Food, Wine, Rock & Roll

Part food blog, part jam session

During a recent trip to my in-laws, I watched my mother-in-law prepare a hearty stew for the current group of hunters she had visiting their deer lease.  I came in while she was already half-way through the process, so I didn’t get any information on the full “plan” for her stew.  On the way home, I contemplated the ingredients she was using & an idea for a quick, easy stew started coming to my mind.  I wanted something that was hearty & warm for the cold winter & combined my love of the flavors of the Southwest.  Thus, this recipe was born.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 pkg. Goya Sazon with Coriander & Annatto (orange box)
  • 1 lb. ground beef (venison or buffalo works well, also)
  • 16 oz. 2% milk Velveeta cheese
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 2 7oz. cans chopped green chilies
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans (partially drained)
  • 1 15 oz. can ranch beans  (partially drained)
  • 1/2 15 oz. can whole kernel sweet corn (drained)

Preparation

Taco Meat Preparation

Pre-heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Place ground beef in skillet and sprinkle first seven ingredients over ground beef and mix well.  Brown the beef.

Stew Preparation

In a large stock pot, cut the Velveeta into 1 inch cubes.  Slowly melt over medium heat, stirring constantly.

When the cheese is completely melted, stir in the diced tomatoes and chopped green chilies and increase heat to medium-high.  Cook for 2 minutes.

Add the browned taco meat, black beans, ranch beans, and corn.  Stir well.

Cover and simmer over medium heat for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, and sliced avocados.

Drinks

A spicy, warm, filling stew calls for a beverage that can match it.  For this, I like to go to one of my all time favorite brewing companies: Samuel Adams.  One of the reasons I love this company so much is their seasonal brews.  There is a wide variety of them that change with the seasons and there is always something perfect for whatever mood you are in.  The perfect beer to balance out the spice of this stew is the Winter Lager.  It has a hint of the spices we all connect to the colder months and it matches the richness of the stew.

Music

This is a stew that had a very classic, predictable recipe as my jumping off-point: the basic queso.  But then, it takes a turn & became pure experiment (yet still remained incredibly comforting).  So it would seem only fitting that the perfect album to listen to while making it is one which begins as “familiar” but then turns on you…in a cozy sort of way.  The Tallest Man on Earth’s  (also known as singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson) album, The Wild Hunt first catches the listener with an incredibly familiar sound: Bob Dylan’s reedy voice and finger-picking guitar.  But then, he catches you by surprise by bringing a slightly modern twist to classic folk music.  It is an album that is simultaneously  soothing  and invigorating.


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