Despite a fear and mistrust of horses I’ve always fancied myself as a Cowgirl ever since I attended a Labour Day Rodeo in Montana years ago which I had assumed beforehand would be duller than Tesco value beans on toast, but it wasn’t, it was brilliant and it had the sort of food I’d describe as a mix up of Country Style/Tex Mex/Mid Western/American, the sort that sticks to your ribs (and unfortunately your thighs). After the Hoedown it was on to The Barbecue Bonanza, I love a good Barbecue at the best of times so a Bonanza version could have only been a good thing, as it was. The memory of the atmosphere of that day still excites me and from then on I became a Cowgirl Wannabe…
The Rodeo I expected to be dull but wasn't, it was brilliant
Fast forward a few years I find myself in India and aspiring to be a Hindu Wannabe. (A conflict of tastebuds if ever there was one) How could the Tex Mex Munching Minx and Barbecue Bonanza Chowgirl adapt to the mainly vegetarian and mainly beef free Hindu land? Well the truth is she didn’t, she just adapted and fused (I know, I know, the dreaded Fusion thing again).
So one day whilst we were driving through the mainly vegetarian and mainly beef free Hindu land I saw a sign that said Barbecue. Squealing with joy and delight I insisted we dropped in and went into an immediate rapture with thoughts of the meaty treats it would provide…..
Barbecue? Really?? Are you sure???
When will I ever learn?
So as ever I (trust me, really do never learn) went hungry, went home and cooked something myself proving the old adage “If you want something doing properly… well you know the rest”
But the cravings continued, nay intensified, so I set to work on creating my very own Cowgirl (& Indian) Cookout, having been inspired by a restaurant at the end of the universe (well my universe anyways) called Cowboys & Turbans whom apparently serve 'Indian Food with a Mexican Street vibe'. In our house that equation reads
Cowboys + Turbans = Nirvana.
Theoretically Tex/Mexican and Indian food should just *fuse (*apologies) effortlessly as there are so many dishes and ingredients that marry the two styles, throw in some traditional home on the range food and you’ve got some pretty fine ingredients to tamper with, so tamper I did.
I used left over keema matter curry in burritos, served a few sides of coleslaw and chilli beans (basically you take a tin of baked beans & add hot sauce & chilli flakes to them, Cowboy sides are a doddle)
Then I came up with...
2 chicken thighs, skinned, boned & cut into chunks
marinate them in olive oil & wine with a splash of lime juice + S&P for a good hour
remove from marinade & rub spice mix on - equal parts cumin, coriander, garam masala, tandoori powder & paprika, add
CPTT* *chilli powder to taste (chilli powder taste chart is on Sound Bites)
Peel & cube a couple of medium potatoes & par boil until soft but still firmly in shape
In a large non-stick pan fry off a couple of rashers of chopped bacon (or if you're fancy Pancetta) toss the chicken pieces in seasoned flour & coat well, then add the chicken to the pan to sear.
(a splash of wine helps retain moisture & flavour) Remove bacon & chicken and set aside
Take 1 large red onion, finely dice half and cut the remainder into lengthway chunks
Place the diced onion, on a low heat in the pan with a little oil, sprinkle with salt & let soften (not brown) add 1 tsp each of cumin, coriander, garam, tandoor, paprika & CCTT, stir into the onions then add 1 heaped tsp of garlic & ginger paste, add a splash of liquid (wine, water or stock)
Diced 2-3 tomatoes and add to the pan, add a little more liquid if needed & simmer until the tomatoes breakdown, add a couple of tbsp of thick tomato paste then enough chicken stock (cube is fine) to make a rich tomato gravy
Return the chicken & bacon to the pan and add par boiled potatoes & green pepper. Place in a casserole dish, cover & bake for about 30-40 mins in a medium oven, take out, use your ENT specialist senses (Eyes, Nose & Tongue) adjust seasoning accordingly, add a small can of sweetcorn (alternatively you could always add beans)
Return to the oven (increase heat & remove cover if gravy needs to be thickened) and bake for about another 30 mins, but remember to use you ENT not your timer.
Plate up, top with tortilla chips, grated cheese & or fresh coriander/sour cream/salsa/guacamole/it's your call**
I also served with rice as I tend to ridiculously greedy when it comes to carb portions
**A Cowboy Hat and Bindi are also optional extras