With the first signs of fall coming a little early this year in Texas, it seems chili was on everyone’s mind this past week, as the grocery store in my town was sold out of stew meat and chili ground. All of this turns out to be really great timing due to some fun things happening in Texana’s Kitchen this week. And for you, my readers, a chance to score some swag…If you need the English translation, that means “win some prizes”.
I and three of my fellow Texas food bloggers, who I am proud to call friends, are having a virtual recipe cookoff from October 15th– October 26th. That’s right—I’m throwin’ down with my homies. There will be smack talking, trash talking, and back sassing. It’s part of the creative process—just go with me on this.
The secret ingredient in everyone’s basket? DAD’s Chili Mix. Here’s a little ditty about Dad’s:
This article was written in 2008 in Country World magazine
WINNSBORO – As temperatures and leaves continue to fall Texans know winter – and chili season has arrived. They also know nothing’ warms a body better than a big steamin’ bowl of red.
Lyndi McCulloch of Winnsboro is somewhat of an expert on the official state food of Texas: Her dad, Don Oxford, is the creator of Dad’s Chili.
“My dad was a dentist (now deceased) and his hobby on weekends was going to chili cook-offs,” McCulloch said. “Then he started winning all of them and thought he really had something really great there.”
McCulloch said “Dox” chili, as it was first called, was an immediate hit among family and friends.
One particular friend sent a letter to Oxford raving over his chili and thanking him for sending it. That friend was former first lady Barbara Bush. McCulloch, who now runs the chili business, still keeps the letter framed and on display in her shop in downtown Winnsboro.
Weekend cook-offs and holiday gifts eventually gave birth to the idea of marketing the Dox chili, named after Oxford’s ranch where McCulloch grew up.
“A few years ago, I said ‘Dad, everyone really loves your product. You need to bring it out on the market,” recalled McCulloch. Oxford agreed.
They started by taking a picture of Oxford and making a caricature, which still serves as the company’s logo. “We call everything ‘Dad’s’ something since it was his recipe,” McCulloch said.
“The recipe is easy,” McCulloch said of the ease of making a batch of Dad’s chili. “Prep to serving is only 45 minutes and tastes like you’ve been cooking all day long.”
The mix calls for a meat such as ground beef or turkey and broth. McCulloch urges customers to experiment with the chili recipe by using chicken or venison for a unique taste.
“Deer hunters around here come in and get it just so they can have it for their deer meat,” added McCulloch. A few simple variations make no two batches identical and personalized for the cook.
“You can make it very healthy or you can get the greasiest meat you want,” she said with a laugh.
The versatility of Dad’s chili is a big crowd pleaser. Not only can the cook choose the meat and broth but Dad’s chili doesn’t come in a hot or mild varieties – that is left up to the chef.
“People come in and ask if (we) have a mild or a hot chili. We have only one version. But,” McCulloch said, “you can make it as hot as you want by adding cayenne or other spices.”
The first time McCulloch served the chili in her store was Labor Day weekend
2006. “I sold over 10 cases of chili. It was so hot outside, but I guess it doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold!”.
McCulloch said the mix contains absolutely no salt or MSG (mono-sodium glutamate).
When you read these recipes and become enthralled and starving to try them—that’s not if, that’s when—you can visit the DAD’s Chili Mix website and order some of their mix. They are offering a 25% discount to our readers for this promotion.
Order Here, using discount code DA1221 at checkout. Valid 10-15-2012 to 10-27-2012.
If you find yourself saying right now “I don’t want to ask ‘what’s in it for me’, but what IS in it for me?”, then I have your WIFM: you can win a Nordic Ware 6.5 quart dutch oven, as seen below.
Here’s how to play: review my recipe below, and then visit the other blogger’s pages and view their recipes. When you have figured out which recipe you like best (mine, for example), simply click on the link at the bottom of the page to cast your vote, and to enter the Nordic Ware giveaway! Easy peasy, chili cheesy.
Also, one lucky follower will win 6 boxes of Dad’s Chili Mix. If you are already subscribed to my blog, leave a comment that says so, and tell me what you would make with the chili mix if you win it! But if you aren’t a subscriber yet, sign up before October 26th for a chance to win. And then leave a comment telling me what you would make! And if you’re following along, that’s a total of four chances to win, if you follow the other three as well.
Let The Smack-Down Commence!!
