My Mom usually had command of the kitchen. But when it came time to grill outdoors, it was 100% Dad.
Growing up, our brick-walled patio featured a corner grill – something I’m pretty sure was considered a little ahead of its time in the 1960s, when our house was rebuilt. Dad always cooked on charcoal.
When I chose this recipe I realized that I’ve always been a propane gas griller (translation: I’m conveniently lazy). Yet when I saw some of the keywords in Mom’s recipe “hot coals,” “bacon drippings,” “flavor” and “smoke,” I knew what I had to do; I zipped up the street to my local Walmart and purchased a tiny grill for just $15 to ensure that I was preparing the anticuchos the way in which they were intended – with some TLC or “Tender Lovin’ Charcoal!”
Oh yeah, the name.
“Anticuchos” is a bit of a tongue twister, but if you’re a San Antonio native like I am you likely know anticuchos from the annual NIOSA festival where in just 4 nights more than 18,000 anticuchos are sold to festival goers who salivate for this sensationally savory shish kabob dish. You can read more about NIOSA at my Sauerkrat Bend’s Potato Salad Recipe here.
Anticuchos are a uniquely Peruivan dish typically made of beef hearts and grill-basted with a fiery marinade of vinegar and a peppery paste. More modern versions of the dish have expanded to be made from chicken, beef liver and my favorite – beef tenderloin, like Mom’s recipe here.
foodie tips ~
❤ This dish is easy to make but it does require letting the beef marinate overnight … so give yourself some prep-ahead-time. Your tastebuds will thank you later.
❤ You can make anticuchos with just the meat or alternate the skewers with meat, bell peppers and new potatoes – this is how my family made them at home. I remember my Mom and Dad using green bell peppers but adding red, yellow and green only makes the dish more colorful.
❤ Two gifts in one! You only use the bacon drippings (not the bacon) so you can enjoy a bacon snack while you’re outside grilling or save the bacon for another recipe. Hint: nobody saves bacon, so better eat it up before I beat you to it!
❤ Love living life in the spicy lane? My Cousin Julie says she enjoys her anticuchos marinated with Pickapeppa Hot Pepper Sauce.
for the marinade:
1 cup | red wine vinegar
3 cups | water
2-3 | fresh, whole serrano peppers, ends snipped off
to taste | salt
to taste | whole peppercorns
2-3 cloves | garlic
generous pinch | oregano
generous pinch | cumin
2 pounds | cubed beef
5 slices bacon | reserve the bacon drippings
1 | bell pepper, cut into chunks (optional)
8-12 | new potatoes (optional)
8-12 | wooden skewers, soaked in water about 30 minutes before preparation
1 | charcoal grill that’s fired-up and ready to go
1. Combine the first 8 ingredients for the marinade in a blender and blend thoroughly. I couldn’t get my peppercorns to crack (probably because I have a lower-end blender) but they will add some flavor to the marinade nonetheless.
2. Place the cubed beef in a glass dish and cover with the marinade. Marinate several hours or overnight (overnight highly suggested)!
3. Spear the marinated cubed beef with the prepared skewers – and if adding the optional peppers and new potatoes (which is what I did) – alternate the ingredients on the skewers. Continue skewer-ing until you’re all out of ingredients.
4. Add the bacon drippings (to taste) to the remaining marinade then baste the meat while cooking over hot coals until you’re ready to remove them and enjoy.
The bacon drippings add flavor and make the meat smoke. Delicious!
Yield: 8-12 skewers of tasty meat and veggies!
Here’s a scan of the original recipe as penned by my Mom, Betty!
I hope you enjoy this recipe!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
A little more about this dish:
After I safely recovered Mom’s cookbooks in 2011, I was quick to notice one thing missing – recipes from her Mom – Nanny. Nanny was the Grandparent I was closest to and she had a few “home run” recipes like her coconut-fruit (Ambrosia) salad, homemade chicken noodle soup and waffles served hot from the press. What’s not to like there?
I’ve been deeply saddened that Mom didn’t have any of Nanny’s recipes in her own cookbook but I find “the closer to home, the less likely you are to write things down.” This is certainly true with cooking as many of Mom’s favorite recipes were in her head – not on paper – so good luck to us all in documenting our family’s tried and tastefully-true recipes!
