My all time favorite chuck wagon cook/teacher is Stella Hughes, who in turn idolized a Texas cowboy turned-Arizona-camp-cook for the famous Hash Knife outfit in Winslow: Clair Haight. His big specialty was son-of-a-gun stew, but since organ meat is not so popular nowadays, I decided to share his other specialty, peach cobbler, for which generations of Arizona cowboys remember him. This is a great Valentine dish.
Put your twelve inch dutch oven on a bed of coals and drop in a stick of butter. Open a gallon can of quartered peaches, pour off the liquid and chop up the peaches a little more, then dump them into the sizzling butter. Then dump in a smaller can of cherry pie filling and stir. When the fruit starts to bubble, take the oven off the fire and stir in a heaping tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in cold water. Add sugar and cinnamon, nine drops of almond extract and a jigger of Uncle Ezra (Ezra Brooks bourbon whiskey). Then make a pie crust (Aunt Betty’s recipe) and lay it on top of the fruit. Cut vents in the crust to let out the steam, your brand, or stars, or tree limbs like mom did. Then put on the lid and pile on a shovel full of live coals. Rotate the lid a quarter turn every few minutes. Check it in about 20-30 minutes. When the crust is baked, the cobbler’s done!