Steve Rambam, and the Kinkster in a fetching pinny.
Kinky Friedman has tried his hand at many things: Jewish cowboy country singer, murder mystery auteur, candidate to the governorship of Texas, and now, in association with his friend journalist Mike McGovern, cookery author. In all of these he has excelled, as you will be able to judge for yourself if you try Steve Rambam’s Jailhouse Chili (a firm favourite in our household)
EXTRACT FROM: Mike McGovern 1999 Eat, Drink and Be Kinky: A Feast of Wit and Wisdom for Fans of Kinky Friedman. London: Faber and Faber, p 3, 125.
[From Kinky's introduction to the book] As a famous homosexual once said, “Every time my friends succeed I die a little”. Happily, this is not the case with my friend Mike McGovern’s new killer bee cookbook, Eat, Drink and be Kinky, upon the puissant pages of which millions of Americans will soon be spilling extremely tasty pasta sauce. McGovern’s not only my favourite Irish poet, he’s also one hell ofa chef. This is especially true when he’s not cookin’ on another planet.
I also believe this book may provide some long overdue remedies to the spiritual malaise that has overcome America since chain restaurants have turned us all into chain people. The work you are about to read is far more than a cookbook. Eat, Drink and be Kinky will have a broad, engaging appeal not only to serious gourmands but also to alcoholics and sex perverts as well. In fact, I think of this book as a sort of culinary version of James Joyce’s Ulysses. McGovern’s masterwork, to my mind, compares quite favourably with Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. For one thing, it’s shorter. For another, it’s funnier. If, indeed, a recipe book can ever be said to be funny. I certainly hope it’s funnier than this introduction.…
Steve Rambam’s Jailhouse Chili
Serves 3 or 4 felons
Equipment needed: hot plate
3 or 4 pounds of beef, chopped or ground, or whatever ground meat is available, turkey or chicken
1 or 2 beers, bottles or cans (12 oz each)
¼ cup canola or other vegetable oil
1 or 2 onions, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced, or 1 tablespoon garlic powder
2-4 jalapeno chili peppers or 2 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp dried oregano or 3 tbsp chopped fresh
2 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1 or 2 tbsp paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 cans of pinto beans.
- Trim the beef of fat, and cut into thumb sized pieces. If you don’t have any thumbs, use your neighbour’s for measuring purposes.
- Marinate the beef in the beer for at least 2 hours. Do not drink the marinade. If there’s no beer available and no one is willing to risk bringing it in – you can get two weeks in the Hole if caught with alcohol – use any alcoholic beverage, such as homemade applejack, from our nearest in-house brewery. (If Chateau de Bubba brewed up a batch of jack with the usual standbys, such as peaches in heavy syrup, adjust the recipe by adding a few extra jalapenos to help neutralise the sweetness of Bubba’s Peach Jack).
- In a skillet on the hot plate, brown the beef on all sides in the oil. If the meat was gray when you started, try for new meat and start over. Some jailhouse cooks, especially in Texas, like to throw in finely chopped onion while browning the meat. Also in New York City’s Metropolitan Correctional Center, some of the old-time Guidos drop in garlic here.
- The appropriate quantities of ingredients will be determined by experimentation, by your personal taste. For mild chili, use 2 jalapeno peppers; for three-alarm chili use 4 jalapenos per pound of meat.
- If a blender is available, put in the peppers and 2 cups of water and puree. If no blender is available, mince the peppers as finely as possible.
- In a large pot, combine the browned meat, pureed peppers, and the marinade. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the hot plate and let cool. Begin adding the spices (cumin, paprika, cayenne) when you like – whether to add oregano and how much is your call. Too much and the chili will taste like marinara sauce. Unless your neighbors, like Vinnie the Hook and No-Knuckles Sal, are expected for dinner, go light on the oregano.
- Return the pot to the hot plate and bring to a boil. Add the bouillon cubes and simmer for 1 hour, or until the meat is tender and the sauce is the consistency you prefer. (If chili is allowed to cool, the fat will rise to the top. If you are a health nut, spoon it off and toss the grease. Frankly, for the best taste, leave it alone. If you want health food, eat a freakin’ salad).(Tomatoes or tomato sauce help to thicken and extend the chili: Way, way down in Texas or in the Deep South, some cooks like to add corn flour to the chili. I think it makes it taste like a burrito. If you’re determined to use this method and you don’t have corn flour, Kellog’s Corn Flakes crushed into powder will do the trick).
- Drain and rinse the pinto beans. Add to pot.
- Remember before eating, always was your hands and say your prayers because God and germs are everywhere. Serve with rice or corn bread or both.