The preservation of western cultural and the American Cowboy. Sharing the history of the early trail drives, the Chuck Wagon and those who pioneered untamed land. The content is for educational and entertainment purposes. Cowboys and Chuck Wagon Cooking reviews cooking techniques, products and western gear which today is part of western life style. We hope you will enjoy your visit and look forward to comments, recipes and shared heritage. Thank you for your visit. Hope you follow us along the trail of news, stories and the Cowboy way.
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cornmeal Recipe Contest

The face book Chuckwagon Cooking Group  is hosting a cornmeal recipe contest. Prizes will be awarded to the two best selected recipes by independent judging.  (First place) will receive a pair of Wild Rags by Ridin' Rank Wildrags of Beebe, Arkansas owned and operated by Becky Boyd Switzer and (second place) receives a cookbook donate by Dutch Oven Diva owned and operated by Lesley Kershaw Tennessen:  The contest runs from June 1st, 2013 to submit your entry, ending August 30th, 2013:  Any entries submitted after August 30th of 2013 will not be accepted. Winners will be announced on Facebook and also here at Cowboys and Chuckwagon Cooking.  
1. Only one entry per person.
2. Entry must be a recipe using cornmeal in any manner in which the entry has been cooked by the contestant.  If a person is under 18 years of age, the entry may be submitted by the legal guardian/parent in care of the youths name indicating the recipe is submitted legally in behalf of a minor child. 
3. The contestant must cook the item in cast iron cookware and are encourage to cook the dish outdoors just as the cooks along the cattle drives. 
4. The entry must include a photo of the item being cooked, and finish along with the recipe. 
5. Participation is open to all USA. 
Good luck to all those submissions and again, thanks to Becky Switzer of Ridin Rank Wild Rags and Lesley Kershaw Tennessen for providing such wonderful prizes.  About the prizes:   
Wild Rag like a bandana is a scarf worn around the neck of cowboys and cowgirls to protect them from the elements of weather. Warm during winter, protection against  the sun, wind or dust, they have been designed both for work and fashion. Wild rags come in a wide variety of colors, sizes, and fabrics. Silk is a popular fabric choice because of its light weight, softness, good looks, and other qualities but are also made in fabrics such as cotton. First place winner will receive a pair of wild rags, color, size and design will be by the choice of the provider sponsored by Ridin rank Wild Rags.
Cook Book
Second place winner will receive the cook book, Field Guide to dutch Oven Cooking, from novice to champion.  Written by the International Dutch Oven Society, the book is compiled with great recipes, many of which can be traced back to the early settlers and cowboys who often cooked in Dutch ovens. There are dishes to challenge the most experienced outdoor cooks as well as tried-and-true recipes for folks preparing their first Dutch oven meal. Republished in 2002 by Lodge Manufacturing, this award is being sponsored by Dutch Oven Diva

History of Corn: As beef was a major staple in need to northern states following the civil war, cornmeal was a major staple feeding the cowboy along many of the cattle drives and early pioneers who headed out west.  As the cattle drives where winding down by 1880, the United States grew over 62 million acres of corn.

According too Lance Gibson and Garren Benson, Iowa State University, Department of Agronomy, corn was the most important cultivated plant in ancient times in America. Early North American expeditions show that the corn‑growing area ex­tended from southern North Dakota and both sides of the lower St. Lawrence Valley southward to northern Argentina and Chile. It extended west­ward to the middle of Kansas and Nebraska, and an important lobe of the Mexican area extended northward to Arizona, New Mexico and southern Colorado. It was also an important crop in the high valleys of the Andes in South America.

Although corn is indigenous to the western hemisphere, its exact birthplace is far less certain. Archeological evidence of corn's early presence in the western hemisphere was identified from corn pollen grain considered to be 80,000 years old obtained from drill cores 200 feet below Mexico City. Another archeological study of the bat caves in New Mexico revealed corncobs that were 5,600 years old by radiocarbon determination. Most historians believe corn was domesticated in the Tehuacan Valley of Mexico. The original wild form has long been extinct.

As Columbus landed on the small island of Cuba in 1492, his findings of this corp would be returned to Europe were it was soon recognized as a valuable food crop. It spread throughout France, Italy, and all of southeastern Europe and northern Africa.  By 1575, it was making its way into western China, the Philippines and the East Indies.

Although, as immigration flowed to north America, the crop was already popular among native American Indians who created a variety of dishes and means of preparing the corn from cooking it directly on the cob, to drying the kennels, removing and crushing into maze for making an array of bread type foods.

Today, corn often grown to fed livestock is also used to create cooking oils, corn sugars, bio fuels as well the many ways to use and cook corn for meals just as the early natives have done for thousands of years. As each entry is received, we will add the recipe and photos at Cowboys and Chuckwagon Cooking.

Contest Submissions
Entry (1)
Pork Roast with Cornmeal Dumplings by Joni Hutton
Pork Roast Recipe:
Slow simmer a pork roast until tender, reserving broth to cook dumplings. You may also cook a pot of greens and use that broth to cook the dumplings.

