Monday, January 30, 2012


Well, the saga continues. We were living in the Bunkhouse. Dreams really do come true. 

Unfortunately, there was no scale in the Bunkhouse. Prickly Pete says that he weighed 185 when we moved in and 215 when we moved out three years later.

I cooked up a storm and he ate everything I cooked. Obviously, I did too. Not much room to move around in there so we didn’t get a lot of exercise after meals.

I did manage to waddle up the driveway to go to work in the real estate office and the store. With three sets of stairs to get from the bottom level to the top level of the store I thought I was getting lots of exercise.

And, we did have to walk up the driveway two times a day to get there. It was up hill. Pant! Pant!!

One of our more rigorous forms of exercise was shoveling snow. Of course, a hearty stew and some homemade bread are called for after such an event.

My favorite Posse Stew story involved a huge snowstorm and the local fire chief.

Waking to being completely snowed in, we didn’t rush out in the morning to check things out. We decided to give the sun a chance to melt the top couple of layers. Let’s eat a big breakfast, have another cup of coffee…put another log on the fire. You get the idea. Not lots of ambition to get to work.

It was so cozy in the Bunkhouse. Getting snowed in is…well…romantic. Sigh.

Whatever the day might bring, we needed something nourishing to eat. Peter had a nice fire going in the woodstove and he made a fresh loaf of Sourdough bread.

I raided the pantry and came up with the ingredients to make a batch of Posse Stew. With the crock pot on simmer and the Bunkhouse fire roaring, we could safely leave for a little while and do something about the snow.

This was the day that Dan stopped by to help us shovel. He had probably already shoveled many driveways and the fire station before he saw us struggling. All the while, we had been sitting by the fire being our fat and happy selves.

Calamity Janet shoveling...Ski and Oso watching.
We invited him to join us for the noon meal to thank him for his help. He graciously accepted and ate what we offered.

Afterwards, he said, “I like Posse Stew. It stays with you for a long time.”

We were not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

Almost certainly, Posse Stew came from the settlement called Round Valley just down the mountain from Greer.

The Apache County Sheriff’s Posse gets around on horseback. They have to go out into the mountains to search for people, they sponsor the annual 4th of July Apache County Rodeo and they ride in parades.

When I was involved in putting on the annual Greer Days event, the Sheriff’s Posse brought their cooking trailer to cook the Sunday morning pancake breakfast. They set up out at Bunch Reservoir, complete with tables, chairs, and the cool, crisp mountain air.

No doubt, the trailer they brought to cook pancakes had seen its share of Posse Stew. Their typical recipe no doubt called for ground beef.

But wild turkey is plentiful in the mountains. Might “cookie” sometimes have used turkey in his Posse Stew? I think so.

Calamity Janet’s Happy and Healthy Posse Stew


3-tablespoons oil
1-pound ground turkey or ground whatever
1-whole chopped onion
1-heaping tablespoon chopped garlic

1-28 ounce can of diced or stewed tomatoes, smashed
2-26 ounce cans (or one 52-ounce can) Ranch Style Beans
1-29 ounce can of Juanita’s Mexican Style Hominy
1-15.25 ounce whole kernel corn
1-7 ¾ ounce can El Pato Salsa de Chile Fresco
2-4 ounce cans of diced green chile.
Salt and pepper


Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large soup pot on medium heat or on the campfire.
When the oil gets hot, add the chopped onion and the chopped garlic.
When the onion and garlic get transparent and look soft, add the ground turkey.
Use a potato masher to mash the turkey so it gets crumbly as it browns.
When the turkey is browned well, add the other ingredients.
Stir it until it bubbles.
If you will be eating within the hour, put a lid on the pot and simmer on the stove until time to eat.
If you will not be going to eat soon, put the stew into a covered crock-pot and simmer on low all day.
If necessary, Posse Stew freezes well.

To serve, ladle into big bowls and have some sour cream, chopped green onion and shredded cheddar cheese available as toppings.

Some good sides are quesadillas or corn chips.

Fresh fruit is good for dessert to cleanse the palette.

Happy trails!

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