Do leave Caroline a comment, as she's offering a prize of a $15 gift certificate for the Wild Rose Press. Take it away, Caroline!
My favorite time of year is the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Anticipation builds, preparations become hectic, the air cools, and I’m in the grip of nostalgia. Believe me, I am the world’s greatest sucker for decorations everywhere and tons of presents under the tree! Receiving cards and letters also thrill me, even the annoying bragging letters stuck in with a card. As you can tell by my, ahem, well-rounded figure, special foods are also a big part of tradition at our house. On Christmas Eve, we dine on TexMex foods—tamales, guacamole, tostitos, queso and chili con carne prior to my husband reading the Christmas story from the Book of Luke before we open our presents.
Perhaps anglos eating TexMex food on Christmas Eve sounds odd to anyone who doesn’t live in the Southwest, but this menu is a nice contrast to the sweets and dishes served on Christmas Day. Shhhh! If you promise to keep it to yourself, I’ll share my secret recipe for chili con carne with you. The hero of my latest release, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, prepares this chili for the fandango he hosts for family, friends and neighbors. Isn’t it funny that his recipe is the same as mine?
Dallas McClintock’s Fandango Chili con Carne
From THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE
By Caroline Clemmons
5 lbs. Chili meat or ground beef, or a combination of 4lbs. Beef or Venison and 1 lb. Pork sausage (I use all beef)
1 15 0z. Tomato sauce
1 (15 oz.) can Stewed tomatoes
3 Tspn Chili powder [adjust to taste]
1 tspn. Ground comino [cumin]
1 tspn. Cayenne
1 tspn. Salt
1 tspn. Pepper
1 tspn. Paprika
I medium Onion, chopped
3-5 Garlic cloves, minced [or garlic salt].
¼ cup Brown sugar (my secret ingredient)
Sear meat in a large skillet, pouring off the excess grease as the meat cooks. As meat nears browning, add onions and garlic to let them brown also. Mix the remainder of the ingredients except brown sugar with the meat in a large heavy kettle or dutch oven. Bring to a boil and then quickly reduce the heat to simmer. Stir frequently. As the chili simmers slowly, more fat will reduce out and float to the surface. Skim off this fat each time before you stir the chili. Discard the fat. About fifteen or twenty minutes before serving, add brown sugar. This chili can be cooked in an hour, but the flavor is best if simmered very slowly for two or three hours.
Serve with cornbread or tortillas and pinto beans. Texans do not add beans to the chili con carne while it’s cooking. Chili is a favorite for entertaining at our house, and a special Christmas Eve dish accompanied by tortilla chips, grated cheese, minced spring onions, pinto beans, tamales, cornbread muffins, butter, and honey as well as sometimes serving potato salad and other chilled salads. Chili is one of the first dishes I learned to cook on my own, but this is a much better recipe than my original effort.
In my opinion, Chili Con Carne [usually shortened to Chili] is a traditional Southwest food that has gained popularity throughout the United States. Oh, my, now I am so hungry for a big bowl of chili!
And here's more about Caroline...
As long as I can remember, I've made up adventures. Okay, I admit the early creative stories featured me riding the range with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and saving the West. What a disappointment to learn that Roy was exclusively committed to Dale! Eventually, my best friend from across the street and I decided to become better detectives than Nancy Drew. We drove our parents and neighbors crazy sticking our pert little noses where they didn't belong. About that time I started writing down my adventures, but mostly I was a reader. Not until I read Nora Roberts' early novels did I decide to create my own romance manuscripts. My road to publishing was a lot slower than Nora's was. No surprise there! I still read Nora's books—as well as those of countless other authors—but now I write full time. Unless life interferes, that is.
My Hero and I live on a small acreage in the ranching and horse country of North Central Texas. Hero and our two grown daughters are supportive of my writing. Living with Hero and me now are Webster, our sweet black Shih Tzu, and our two shorthaired cats: Sebastian, a large black and white tuxedo who thinks he's our watchcat; and Bailey Erin, a shy apricot tabby. When I'm not writing, I love spending time with family, reading, traveling with Hero, browsing antique malls, and digging into family history and genealogy. Writing about strong heroes and heroines who overcome amazing obstacles to forge a meaningful life together is my passion.
Readers may check my website at http://www.carolineclemmons.com/ for additional recipes, reviews, and excerpts of my books. Please check my blog at http://carolineclemmons.blogspot.com/ and sign up on the sidebar for my Mostly Monthly Newsletter that includes an exclusive free read each month, recipes, and news. I love hearing from readers and other writers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, a western historical romance set in 1885:
Texas rancher Dallas McClintock has no plans to wed for several years. Right now, he’s trying to establish himself as a successful horse breeder. Severely wounded rescuing Cenora from kidnappers, Dallas is taken to her family’s wagon to be tended. He is trapped into marrying Cenora, but he is not a man who goes back on his word. His wife has a silly superstition for everything, but passion-filled nights with her make up for everything. Ah, but what is he to do with a wife and her wild Irish family?
Excerpt: G rated from THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE:
Dallas raised his gaze where Aoife directed. Four girls danced, but only one drew his attention. Shoulders straight and feet flying, Cenora met his glance, then broke away from the other dancers to perform only a few yards from him.
Catcalls sounded nearby. She ignored them but gave a toss of her head. Her hair had come unbound, and her act sent her fiery hair awhirl. Light from the blazing campfire cast an aura-like radiance around her. Lantern glow overhead reflected her eyes sparked with merriment, challenge, and something mysterious he couldn’t name.
No longer the delicate china doll, her wild beauty called to him, mesmerized him. He visualized her brilliant tresses spread across a pillow, her milky skin bared only for him. His body responded, and savage desire shot through him. Surprised at the depth of his reaction, he wondered if her performance in bed would parallel the unbridled nature of her dance.
Good Lord, could this glorious woman truly be his wife? And if so, heaven help him, what on earth was he to do with her?
The Texan's Irish Bride is available now from The Wild Rose Press Click on the link to purchase.
Sounds like a great book, Caroline, and what a lovely cover! Thank you very much for being my guest today, Caroline, Dying to try your recipe!