Cowgirl Up

by | Jun 3, 2011 | Beef, Entertaining

June happens to be Western Heritage Month here in Livermore, kicking off tonight as the CattleWomen present cowboy entertainer Dave Stamey. The big guns come out tomorrow with Downtown Livermore’s Chili Shooters Stampede, a chili cookoff between downtown Livermore restaurants where you are guaranteed to have a rootin’ tootin’ good time!!

Each of the restaurants come up with a personal culinary or ethnic twist on classic chili. Last year was the event launch, and a couple of the ethnic restaurants understood “chili” to be chili sauce, and were serving up their finest, and of course, blistering, chili sauce! Our station was just a couple doors down, and a few of the chili tasters came in with fried palates and tears in their eyes! We had lemonade to help cool their tonsils before they tasted the Cookin’ Cowgirls chili, we were serving our Granny’s Cowboy Beans recipe. It was the first time I had to convert a recipe to 8 times over, using an excel spreadsheet, as we had to cook for about 250 expected chili judges.

Some of this year’s contenders include: Habenero Heaven Chili, Calabrese Chili (at the just-opened Milano Joe’s, who also happen to own El Charro!), Casbah’s Rockin’ Chili, Mediterranean Greek Chili, Sansar’s Spicy Chili made with Lamb and Chicken, Zephyr’s Sideways Chili, and many more. Round up your posse, pull on your Wranglers (unfortunately mine don’t fit anymore) and head downtown between 11am and 4pm to pick up your commemorative shot glass at the flagpole and cast a vote for your favorite chili!

Since none of the Cookin’ Cowgirls had the fortitude to enter again (it involves a County Health Permit), and rodeo weekend is right around the corner, we thought it was an appropriate time to share Granny’s Cowboy Bean Recipe. During round-up season she used to make a large batch of the beans, wrap it up tight in a big pot for the windy drive up Mines Road to the Circle H Ranch, and head way back up into the hills to feed the hungry cowboys. The recipe has become a mainstay in our house, and a family favorite, even when we aren’t wearin’ our chaps and spurs!

Gladys, Grace and Granny on the Circle H Ranch


  • 1½ pounds ground beef
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 or 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans kidney beans
  • 1 quart stewed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Dash chili powder (optional)

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the beef, bell pepper, onion, and celery. Transfer the beef and sautéed vegetables into a large pot. Add the kidney beans and tomatoes, and season to taste with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours or until the beans are cooked and the flavors have melded. Serves 8 (or 4 hungry cowboys!).

Cowgirl up!!  Nancy