Stillwater Style Spring 2021 - Page 17

Pandemic Grub

By Beau
Simmons Stillwater

Because we ’ re still in a pandemic , I ’ m still making pandemic grub . I haven ’ t eaten inside a restaurant since March 2020 . If you think that makes me more conscientious than you , then yeah , I guess I ’ m just a better person .

I have , however , ordered takeout from most of the local spots , and I want nothing more than my favorite local restaurants to be able to ride out the pandemic and survive .
I also want a block party . I hope we can have some kind of end-of-summer citywide party . Music , booze , food , especially food .
My favorite Stillwater events are all food-based : The Elks Blazathon , a barbecue competition that doubles as a fundraiser ; the Stillwater Public Education Foundation ’ s Taste of Stillwater , a fundraiser that brought a bunch of local restaurants under one roof and , fewer people know about this one – the International Bazaar at OSU - hosted by the International Student Organization , which people showing off the food from their home countries .
We all missed a lot last year , and for a big chuck of this year , but I know I missed the food . And , I ’ ve also missed the potlucks . We haven ’ t been able to do a lot of that . Family reunions , funerals , office parties , weddings , I miss communal food .
I did something about that . Just because I was missing that . I made a casserole , and it wasn ’ t terrible .
I went with the Southwest chicken casserole , which I think most people call a Mexican casserole , but since I don ’ t actually think it ’ s part of Mexican cuisine , and I ’ m close to 90 percent woke , I ’ m going to call it a southwest casserole .
The reason I can ’ t be 100 percent woke , is I still have some prejudices . A few years back I was in Canada on a fishing trip and I saw a roadside barbecue stand . I looked at it , and thought , “ I ’ m not eating barbecue in Canada .” I won ’ t eat barbecue north of Missouri . I just won ’ t .
Canadians call their grills and smokers “ barbecues .” No . Just no . In the words of “ The BBQ Song ” by Rhett and Link ,
“ People not from the South think Barbecue means cookout and that ’ s something they ’ re wrong about . Barbecue is not a verb , and barbecue is not a grill . Barbecue is meat prepared in a very special way which varies depending on where you go .”
I like this dish because all the flavors meld together really well and it doesn ’ t take a scientific mind to make it work . It also doesn ’ t cost a lot to put together .
Southwest Chicken Casserole Ingredients :
• 2-3 pounds De-boned chicken
• 1 can Cream of mushroom soup
• 8 oz Sour Cream
• 1 can Rotel ( Name brand for diced tomatoes and green chillies )
• An extra can of diced green chillies
• 1 tsp of crushed red pepper
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 cups shredded cheese
• 1 bag of tortilla chips , or alternatively corn tortillas
• Optional - Salsa , jalepenos , minced onions
Directions One of the reasons I like this , is so much is really up to your personal palate .
You want to cook the chicken , and you really don ’ t have to retain a lot of fat from the chicken , so it doesn ’ t really matter if you bake it , boil it , grill it or whatever it takes to get it cooked .
Also , because you ’ ve added so many flavors to this , you can use cheaper cuts of dark meat .
Once you ’ ve cooked the chicken , chop it up or shred it pretty well . You don ’ t want to use a food processor , because you want to keep some of the bite .
Let it cool , then place it in a large mixing bowl . You ’ re going to put everything into the bowl with the shredded chicken and mix well .
Place a third of the mixture into the bottom of a casserole dish . Then add a layer of chips , or cooked tortillas . ( Did I mention , if you are using the tortillas , you want to cook them ahead of time ? Well , then do that . They need to be hard but not scorched .) Add the mixture and keep layering until you run out of stuff and the top layer is the mixture .
The top-top layer is going to be shredded cheese . You don ’ t have to add cheese , if you ’ re watching cholesterol or something . It ’ s your life .
Cook this at like 400 degrees for 20 minutes or 350 for 30 , I can ’ t really remember . I wrote this when we were having to conserve energy because of the winter storm , and it feels like looking it up is cheating .
Stillwater Style | SPRING 2021 17