There have been several great classic county songs about food. Us country folks do love to put away the groceries. Hank Williams may have started it with his "Jambalaya" and Charley Pride got our mouths watering with "Burgers and Fries". Little Jimmie Dickens didn't make potatoes very appetizing on his "Take an Old Cold Tater and Wait" but every time I hear Tom T. Hall sing "A Week in a Country Jail" I crave his jail diet of hot baloney, eggs and gravy.

I have always wondered what ingredients made up Merle Haggard's big 1981 hit "Rainbow Stew". It sounds like something hobos would eat out of tin cans alongside a railroad track. However, it's really a tasty dish that you can make yourself.

There are several places on the net to find Merle's recipe but they are all pretty much alike. Here's my combination of all of them.

First you need the veggies that give Rainbow Stew it's colorful name:

1/2 c red bell peppers chopped

1/2 c green bell pepper chopped

1/2 c yellow bell peppers chopped

1/2 c celery, diced

1 c carrots, small diced

1/2  cup red onions

3 garlic cloves chopped

 the meat:

a boneless chicken breast cut up

a pound of good ole hot Cajun Andouille sausage cut in rounds ,,,oooo eee

the spices and stuff:

3 cups chicken stock

a can of kidney beans

5 teaspoons hot sauce

3 tablespoons flour

a splash of cannoli oil to sear the meat

2 tablespoons cilantro

and here's what to do:

In a Dutch oven (or my favorite the Insta Pot) put the oil and sear the sausage and chicken then add onions, belle peppers, garlic, celery, carrots and sear them about five minutes constantly stirring. Then add the flour and stir it into the other stuff.

Add the chicken stock and everything else and stir good. Cover and turn the heat down and cook 45 minutes. If using an Insta Pot set it on about 15 minutes to pressure cook.

When it's ready you might want to toss in a 1/2 cup of freshly chopped green onions and serve over rice. What do you think Merle?

Frazer Harrison

Yeah--he likes it. Oh yes, instead of the free Bubble-up you can serve our local favorite, Ski. Might as well serve some some Grippos, too.

Here's Merle singing the song that inspired the stew