Cooking Through Fiction: Boone Crowe's Beef Stew
I learned how to ride a horse when I was young. I’m by no means an expert, but I feel okay about saddling up and taking a ride. I’ve ridden trails through the deserts in Arizona and across mountains (way too close to a ravine) in Montana. At the top of the mountain in Montana, my family and I settled in for a “cowboy dinner.”
While we ate steak and potatoes, I’m not sure how many of us actually felt like cowboys. I think we were just glad to be away from the “ravine of death” and probably thankful we could all stop praying that our horses didn’t plummet down into darkness (a.k.a. the ravine of death).
I’ll leave the cowboy’ing up to the real deals, like Boone Crowe. I started my Marshal Boone Crowe adventures with Dead Woman Creek, and now I’m pretty sure I’m an addict, which is why I had to read Buck Edwards’ next installment in the series, Showdown in the Bear Grass.
Marshal Boone Crowe encapsulates what every cowboy and lawman should strive to become. I’m comfortable admitting that he’s one of my heroes.
“Bigelow was about to protest further, but just then Teddy came through the door holding a tray with two steaming bowls of stew and ample wedges of johnnycake. Their plans made, both lawmen lost interest in everything except the food before them.” (Chapter 8, Showdown in the Bear Grass by Buck Edwards.)
Boone Crowe Beef Stew
Serves: a posse of cowboys
Difficulty Level: easy enough for a greenhorn
2 lbs cubed beef stew meat
3 tbsp vegetable oil
4 cubes beef bouillon, crumbled
4 c water
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried parsley
½ tsp ground black pepper
3 large baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
4 carrots, cut into 1' pieces
4 stalks celery, cut into 1' pieces
1 large onion, chopped
5 tsp cornstarch
5 tsp cold water
How to Make
In a large pot or Dutch oven, cook beef in oil over medium heat until brown.
Dissolve bouillon cubes in water and pour into pot.
Stir in rosemary, parsley, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour.
Stir potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion into the pot.
Dissolve cornstarch in 5 teaspoons cold water, and stir into stew.
Cover and simmer 3 hours or until desired tenderness of vegetables is reached.
Serves: 6-8 cakes
Difficulty Level: easier than throwing a horseshoe
1 c white cornmeal (I used blue cornmeal because that’s all I had.) ¾ tsp salt 1 c water ½ c milk bacon drippings or 3 tbsp oil
How to Make
In a medium bowl, stir together cornmeal and salt.
In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring water to a rapid boil; remove from heat. With the saucepan in one hand, let the boiling water dribble onto the cornmeal, while stirring constantly with the other hand. Then stir the milk into the mixture (it will be fairly thick, but not runny).
Generously grease a large, heavy frying pan (I use my cast-iron pan) with the bacon drippings or oil and heat. When pan is hot, drop the batter by spoonfuls.
Flatten the batter with a spatula to a thickness of approximately ¼ inch. Fry until golden brown, turn, and brown on the other side (adding more bacon drippings as needed).
Serve hot with butter, maple syrup, or applesauce.
Dead Woman Creek: Boone Crowe’s Buttermilk Biscuits