In the 1800s, chuck wagon cooking fed countless cowboys on the cattle trails, and nowadays, people are still cooking from them, even if they aren’t herding animals across the state.
Kent Rollins, the Official Chuck Wagon Cook of Oklahoma, runs the Red River Ranch Dutch Oven Cooking Camp to keep these culinary traditions alive, and this year, he published his first cookbook, “A Taste of Cowboy: Ranch Recipes and Tales from the Trail” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30) to document many of his award-winning recipes that he has adapted for an everyday kitchen.
This cornbread reminds me of a corn casserole I like to make at Thanksgiving, but with peppers and sausage. Even though it contains a box of Jiffy mix, it’s a mouth-watering alternative to the dry, bland cornbread you might have encountered before.
Mexican Tres Corn Bake
1 (15-oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8.5-oz.) box Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
Heaping 1/2 cup canned creamed corn
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1 1/2 cups chopped chorizo or spicy link sausage (approximately 7 ounces), cooked
1 cup sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 cup shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch-by-11-inch baking pan.
In a large bowl, combine the kernel corn, Jiffy Mix and creamed corn. Stir in the onion, bell pepper and sausage. Slowly stir in the sour cream, egg, and salt and pepper. Pour half of the mixture into the pan. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the top and then pour the remaining corn mixture over the cheese.
Bake for approximately 50 to 60 minutes, or until the dish springs back slightly to the touch and just begins to brown around the edges. To retain the moisture, be careful not to overcook this dish. It will set up a bit more as it cools.
Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8 to 10.
— From “A Taste of Cowboy: Ranch Recipes and Tales from the Trail” by Kent and Shannon Rollins (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30)