We have been challenged to come up with recipes using DAD’s Chili Mix. But being the obsessed, competitive, culinary geniuses that we are, none of us actually made chili! Go figure. I think it’s because we all know that there is only one Best Chili Recipe on The Planet—and we all claim it is ours!! What that means for all of you, is that you will be seeing some truly creative, maybe even mind-bending uses of chili mix. For the Savour Texas group, it means that we will have once again fulfilled our purpose in expanding your culinary horizons, and made you see something familiar in a whole new way! BONUS!
Even though Adam, Jen and Jason are my hermanos/hermana, I am not hesitant to kick some virtual booty, smack them down, beat them like red-headed step children. So, let’s mozy on over to their respective sites to check out the competition, and let he smack talking begin….
Griffin’s Grub—Jason Griffin is a grill master….I am jealous of his Big Green Egg, but it will not impact the end result of this Throwdown. He’s going down like a lead balloon.
Juanita’s Cocina—Jen Martinez is a hoot, the Maven of Tex-Mex—and the only estrogen support I get in this group. When my website grows up, it wants to be like hers. But she is getting ready to eat my dust.
The Unorthodox Epicure—Adam Holland possesses the snarky wit of a genius, and the culinary prowess of a seasoned chef. He always brings his “A” game. But he better bring the rest of the alphabet too, because I plan on handing his fanny to him on a platter!
Okay, okay….See. They’re good. Really, really good. (You did take the time to subscribe to them while you were visiting, right)
So, Now It’s on like Donkey Kong
I have to admit, I can be indecisive. When it comes to the tradition and essence of my homeland (Texas), I want to show you so many new things you can do with familiar flavors. So if you put chili seasoning in my hand, you may get back a steaming bowl of Texas Red. But you are just as likely to get back a Chili Mango Margarita, a Bloody Maria, or a Chocolate, Chili, and Stout Cupcake.
As I began experimenting with DAD’s Chili Mix, a few of the things that sprang up in my kitchen were:
- Sweet Potato and Pork Stew
- Calabeza con Pollo—a new riff on the traditional–this one made with poblano chicken sausage, winter squashes, and roasted red bell peppers.
- Chili Crusted Grilled Salmon with Corn and Ranchero Bean Salsa
They were all delicious, but my favorite two turned into a single meal that we have repeated twice already. I hope you enjoy.
Chili Roasted Crabs, Steamed in Pumpkin Ale
Makes 4 appetizer servings
- 2 pounds of crab clusters (I used Dungeness and king crab legs, but use what you have available—stone crab claws would work also)
- ½ cup DAD’s Chili Mix
- 1 T salt
- 1 stick butter
- 1 bottle Pumpkin Ale
Place crab and DAD’s Chili Mix in a large zip top bag. Shake to coat the crab.
Heat butter and over medium high heat in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the crab, and cook for a few minutes on all sides, so that the crab turns red. Pour in the ale, and cover the pan. Allow to steam for 5 minutes. Remove the lid, and remove crab to a serving platter. Allow the beer to cook down a bit, and then pour the beer/chili/butter mixture over the crab. Serve with many, many napkins and plenty of good beer.
Now for the main event………………………
Ropa Vieja With Charred Pineapple Tequila Salsa
–In Spanish, Ropa Vieja means “old clothes”, or “rags”. An apt name for this tasty dish, which is meat shredded in a spicy sauce.
- 3-4 pound beef chuck tender roast
- Salt and pepper
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 sliced red bell peppers
- ½ cup DAD’s Chili Mix
- Juice of 3 oranges
- Juice of 2 limes
- ½ cup water
- Corn or flour tortillas; OR
- Garlic Rice—I use the Coastal Mexican Rice, found HERE
- Charred Pineapple Tequila Salsa (See below)
Salt and pepper the roast on all sides. Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add roast to pan, and sear well on all sides. Get a nice brown crust.
Either: set your crock pot on high, or heat your oven to 250*
Add meat and remaining ingredients to your crock pot (or Dutch oven), and cover. Cook for 6 hours.
Remove meat to a platter, and shred with a couple of forks. Return to the sauce, and stir to mix thoroughly. Serve over rice, or on tortillas, topped with the salsa.
Charred Pineapple Tequila Salsa
- 1 fresh ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced into thin rings
- 2 large fresh jalapenos
- 1 medium-sized red onion, minced
- 1 cup cilantro, minced
- Juice of 2 limes
- juice of one orange
- ¼ cup tequila
- ½ teaspoon salt
Spray pineapple rings and jalapenos with cooking spray. Either over a hot grill, or in a hot cast iron skillet, roast the pineapple and jalapenos until a slight char develops. Repeat on all sides. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Chop the pineapple and jalapenos, and mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside until ready to use.