MOST OF US DON’T RIDE the range or rope cattle for a living. But according to food journalist Dotty Griffith, there is a little cowboy in us all. “Being a cowboy… is a way of thinking and acting,” she says. There is a sense of independence that connects ranchers and wranglers to politicians and Wall Street tycoons. These people, scattered throughout every region of the United States, are also linked through culinary tradition.
In her new book, The Contemporary Cowboy Cookbook: Recipes From the Wild West to Wall Street, Griffith explores the spirit of Western cooking and how it has evolved into an urban fare. From real to wannabe, she profiles seven types of cowboys and their cuisine. Included with many of the recipes are tidbits on how the meal developed and the role it plays in the cowboy diet. Also mixed among the recipes are quotes and stories from bonafide cowboys and chefs, giving you a better understanding of how cowboy lifestyles differ.
You’ll notice a significant difference between the Son-of-a-bitch Stew of the genuine roughneck and the Pemmican Consommé with Garden Vegetables enjoyed by society cowboys in the big city. Whatever you’re in the mood for, Griffith provides a variety of recipes, from side dishes and main courses to desserts and snacks, sure to suit your inner cowboy.
Here are some recipes that may whet your whistle:
Batter-fried Salt Pork with Red-eye Gravy
Oyster-stuffed Hot-smoked Quail with Tomatillo Butter Sauce
New Mexico Green Chile Stew
Country Pot Roast with Pan Gravy
Mi Casa Salsa
Southwestern Hot Fudge Sundae
Boots and Suits Cowboys
Pan-sautéed Trout Fillets with Pecan Brown Butter
Smashed Roasted Garlic Potatoes
Chili Cheese Fries
Patty Melt with Grilled Onions
Black Tie and Boots Cowboys
Venison Sauerbraten with Biscuits
Gorditas with Hill Country Cabrito in Wild Turkey Mole