Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Roasted Chicken with Garlic, Shallots and a Bacon Blanket

     I wish you were sitting at my dining room table right now so I could serve you a big plate of this scrumptious chicken.  I have been dying to roast a whole chicken in my 10 inch deep dutch oven and once I wiped the drool off of my keyboard after reading this recipe, I knew I had hit the jackpot.  What could be easier than throwing unpeeled garlic and shallots, a chicken and bacon slices in your dutch oven?  The original recipe calls for roasting the chicken in a 500 degree oven and you definitely need a hot oven to crisp the bacon.
     I started roasting a 4 pound chicken in my 10 inch deep oven with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven, 15 coals in a ring around the outside of the lid with 8 briquettes spaced evenly in the middle.  After an hour, I left the bottom coals alone, replaced the top coals with 18 freshly lit briquettes and let it cook for 45 more minutes.  This is best made in a deep oven, however I would suggest making this in nothing smaller than a 12 inch regular oven as you do need a little space between the bacon and the lid.  Slipping the skins off of the shallots and garlic is a bit messy but licking your fingers is half the fun.
     Let the chicken sit for 15 minutes before carving and be sure to toast up some thick slices of bread so you can slather it with the sweet, roasted cloves of garlic.  I would make a terrible food critic because basically, I like everything but honestly, this is one of the best dinners I have made in my dutch oven and would recommend it highly.  The combination of garlic, shallots and smokey bacon transforms an ordinary roast chicken into a five-star dinner.

Roasted Chicken with Garlic, Shallots and a Bacon Blanket
2 heads garlic, separated into cloves, but not peeled
8-10 medium shallots, not peeled
1 Tblsp olive oil
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
4-5 lb whole chicken
8 oz thickly cut bacon
Salt and Freshly ground pepper to taste
Thick slices of toasted bread

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Toss garlic cloves and shallots with olive oil in prepared oven.
     Add the wine then sprinkle with salt.
     Use paper towels to pat dry the chicken, season with salt and pepper, including the cavity.
     Set the chicken, breast side up, on top of the garlic and shallots.
     Drape the strips of bacon over the chicken.
     Roast at 400 degrees for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, adding new top coals after the first hour.
     Chicken is done when bacon is crisp and thigh temperature reads 170 degrees.
     Remove chicken from dutch oven and set on platter, allow to rest for 15 minutes before carving.
     Meanwhile, slip the garlic cloves and shallots from their skins and serve with the chicken, they are also good spread on toasted bread.
     Depending on size of bird, makes 4-6 servings.

Toss garlic and shallots with olive oil in prepared oven

Place chicken in oven and cover with strips of bacon,
you may have to reposition shallots to allow more room
for chicken.

Roast at 400 degrees for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours changing
top coals after first hour of cooking time

Let chicken rest for 15 minutes before carving

Oh boy, crispy bacon, juicy chicken and the
 best garlic bread in the world

Friday, March 13, 2015

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins

     Traditional Irish Soda Bread contains only flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk.  In Ireland, any other breads baked with sugar, baking powder or raisins are considered cakes.  This recipe from a Feb. 2005 edition of Bon Appetit is an Americanized version of soda bread but no less delicious.  Dutch ovens most closely resemble 'bastibles' or the lidded cast iron pots originally used in Ireland for baking soda bread.  The pots were used in the fireplace, hung over or placed right in the embers. I baked this bread (or cake) for 35 minutes in my 10 inch deep dutch oven with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 24 on the lid.  It makes a wet batter and spreads as it bakes so I would suggest using your 10 inch oven. Similar to a scone, serve this rustic bread warm from the oven with lots of butter and your favorite preserves.

Irish Soda Bread with Raisins
2 cups all purpose flour
5 Tblsp sugar, divided
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
3 Tblsp butter, chilled, cut in small pieces
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup raisins

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     Whisk flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in large bowl to blend.
     Add butter; using fingertips or pastry cutter, rub in until coarse meal forms.
     Make well in center of flour mixture.
     Add buttermilk.
     Gradually stir dry ingredients into milk to blend.
     Mix in raisins.
     Using floured hands, shape dough into ball.
     Transfer to prepared dutch oven and flatten slightly.
     Sprinkle dough with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until tester inserted into center comes out clean.
     Cool bread for 15 minutes before removing from dutch oven.
     Transfer to rack, serve warm or at room temperature.

With floured hands, transfer dough to well oiled oven
and sprinkle with sugar

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes

Serve this quick and easy Irish bread warm from your oven

Monday, March 2, 2015

Mediterranean Chicken Casserole

     I'm posting this basic but good casserole from Campbell's because it's an easy camping recipe and makes just the right amount for your 8 inch dutch oven.  It's one of those mix it all in one bowl and pour in your oven to bake recipes.  If you dined on this casserole under the stars, as is, it would pass as a tasty and filling dinner. If you want to elevate it to greatness and give it some oomph think about adding chopped roasted red bell pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, canned artichoke hearts, black olives, pine nuts and even some feta cheese.  In my 8 inch dutch oven it baked for 35 minutes with 8 coals in a ring around the bottom and 12 on the lid.  After 30 minutes, or when the orzo is tender, give it a stir, add the final topping of cheese and let it bake until the cheese has melted.  It's a warm and creamy casserole that comes together in a jiffy and if you're a vegetarian, leave out the chicken and load up on more vegetables. 

Mediterranean Chicken Casserole
1 10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup water
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/4 tsp ground black OR lemon pepper
1 10 oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well-drained
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
2/3 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In medium bowl, combine soup, water, oregano, pepper, spinach, chicken and pasta.
     Pour into prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until orzo is tender and mixture is hot and bubbling.
     Sprinkle with cheese.
     Cook for 3-5 minutes more or until cheese has melted.
     Makes 2-4 servings.

