Beef-Cabbage-Potato Stew, Southern Cornbread, and the World’s Best Chocolate Mocha Cake

  This is no place for vegetarians, people from Connecticut, people on the Adkins Diet,  or in general people who have forsaken trans-fat.  The rest of you stay.  I am about to make you very happy.  This creation is inspired by my friend Ronni’s recent discovery of “chipotle-cinnamon” seasoning that her mother found at Walmart.   I’m very discouraged by trying to post recipes on this blog because I can’t figure out an easy way to do it.  If I take the time to type the recipe into “Word” ,  this program won’t let me copy and paste it directly into the post.   I’m not  a techie so I’m not sure about a URL address for it.   Any experts willing to help?  Until then,  here’s what I basically did.   It’s better to make this soup-stew-chili when you have left over roast meat of some kind.   You can do it without it though.   Saute an onion and about 1/3 of a head of caggage (chopped coarsely) in some olive oil.   When those are starting to carmelize,  add about a pound of ground beef,  salt to taste, and minced garlic (1-2T).   While this is cooking,  parboil (boil until almost tender)  about a half a bag of baby carrots (whole) and 6-7 red or yellow potatoes, skin on, chopped into quarters.  Salt the water liberally.   Then add 3 cans of stewed or diced tomatoes,  the cooked potatoes and carrots,  1 can of tomato paste,  3T garlic-herb seasoning (I get mine from Sam’s),  2-3T chipotle-cinnamon seasoning (to taste),  any left over roast meat you have,  hot sauce to taste,  and a good amount (~2T. ) of honey.  FYI-  I add honey to everything I make.   Reseason with salt and pepper.  Let simmer for a while, the longer the better…an hour or more….then enjoy!   This is an AWESOME football/autumn day dish.   Wonderful balance of flavors with all the veggies….even the kids ate their carrots without needing ranch dip!
You can’t make a good southern stew without some good southern cornbread.  You healthnuts need to skip over this section.  It’s rated X (nutritionally speaking).   This recipe was handed down from my “mamaw”  to my aunt and then to Jamie Knoxville who has coached me through it in person.   The reason you need coaching is because of the sheer amount of oil in it.   So here goes:    2 cups cornmeal-the highly processed kind–Three Rivers or something like that,  1 c. buttermilk,  and a  very large amount of oil.   When I first made this with Jamie she said, ” add a 1/2 cup then close your eyes and pour some more in.   Don’t measure it ’cause then you won’t eat it.”  Wait though,  I’m not finished with the oil.   Pour a’ good amount’ –no I’m not sure what that means either–of oil into an iron skillet and put the skillet into a 450 degree oven until the oil is scorching hot.  Then,  add the oil-laden mixture into the oil and bake until golden brown,  ~15 minutes.   Let’s face it,  this is more like a pancake or corn cake.   But it is fantastic to eat and goes great with above stew.  As you can tell from the picture,  dirty paws can’t stay out of it.
I saved the best for last,  but don’t skip the first two.   I have to say that I have fond, vivid memories of the first time I was introduced to this cake.  It’s by far the best cake I’ve ever had. I make it 3 or 4 times a year and my family is always curious who it’s being made for….translated “are we going to get any of it”.   I love making it, eating it, sharing it….I love everything about it. The recipe was originally given to me by a neighbor who has long since moved.   I can’t even remember her last name but the cake legacy lives on.   The recipe, which needs to be given precisely, is too long to post,  so anyone who wants it,  just email me with your address and I’ll mail it to you.   That’s how committed I am to this cake,  to its’ preservation and propagation!   Ya’ll enjoy!

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