Dumpling Recipe:
1 ½ Cups Yellow Cornmeal
½ Cup All Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Ground Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes (to taste)
A small pan of Boiling Water

Bring broth from roast or greens to a boil. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl until combined. Add enough boiling water to bring the dough together so that you have a moist dough that holds together. With wet hands, scoop up enough dough to make a dumpling and pat it out into small patty. Carefully drop the patties into the boiling broth and cook at a slow boil for 20 minutes until done. The boiling water added to the dry mix helps to cook the dumpling before adding it to the broth. Wetting your hands helps to keep the dough from sticking to them as you pat them out. They are quite warm after adding the boiling water.
Frying Cornmeal Dumplings by Joni Hutton
Corn Bread Pie by Jeff Smith
Entry (2)
1 cup butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 can(4 oz) green chilies
1 can (16 0z) creamed corn
1cup chedder/jack mix cheese
1 cup flour
1 cup corn meal
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt( I omit this and use salted butter)
Preheat oven and Pans 350, place a pat of butter into pan to melt while preheating, cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time mixing well, add chilies , cheese, and can of creamed corn mix well.  Sift flour corn meal and baking powder together and add to corn mixture blending well. Put in buttered cast iron pan, Bake at 325 for 1 hour or untill a toothpick comes out clean.
Note: I used 2 #6 skillets as some wanted Jalapenos and some didn't. Normally I would use a #12 cast iron Dutch Oven when camping or a #10 skillet. Cooking time will vary a little --just follow the toothpick method to ensure cornbread is baked through. 

Topping can be adjusted to amount of an ingredient use to sooth any taste or other types of ingredients to create different staples such as adding bacon and shrimp toppings with your favorite Cajun spices for a Cajun treat style Cornbread Pie. 
Toothpick Test:  When cooking with cornmeal, to check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cook cornmeal item. When removing, inspect the toothpick an see if it is free of batter.  If any batter sticks to the toothpick, continue cooking.  
Cornbread Pie before ready for the oven, by Jeff Smith

Kinky Friedmann Brisket served over Jalapeno Cheese polenta
Entry by John Homrighausen or also spelled H'ausen of J Bar H Catering.  John is an amazing chef creating delicious meals servicing the Houston area residing in Cypress, Texas. His web page is filled with interesting stories, great food and a personality as grand as Texas. 
This polenta is one of our favorites and works nicely with my Kinky Friedmann Brisket. He doesn't know we call it that, but I am certain he'd be proud of it.

Olive oil (to sauté)
2 cups chopped onions
1-2 jalapeños minced (to taste)
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
1tsp coarse ground pepper
1/2 stick butter
1.5 cups coarse cornmeal
1 cup cheddar or pepperjack cheese

* Get your 8" cast iron chicken fryer over a mess of hot coals. Once it is hot add a tablespoon
or so of olive oil. If it immediately spreads out and starts looking wavy you are ready to cook.
* Add the onions and peppers and sauté until the just start to take on a bit of color.
* Add the stock, milk, salt & pepper & butter and bring to a boil.
* Move the fryer off the heat a little until the liquid rolls down to a simmer
* Whisk the cornmeal in gradually until it is all incorporated.
* Once the cornmeal is incorporated, continue to stir slowly with a wooden spoon until it begins to turn thick & creamy, about 10 minutes. (There has been much debate over whether or not the kind of spoon makes a difference in the finished product and without a doubt, you will get a creamier, better tasting Polenta with a wooden spoon.)
* ALTERNATE METHOD: Once cornmeal has been incorporated, reduce the heat under the fryer, put the lid on and add 11 coals to the top. (looking for about 350 degrees.) Lift the lid
every 10 minutes and stir, being careful not to get any "camp seasoning" in from the lid. Cook for about 20 minutes or until thick and creamy.
* Serve immediately or move to a wide, flat container, line in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.

This recipe makes 8-10 servings. 
Check out John's web page and see the only approved way to cook great Brisket without a smoker:   Kinky Friedmann Brisket
Entry 4                  Cornbread-Jalapeño-Poppers
Cornbread-Jalapeño-Poppers submitted by Gary Heil
12 Med/Large fresh Jalapenos
1 Box of Cornbread Mix (I used the Honey variety for the sweetness)
1 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar (1 cup for the batter..1/2 cup for sprinkiling)
1 Cup Corn..fresh OR canned is just fine (I drained my corn)
6 slices bacon cooked and chopped.

Slice each jalapeno down the center and carefully remove all the seeds and veins..set aside
In a medium bowl, mix up the Cornbread batter according to the box instructions, add in the Corn and 1 cup of the Cheddar and bacon.
Fill each Jalapeno half with some batter! Eh-hem, don’t over fill them!
Sprinkle them all with the remaining 1/2 cup of Cheddar.
Place them on a baking rack & sheet pan, bake them at 350 for about 15-20 minutes, or until the Cornbread is firm and cooked through. They will be puffed and cheesy too!

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