My family’s recipe void began changing earlier this spring when I visited Julie, who’s my 1st Cousin and our family’s much loved Matriarch. Julie has a mind like a steel trap, so after blogging my way through almost 100 of Mom’s recipes I decided to dig deeper; a trip to San Antonio with the specific culinary reconnaissance mission of recovering a few family recipes I didn’t have. And recover, I did!
In addition to Julie gifting me Nanny’s Iced Tea recipe, I scored the Grandmother-load of all – Nanny’s Barbecue Sauce Recipe (below) which we’ll get to in a moment. Why, in a moment? Well, for those of you who haven’t read most of Betty’s Cook Nook you may be disappointed to hear that I have the gift of gab which translates quite nicely online as I’m also fast-to-type (so was my Mom, Betty). So if you want a “CliffsNotes” version of this recipe, you best scroll down to this post’s “Foodie Tips” section and continue on. If you want to read a free and fabulous story about family and food, read on!
The Art Of Family Cooking
When creating Betty’s Cook Nook I knew I wanted to weave in family stories along with our recipes because to me, eating goes hand-in-hand with daily living for all of us regardless of geography, culture or perceived socioeconomic status. Celebrating great food and friends was something my parents Betty and Louis absolutely loved to do, so it just felt right to try to honor my Mom’s love for cooking by creating this blog so I could translate her conventional cookbook online for generations to come.
While my storytelling is primarily for my family, I’ve heard from several non-family members – even strangers – who say they love reading the stories so I know the true essence of my effort extends far beyond a handful of my closest family members, maybe even to you! So I want to share a really touching story about something that happened today that directly ties to this recipe in the most fantastic way.
Who Do You Think You Are? (a.k.a. You Are What You Eat!)
For a few years I’ve enjoyed watching the TV series “Who Do You Think You Are.” I’ve seen some incredible stories uncovered through research. Because I lost my parents at a young age I have several family “holes” to fill, so last night after watching Valerie Bertinelli‘s amazing story I finally signed-up for a free 2-week trial at Ancestry.com. No, the folks at Ancestry didn’t pay me to write this post, but they should have. ;)
I was instantly addicted to my family’s online research – I’m quite skilled at online sleuthing, so Ancestry.com fits right up my alley. Within a few hours I had connected over 50 of my family members dating back to 1874. One of the most impressive things I quickly found was the address where my grandparents “Nanny” and “PaPaw” and my Mom “Betty” lived in 1944 thanks to a local city directory listing. Years after I grew-up in San Antonio, lived in Dallas 20 years then moved to Italy and returned to Texas in 2012 I learned they lived just 20 miles from where I live today in Austin, Texas … and I had no clue!
With their home address I was quickly able to find driving directions – even score a recent picture of the house from GoogleMaps.com. The home was a charming stone house, and the more I looked at the online photo I realized it looked strangely similar to one photo among the thousands of family photos that I have. It was well after midnight so I went to bed. At 4am hope and excitement woke me up. I pulled out the family photos and within 10 minutes had found the match for the online photo!
I knew I had to visit the house today. While the Google picture from the front of the street looked relatively the same with just a few modern updates to the carport and entry, I was nervous the house was no more as online records suggested their house had quadrupled in size. Today I bundled-up my two Labs “Boomer” and “Harley” and drove to Nanny’s and Mom’s old neighborhood and was thrilled to find that the house had not been torn down – it was doing just fine – including the two huge oak trees that flanked the 1981 family picture I have of the house (above).
The Way We Were
Standing in front of the house was a bit strange for me. While my feet were 70 years late arriving to the party, I felt an awesome peace; the peace that comes from discovering something special. I pictured the old 1938 stone house with my Mom “Betty” and her Sister “Delores” playing in the yard … then my Grandmother “Nanny”, sticking her head out the screen door to summon her two girls to dinner.
Today, while I may have arrived 70 years late for dinner, I’m able to recreate one of their family favorites thanks to Nanny’s Barbecue Sauce recipe. So can you!
Foodie Tips ~
♥ This sauce works well with chicken, beef or pork. Feel the force!
