Newton's Cowboy Chow
When I was a kid our family Sunday gatherings consisted of old men talking on the porch, patriarchs gathered around smoking cigars or hand rolled cigarettes – while secretly sipping brown water without the women folk knowing. The men were savoring the evening family reunion meal to come and kitchen smells mixing in the spring Texas air were intoxicating.
I’d make my way to the kitchen and watch our ladies passionately work over dishes and the accent dishes to bring about flavors for all to enjoy. One particular item I came to love was the ladies varying recipes for “Chow- Chow”. Mixed in large bowls it would be garnered into neat mason jars for storage or family gifts for return trips home after our gatherings. Hot to mild, tangy to tart, these Texas Toppings were as varied as the ladies’ personalities, they always adorned a family meal…
“Chow – Chow” was a common term from where I grew up. It was a slang for a topping relish devised of a multitude of herbs, vegetables, peppers, onions, vinegar, jalapenos, combined with natural sweeteners like honey and molasses to kill some of the acidity created in the blending of a variety of ingredients for the topping. If you called it a relish you would no doubt offend those ladies of the house who took great pride in making a “chow-chow”. “It ain’t no relish” – it’s a “chow-chow” and when made properly the added topping gave proteins a kick or heat that the old timers loved to have with any meal.
I have seen it used on many a dish over the years, or sides for eggs, even seen my grandfather once make a “chow –chow” sandwich when one time he made a fold-over stuffed with grandmothers “chow – chow”… The mind is only limited to imagination in its uses, but the taste buds come alive.
I have gone back to the old ways and recreated a purest Texas Chow Chow – Newty’s Cowboy Chow can be used as a staple in your cowboy kitchen as a side on the plate - or flavor enhancer for any dish where you want some old-fashioned love and Texas flavors. Coming soon from my kitchen to yours Mike Newton’s own, Newtsy’s Cowboy Chow.