray. Well, Skip is playing one of my favorites, "Amarillo Waltz," right now, so come on in and pour yerself a cup of Cowboy coffee, pull up a chair next to the stove and while Skip plays for us nice and low, we'll palaver over some vittle fixin's. One of my favorite things for breakfast on a cold, winter morning is a big plate of corned beef hash along with some eggs and biscuits or a stack of hotcakes. Canned beef is an acceptable substitute, sometimes. Of course, the best hash is made with fresh corned beef brisket left over from the day before. But here's a recipe that I whipped up for the boys on a hunting trip about 45 years ago that came out pretty good. I've used it a lot since then and everyone I've cooked it for seems to love it. I always keep a half dozen or so 12-oz cans of corned beef on hand to whip up a batch of hash when the craving for it hits me. One can usually makes enough to feed two people. Here's my time-tested recipe for: Cowboy Hash 1 12-oz. Can corned beef 1 medium onion, chopped 1 large potato, grated or chopped fine 1 bell pepper, chopped fine 1 clove garlic, minced or squashed 1 pickled Jalapeño pepper, minced fine Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste 4-6 TBSP olive oil or bacon grease, etc. Prepare all of the vegetables first. Heat up a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add oil (or grease) and heat well. Cook potatoes until almost done. If necessary, add a little more oil and add onion, peppers and garlic. Cover and cook until the potatoes are done; stirring and turning often. Chunk up the meat and add to the skillet, stirring or turning often until the meat is thoroughly heated and incorporated with the vegetables. Season to taste and serve hot with eggs. Gravy or Hollandaise sauce with it makes it pure manna from Heaven. When you wolf down a big plate of this with some scrambled eggs and sourdough biscuits fresh from the Dutch Oven on a cold mountain morning - buddy, you're good to go all day! This dish also makes a mighty fine supper when you're in a hurry to feed unexpected company or if you're just plain craving it! Just writing about it has throwed a case of the slobbers on me, so guess what I'm having for supper tonight! (Cowboy Hash, Steamed Eggs, Hollandaise Sauce and Sourdough Biscuits!) What was that I heard? Steamed Eggs? How do you fix steamed eggs? I thought everyone knew how to fix steamed eggs. Here's how you do it. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Break two eggs into it, add 1/2 egg shell full of water, cover quick with a tight fitting lid and steam for two to three minutes, according to how done you want the yolks. With a little practice, you'll get 'em perfect every time. I use my cast iron skillet with just a dab of melted butter and it works perfect as well. There you have some steamed eggs. Good and healthy too! Speaking of eggs, I just found out something that I've always suspected was pure hogwash. A few years ago all the media was a buzz about how much cholesterol was in eggs and how we shouldn't eat more than one or two a year - or something like that. My father always had at least two or three and preferably four eggs for breakfast and he lived to be 91. Well, I subscribe to a couple of "Wellness Letters" that I receive monthly. Recently one of them revealed that the cholesterol study done on eggs was done by the Cereal Institute, so guess what kind of rap eggs were gonna get? Turns out my suspicions were right. As far as I'm concerned, eggs are one of God's perfect foodstuffs and I like 'em and I'm gonna eat 'em! As with anything, use in moderate quantities and you'll be fine. These next two recipes are among my favorite "winter" recipes. "Winter" recipes are ones that make a lot, so you can have it for lunch the next day, and they also heat up the kitchen and living room nice and toasty. Something that you don't want to do on a summer day, but welcome this time of year. The best part of these dishes is the fact that they're fast and easy to fix! (Easy, being my favorite word here!) Let's start off with this one for: Creamy Almond Chicken 1/4-cup butter 2/3 cup sliced almonds 6 boneless chicken breast halves Salt and pepper to taste 1-cup heavy cream 1 10 3/4-oz. Can Campbell's Cream of Chicken Soup, undiluted 2 TBSP Orange marmalade 2 TBSP Dijon mustard 1/8 tsp. Red pepper flakes Place chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness, then season with salt and pepper. Melt one-tablespoon butter in a skillet. Add the almonds and cook until browned. Remove almonds; melt remaining butter in the skillet, add chicken and cook until browned. Add 1/2-cup almonds, cream, soup, marmalade, mustard and red pepper flakes. Cook 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Garnish with the remaining almonds. Serve with rice or noodles if desired. Serves six normal folks or two homeless banjo pickers. Serve your family a big plate of this dish over rice or noodles along with a nice winter salad and some garlic bread and it don't get no better than this. Falling asleep by the fire sure is easy when you've had a big bait of this dish. Here's another winter recipe that I'm sure you'll like. Mixing this one up is easier than falling off a peeled foot log over ol' Piney Creek! This one really goes good with a big home made meatloaf, and if you have a favorite recipe for one (who doesn't), why you can cook 'em both at the same time! And, if you really want to spoil your family (or company), have a pan of biscuits ready when you take the meatloaf and casserole out of the hot oven, slide them little darlin's in and in 10-12 minutes you've got hot bread to go with supper. (Hot buttered biscuits with Karo syrup for dessert!) There's only one thing better than hot buttered biscuits and that's more of 'em! Here's how to cook up a big ol' Creamy Potato Casserole: Creamy Potato Casserole 1 30-oz. Package Frozen Hash Browns 2 cups (16-oz.) sour cream 2 cups (8-oz.) Shredded Cheddar cheese 1 10 3/4-oz. Can condensed Cream of Chicken Soup, undiluted 1/2 cup chopped onion 1/4-cup butter, melted 2 TBSP chopped parsley 1/2 tsp. Pepper 1/4 tsp. Salt Mix everything together in a large bowl. Transfer to a dry one-quart baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for one hour at 350º. Makes 8-10 servings. Throw some of this on a plate next to a big slab of meatloaf (or even fried chicken) and like the ol' Cajun would say, "I'll gowrontee you w
Posted By:  Charlene Sims

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