I’ve dreamt of following a chuckwagon on horseback across wide- open country. There’s something so appealing about the old west- camping under the stars, exploring new lands, riding all day, and eating dutch-oven dishes cooked over a campfire. I know this is all very romanticized. In reality, the pioneers and cowboys faced harsh weather conditions, rugged terrain that makes you wonder how a wooden wagon wheel ever survived, the threat of Indian attacks, and much more.
Maybe this is what makes chuckwagons so nostalgic; a true representation of the American West, a part of our history.
I wanted to get out of the kitchen and really connect Southern Fried Skinnyfied to authentic cowboy-style dishes and the horse. The significance of the chuckwagon and it’s aid in cowboys’ survival as they drove cattle across the land was the perfect fit!
I invited Terry Chandler, owner of Fred’s Texas Café in Fort Worth, along with his century old restored chuckwagon out to the ranch to cook up a cowboy-style meal. Terry, also known as the wagon’s “Cookie,” and his crew, with teepees in tow, camped out for the night and started the fire pit before sunrise! They cooked themselves a delicious breakfast complete with percolated coffee, and then it was time to start filming. Terry changed out of his hippie surfer attire into his rugged old timey cowboy flare, complete with a large feather in his hat. He is an awesome character!
Terry knows I am passionate about nutrition and brought his healthiest cowboy-style recipes to the table. These double as jockey-style dishes with a few small tweaks I made to some of the ingredients!
Come and Get It!
1 lb ground beef (I like 96% lean or grass fed)
8-10 yukon gold potatoes diced
6 large carrots peeled and diced
1 onion chopped finely
2 cloves minced garlic
1 T olive oil
2 T chili powder
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
1 T cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large Dutch oven
Sautee onions in oil for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook until onion is translucent. Stir often to keep the garlic from browning too much.
Add the meat, thyme, and bay leaf. Cook until meat is browned thoroughly.
Add the cumin and chili powder
Add the carrots and potatoes and cover with water.
Season with salt and pepper
Cook about 45 minutes until potato is tender.
6-8 ears of corn on the cob
½ stick grass fed butter
1 jalapeno chopped (deseeded if desired)
1 T chili powder
Juice from 1-2 limes
2 T mayonnaise* or plain greek yogurt
¼ cup cotija cheese or parmesan cheese
*To make your own mayonnaise
Grill dehusked and silked corn on the cob making sure to get some charred spots on the corn
Cut corn off the cob
Melt butter in a skillet
Add corn to the skillet
Add jalapeno and chili powder and cook, stirring often for about a minute or two
Stir in the mayonnaise
Remove from heat and squeeze lime juice on the corn
Top with cotija cheese
2 ½ cups dried pinto beans
1 onion diced
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 smoked ham hock
3 tomatoes chopped or 1 can rotel
1-2 T Red Chili Powder * or to taste
1 tsp ground cumin
1 T olive oil
2 jalapenos deseeded and chopped
¼ cup sugar or honey
salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven
Add onion, tomato, garlic and jalapeno. Sautee for about 5 minutes, stirring often
Add about 7 cups of water, ham hock, sugar, chili powder, and cumin
Add beans and bring to a boil
Cover, turn down heat and let simmer 3-4 hours until beans are done. Check water levels and if the beans look dry add more water.
Stir in salt and pepper
Top with cilantro