Sunday, July 31, 2011

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

     The beauty of this Creamy Macaroni and Cheese recipe from a 2006 article in the New York Times is that you do not have to take the time to make a white sauce or precook the macaroni.  Puree the liquid ingredients together, add a pound of grated Cheddar, a half a box of macaroni and wait for a wonderfully cheesy and rich version of this classic dish.  You need to butter your dutch oven well and give it a good stir halfway through cooking time.  I baked mine in a 10 inch oven with 8 coals in a ring around the bottom and completely covered the lid with roughly 20 coals.  I did not have to replenish any coals, the Macaroni and Cheese stayed at a steady simmer for the whole hour.  If you were camping and did not have access to a blender, you could probably get away with not pureeing the cottage cheese, it would definitely be worth a try.  This one pot wonder is velvety, convenient and could easily become one of your favorite dutch oven dinners.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese
2-3 Tblsp butter
1 cup cottage cheese (not low fat)
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp dry mustard
Pinch cayenne
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 pound grated extra-sharp grated cheese
1/2 pound elbow pasta, uncooked

     Butter the inside of a 10 inch dutch oven with softened butter.
     In a blender, puree cottage cheese, milk, mustard, cayenne, nutmeg and salt and pepper together. 
     Reserve 1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese for topping.
     In a large bowl combine remaining grated cheese, milk mixture and uncooked pasta.  Pour into buttered dutch oven.
     Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees then stir gently, sprinkle with reserved cheese and dot with remaining tablespoon of butter. 
     Bake for another 25-30 minutes or until macaroni is tender and top is brown. 
     Let cool for in dutch oven for 15 minutes before serving.  Serves 4-6.

Stir macaroni right out the box with cheese and blended milk and cottage cheese

After 30 minutes, stir well and top with remaining Cheddar and butter

Ready in 55 minutes, let sit before serving

Buttery, creamy and loaded with cheese

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fresh Peach Dumplings

     I really don't know the origins of this recipe, it's from a 1984 cookbook I have called, 1001 Recipes From Your Favorite Hometown Newspaper.  I liked the looks of it because it reminds me of old fashioned dumplings only much easier to make because you use Crescent Rolls to wrap the peaches.  If you're used to using canned peaches it is a little time consuming because you have to peel the peaches, slice them in half and remove the pits.  It is well worth the effort, there is nothing like biting into a warm, fresh peach right from the oven.  The original recipe calls for placing two walnut halves in the center of the peach, I omitted this step as I didn't have any walnuts on hand.  I would recommend placing a piece of parchment paper under your dumplings while baking.  Some of the brown sugar seeped out and formed a concrete crust in the bottom of my oven which thankfully dissolved with a kettle full of boiling water.  You could easily double this recipe.  I haven't seen them in my neck of the woods but Pillsbury makes Crescent Recipe Creations which are basically Crescent Rolls without the perforations, they would be perfect for this recipe.  I used my 12 inch oven to give the dumplings a little more head room and baked them with 12 coals in a circle around the bottom with 24 on the lid.  They were brown and puffy in 18 minutes.  Serve this old time dessert with a dollop of whipped cream or a big scoop of your favorite ice cream.  These packets of sweetness and cinnamon will definitely remind you of the good old summertime. 

Fresh Peach Dumplings
1 8 oz. package of Crescent Rolls
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tblsp flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 fresh peaches, peeled, halved and pits removed
8 walnut halves
Milk or cream
Sugar for dusting

     Lightly oil or spray a 12 inch dutch oven.
     Divide Crescent Rolls into 4 portions (2 triangles to each portion) and roll into squares, sealing seams completely.
     Combine brown sugar, flour and nutmeg in a mixing bowl; blend thoroughly.
     Roll peach halves in brown sugar mixture.
     Place two walnut halves in center cavity and sandwich two halves stacking one half on top of the other to form whole peach.
     Place in center of dough squares and bring ends of dough up, pinching to seal.
     Brush with milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar. 
     Place in bottom of dutch oven and bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Peaches wrapped in a blanket of Crescent dough