♥ Julie said my Grandfather Harry would make a basting “sop mop” by wrapping a T-shirt strips around a stick. Feel free to create your own … or use a modern silicon basting brush shown above.
♥ What are those yellow wrappy-things below? They’re lemon cover stretch wraps and you can find them online or at a store near you! They make juicing lemons a seedless, pulp-less pleasure!
♥ A nice side for this dish would be one of my all-time favorites here on BCN – California Potato Salad. It’s that good!
1 cup | shortening
3 | white onions, peeled and quartered
1 | green bell pepper, cut into chunks
4 pieces | celery, cut up
1 can | tomatoes (we used a 14.5 ounce can of diced toms)
1 can | tomato sauce (we used a 15 ounce can of Hunt’s)
½ cup | vinegar
2 cups (or more) | water
1 | lemon, juiced then quartered and everything added, including the peel
3 teaspoons | yellow mustard
¼ cup | catsup
2 teaspoons | chili powder
3 teaspoons | salt
1 teaspoon | fresh cracked black pepper
2 dashes | hot sauce
2 dashes | tobasco
¼ cup (or more) | worcestershire sauce
ii. what to do
1. In a large stock pot simmer everything uncovered until it’s all cooked down and reduced. While the original recipe below says “at least ½ hour,” my Cousin Julie was quick to point out that it takes much longer than noted! I think we simmered everything for about 2 hours, stirring every few minutes.
2. Taste and adjust the sauce as you like, because these measurements aren’t “exactly right!” Gottaloveit.
3. When the sauce is done to your liking, baste the meat on the grill with a sop mop or basting brush. We made sure to heavy-up on the last basting just before removing everything from the grill.
If you want to enjoy this the way Julie said our family did (throw away nothing), save the vegetables and serve them as a side dish for your barbecue meal.
Family Fun Facts ~
♥ The vintage “Fire King” measuring cup above is Betty’s; it has surely measured-up over the years and can probably tell bountiful stories about the families and friends it has fed! I alone can tell more than a few stories. :)
♥ Cousin Julie told me that when they lived in the old stone house my Grandpaw Harry worked at the IRS in Austin; turns out he was too old to enlist for WWII so worked this government job instead. What’s even more impressive is that my Mom (Betty) her Sister (Delores) and Delores’ Daughter Julie (my Cousin who was barely 2 in 1944) also lived in the house. It must have been a lively party of five, indeed! Delores also worked at the IRS which Julie said was “filled with women” as most men were off serving in the war.
♥ Cousin Julie said Nanny and PaPaw (Grandpaw Harry) would hose down the old stone house above in the hot summer days to keep it cool inside; these were days before air conditioning!
♥ Here’s my original scan of Nanny’s BBQ recipe – Cousin Julie said this was Nanny’s recipe penned by Mom’s sister Delores Sutton who is one of the most elegant ladies I ever met. I love her handwriting! The paper? It can tell a story all its own. Click the pic for a bigger view.
Dinah Shore was one class act. Dinah was one of mom’s favorites and her 1950’s variety show paved the way for Oprah (Sorry, O)!
This soup recipe was hand-written in the black cookbook and I chuckled when I saw the note “17 cents/serving… serves 6.” “Nothing much” costs 17 cents these days ~ not even just the tax. But I’m willing to give this recipe a run for my money. It sounds great!
Foodie Side Note ~ I calculated the cost of the soup based on today’s (2011) costs and arrived at a $1.64 per serving cost. While still affordable, that’s an increase of about 900% over the past 60 years!
i. soup ingredients
1 ½ pounds | lean ground beef (or lean turkey)
chopped | fresh parsley
¼ cup | uncooked rice
to taste | salt and pepper
to taste | paprika
handful | flour
8 cups* | water
6 | chopped green onions
3 | chopped carrots
2 cups | fresh tomatoes
½ | chopped green pepper
more | fresh parsley
2 | eggs
1 | juice of lemon
Foodie Tips ~
♥ Based on my preparation, I’m not sure how 50 meatballs would fit into 4 cups of water. I believe this was supposed to be 4 quarts of water (not 4 cups). I even found validation of a derivative of this recipe at Vicki Lawrence’s website (she knew Dinah, too)!