Stir everything together except cheese and pour
 into your 8 inch dutch oven

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes then
sprinkle with cheese

Bake for 5 more minutes or until cheese has melted

Top with crumbled feta to give it some zing

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Classic Strawberry Shortcakes

     Since I've had such good luck baking scones and biscuits in my dutch oven I thought I'd give this classic shortcake recipe from the back of the Bisquick box a try.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, they baked for 15 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 22 briquettes on the lid, basically when you can smell them baking they're probably done.  Adding seedless raspberry preserves makes the strawberries glisten and thickens the juices.  Double the recipe and bake them in your 12 inch oven if you're feeding a crowd.  An All-American classic and a recipe I grew up with, for an airy center and a perfectly crispy crust, try baking these shortcakes outside in your camp oven.

Classic Strawberry Shortcakes
1 quart (4 cups) strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tblsp seedless raspberry preserves (optional)
2 1/3 cups Original Bisquick mix
1/2 cup milk
3 Tblsp sugar
3 Tblsp butter, melted
Whipped cream or frozen whipped topping

     In large bowl, mix strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar and raspberry preserves; set aside.
     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix, milk, 3 tablespoons sugar and butter until soft dough forms.
     Drop dough by 6 spoonfuls into prepared oven.
     Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
     Allow to cool in dutch oven for 10 minutes.
     Split warm shortcakes; fill and top with strawberries and whipped cream.

Spoon shortbread dough into well oiled oven

Bake at 425 degrees for 12-15 minutes

An All-American classic

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Block Party Barbecued Baked Beans

     Kraft brings us this very tasty pot-luck bean casserole.  Meaty, smokey and a little sweet, it's the kind of dish you could serve on the side or even as a main course with a big helping of cole slaw.  Saute the beef and onions, drain off any excess grease, add the rest of the ingredients and let it simmer until hot and bubbly.  I browned the beef over a full spread of briquettes then left about 10 coals in a ring around the bottom with 18 on the lid.  If you let the beans sit for a while they'll thicken and soak up some of the flavorful juices.  A good hot dog topping, you could also serve them in a bun like a Sloppy Joe.

Block Party Barbecued Baked Beans
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 16 oz can pork and beans
1 15 1/2 oz can mild chili beans
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tblsp mustard

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Brown beef and onion over a full compliment of coals, drain off excess fat.
     Move bottom coals to a ring around base of oven.
     Stir in remaining ingredients.
     Cover and cook with enough coals on lid to keep beans at a steady simmer.
     Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring halfway, until bubbling and heated through.
     Allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving.
     Makes 6 one cup servings.

Brown beef and onion over a full compliment of coals

Stir in remaining ingredients

Simmer for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly

A very filling side dish or main course

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Cornbread Chili Casserole

     From Wolf Brand Chili, as this hearty casserole cooks, the chili and cheese sink down and bake right into the cornbread.  A very easy recipe and good for camping, just be sure to oil your dutch oven well so you'll have a nice crispy crust on your cornbread.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, the casserole baked for a total of 40 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven, 14 briquettes around the edge of the lid with 6 spaced evenly in the center.  This is bound to become a campfire classic, serve it while it's hot and garnish with your favorite chili toppings.

Cornbread Chili Casserole
1 2.5 oz package corn muffin mix (Jiffy brand)
2 eggs
1 11 oz can whole kernel corn with red and green peppers, drained (Mexicorn)
1/2 cup regular OR reduced-fat sour cream
2 Tblsp sugar
1 15 oz can Beef with Beans Chili
1 cup shredded Cheddar-Jack cheese

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     In large bowl, combine corn muffin mix, eggs, corn with peppers, sour cream and sugar.
     Spread batter in bottom of prepared dutch oven.
     Spoon chili evenly over top of batter, up to 1/2 inch of sides of dutch oven.
     Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
     Top with remaining half cup of cheese.
     Bake for 10-15 minutes more or until bubbly and edges are brown.
     Makes 4-6 servings.

Leave 1/2 inch between chili and sides of dutch oven

Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of cheese

Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes before adding
remaining 1/2 cup of cheese

Bake for 15-20 minutes more or until bubbling in the center
and brown around the edges

Cornbread and chili conveniently bake together
in one very tasty casserole

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cast Iron-Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary and Onion

     Having all the ingredients leftover from the holidays, I thought I'd put my trusty dutch oven to good use and whip up a batch of these Cast Iron Roasted Potatoes.  The original recipe calls for making them in your cast iron skillet in a 350 degree oven, but I decided to pile on the coals and roast them outside in a searing hot oven.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, they roasted for 45 minutes with 12 briquettes in a ring around the base of the oven and the lid piled with roughly 22 coals. Roasting them in a blazing hot oven will allow the crispy crust to form on the potatoes.  Stir them only once, you need to allow the bottom heat to work it's magic.  Serve them for breakfast, lunch or dinner with red, white or blue potatoes, every spud lover should have this classic in their recipe file.  From The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook, A Treasure of Timeless, Delicious Recipes.   

Cast Iron-Roasted Red Potatoes with Rosemary and Onion
1 1/2 lbs unpeeled red potatoes, cut into one inch pieces
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 Tblsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper 

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Add potatoes and onion, drizzle with olive oil.
     Add the rosemary, salt and pepper to taste; stir until well combined.
     Roast at 400 degrees, stirring halfway, until the potatoes are browned and tender when tested with a knife, about 45 minutes.
     Makes 4-6 servings.

Toss potatoes and onions with olive oil, rosemary
salt and pepper

Roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring halfway

A blazing hot oven ensures brown and crispy potatoes