There was a time in my life when there were two questions you could ask to determine if someone was truly from the Texas hill country or thereabouts, or if they were only faking it. The first was, “Have you ever been to Stinky Falls?” and the second was “What’s your favorite recipe for Ro-Tel tomatoes?”
The first question was the clincher. Stinky Falls (it’s official name is, I think, Landa Falls) is caused by a small dam across the Comal River in New Braunfels, Texas. It got its name from the fact that you had to walk past several sulphur springs to get there. And if you’ve ever been near a sulphur spring, you’ll understand the why of Stinky Falls.
Ro-Tel tomatoes were once almost unknown outside their home state of Texas. But the, in 1963, the wife of a certain Texas President told the country that her favorite dip recipe was made with Ro-Tel tomatoes. The rest, as they say, is history.
I don’t know if it’s still true, but when I lived in Alaska in the ‘70s and ‘80s, you couldn’t get Ro-Tels. Maybe it was because that President was a Democrat, and Alaska is traditionally Republican, but whatever the reason, whenever we’d go on vacation to visit my folks in Texas, I’d always stock up on cans of Ro-Tel.
All of which is background to this entry.
I went grocery shopping today, with the express purpose of getting (among other things) Ro-Tel Tomatoes, dipping chips, and ground beef. You see, I rarely stick to the original recipe when I’m cooking, and had decided that some browned ground beef would add a protein kick to the dip. However, while I was shopping, I saw a couple of cans of Hormel Chunk Chili. Well, if ground beef would liven things up, how about chunk beef already spiced?
So here’s my recipe. The ORIGINAL Ro-Tel recipe (which is also on the can) is marked with asterisks (*):
*1 can Ro-Tel Tomatoes (original or new Habanero
*16 ounces Velveeta, cut into 1-inch squares
A 16-ounce can of Hormel Chunk Chili
Put all ingredients in a medium sauce pan and heat over medium heat. Stir constantly for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
The only other change I made was to use Wal-Mart’s brand of dipping cheese, which is functionally equivalent to Velveeta, but cheaper.
Use your favorite chips for dipping.
Total time: less than 15 minutes, including preparation time.