♥ If you refrigerate any leftovers, you can discard any grease that rises to the top, which will be more heart healthy.
1. Mix the ground beef and some chopped parsley, the rice, salt, pepper and paprika. Form into meat balls about 1-to-1 and 1/2″ round, roll each in flour and set aside.
2. To 8 cups boiling water add the onions, carrots, tomatoes and green pepper. Simmer 30 minutes.
3. Gently drop the meat balls into the boiling stock and simmer about 40 minutes, or until rice is done. Don’t have the stock boiling too fast ~ just simmer ~ when adding the meat balls, or they will fall apart. And nobody likes mushy soup!
4. About 5 minutes before the stock is done, add more fresh parsley.
5. When done, beat the eggs with juice of one lemon. Add a little of the hot broth to the eggs so they will not cook too fast. Then slowly add this mixture to the soup. You’re ready for take-off.
A photo of mom’s original recipe below!
A Desperado For Avocado
This recipe held first position in the soups section of mom’s index card file, so undoubtedly it was a favorite. This was the first of mom’s recipes that I made, since I can’t locate the calabacita recipe just yet.
I don’t remember eating any avocados as a child. And despite my mom’s great culinary skills, I remember one night when a pairing of split pea soup and liver arrived in front of me at dinner, which almost ruined my love of green-colored foods (I’ve never liked liver). Hah! Regardless, now in my 40s, I’m a huge fan of avocados, so let’s eat up some avocado soup!
Wait! You didn’t think I’d jump right into the recipe makings without sharing my favorite avocado-inspired commercial with you. Whelp – here you go!
Foodie Tip ~
♥ I couldn’t find “madrilène” – canned or otherwise… even online – so I’m including extra info below for a recipe I found for making the consommé from scratch.
Overall, the avocado soup recipe would be much faster to make if canned madrilène was available. I’ll keep my eyes out for it and post an update here, if I ever find it. I wrote to Pepperidge Farm and they wrote me back saying they no longer made madrilène but I’m including a picture of it (below) that I found online.
i. soup ingredients
1 ½ | avocados
1 pint (2 cups) | sour cream
1 | chicken bouillon cube
10 ounces | water
1 can | madrilène (a tomato-flavored consommé. see recipe below)
to taste | cayenne pepper
to taste | salt
ii. what to do
1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend, until smooth. That’s it! Well, almost…
2. Since you may have trouble finding madrilène, below are the tidbits for how to make it.
6 | large tomatoes, peeled*, cored and diced
2 | green bell peppers, cored, seeded and quartered
1 | leek, trimmed and cut into chunks
4 | egg whites, lightly beaten
8 cups | chicken stock
to taste | salt & pepper
1 | small bunch chives, chopped
2 oz | pimiento, chopped
Foodie Tip ~
♥ For an easy way to remove the tomato peel, boil the tomatoes in water one-at-a-time for 1 minute. Remove tomato and plunge it in a cold water bath. Cut the tomato in ½ and you should be able to easily remove the peel. A presto!
madrilène : what to dos
1. In a large saucepan, add ⅔ of the tomatoes and the green peppers, leek and egg whites. Mix well.
2. Add chicken stock and season to taste with salt & pepper.
3. Place pan over medium-low heat and slowly bring to a boil, 5-10 minutes.
4. Strain the mixture through a sieve or strainer lined with cheesecloth or a linen towel.
5. Discard vegetables and refrigerate consomme until serving time.
6. Just before serving, mix the remaining ⅓ of the diced tomatoes with the chives and pimiento. You now have a garnish for the soup!
* To enjoy the consomme as “full-on” consommé ~ Place 1 or 2 tablespoons of the tomato mixture in the bottom of each soup bowl. Pour chilled consommé over the pimiento mixture and serve at once. The consommé Madrilène should be thick and syrupy, but not “set.”
** To use part of the consommé in Betty’s Avocado Soup recipe (above) ~ Add 1 ½ cups of the consommé into the blender along with a dash of diced tomatoes, chives and pimiento and blend away. You can garnish with more of the tomato mixture (shown above).