Golden and puffy in under 20 minutes

Treat yourself to the bounty of summer

Friday, July 29, 2011

Easy Onion Casserole Bread

     Looking through the recipes on is like browsing through the pages of an endless church cookbook.  The recipes are usually unedited and posted as if you were looking at a cook's worn index card from their recipe box.  I liked the looks of this Easy Onion Casserole Bread because it required only a handful of ingredients and seemed like it was made for dutch oven cooking.  If you want to get your feet wet working with yeast breads, this is the perfect place to start.  As you can see from the photos I let the bread get away from me and it browned a little too much in the middle.  My mistake was not moving the coals from the center of the lid to the outside soon enough.  Also there wasn't much clearance between the top of the loaf and the underside of the lid.  It might be safer to make this in your 12 inch oven, it just won't rise quite as high, more along the lines of a Foccacia bread.  I baked this in my 10 inch oven with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 18 or so on the lid.  After the first ten minutes of cooking time move the center coals to a ring around the outside.  Give it a rap after 25 minutes, if it sounds hollow it should be done.   The subtle flavors of the tangy sour cream and crunchy onions give this simple bread a unique taste, definitely easy and undeniably good.

 Easy Onion Casserole Bread
1 1 lb. package Pillsbury Hot Roll Mix
3/4 cup warm water (heated to 105-110 degrees)
1/2 cup dairy sour cream
1 egg
3 oz. can French fried onions, crumbled

     In large bowl mix warm water with yeast from Hot Roll Mix.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes or until yeast has dissolved.
     Stir in egg and sour cream. 
     Add flour mixture from package and finely crushed onions.  Stir well.  Place in lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in warm place for 40-45 minutes or until doubled in size.
     Lightly oil or spray a 10 inch dutch oven.
     Stir or punch down dough; lift into prepared dutch oven and spread evenly in oven.  Cover and let rise 30-35 minutes.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until loaf is deep golden brown and makes a hollow sound when tapped in the center.
     Remove from oven, serve while warm. 

After first rise, press dough into dutch oven, let rise a second time before baking

A little brown on top but still tasty

Fun to make and good to eat

Boys night out

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wooly Bugger Stew

     For those of you who aren't familiar with fly fishing a Wooly Bugger is a very famous and effective fly pattern for catching fish.  I decided to call this Wooly Bugger stew because it is the kind of meal you can toss together in your dutch oven then wander off to go fishing while your oven does all the work.  Except for adding or changing coals after the first hour of cooking and giving it a quick stir that's all there is to it.  Simmer it slowly at 325 degrees for 2 hours and you will be rewarded at the end of the day with a rich and delicious stew.  The secret ingredient is the Italian dressing, the spices give it a zing and the vinegar helps to tenderize the beef.  I did take the time to flour and saute the beef beforehand but if you are in the wild or camping you can just as easily eliminate this step, add the spices and veggies and throw it on the coals.  I like to use small potatoes in their skins, they hold up better to braising and it saves on the prep work. The onions and celery cook down, thickening and adding texture to the sauce.  In my 12 inch oven I kept this at a simmer with 12 coals in a circle around the base of the oven and 18-20 on the lid.  I can hardly wait to make this on a cool fall day for my fishing buddies.  Give this melt in your mouth stew a try and be sure to serve it with bread or biscuits, you won't want to miss a drop of the silky, rich gravy.

Wooly Bugger Stew
3 lbs. chuck roast, cut into stew sized pieces
1 cup flour for dredging meat
2-3 Tblsp olive or canola oil
3-4 stalks of celery, cut into chunks
1 medium onion cut into chunks
4-5 carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
6-8 whole, small creamer or red potatoes
1 14.5 oz. can beef broth
3/4 cup bottled Italian salad dressing
1 package of brown gravy mix
1/4 cup ketchup
1 Tblsp Worcestershire OR A-1 sauce
1-2 bay leaves
Freshly ground pepper to taste

     Lightly oil or spray a 12 inch dutch oven.
     Heat oil over a full spread of coals in dutch oven.
     Place flour in zip lock bag, add beef cubes and shake until the meat is completely covered.  Shake off excess flour and brown beef in batches in hot oil.  Do not crowd beef.
     Add all of beef back to oven; add celery, carrots, onion, potatoes and bay leaves.
     Mix beef broth, Italian dressing, gravy mix, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and pepper in medium bowl.  Stir well.  If you don't feel like dirtying a separate bowl, add rest of ingredients right into your dutch oven and stir gently until well combined.
     Cook stew at 350 degrees for 2 hours or until vegetables are soft and beef is tender. Serves 4-5.

Beef browned, stew ready for coals

After two hours at a steady simmer

You won't have any leftovers with this recipe

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Plum Upside Down Cake

     One of the greatest advantages to hunting for recipes online are the reviews posted by countless cooks who have already tried the recipes.  You can tweak an ingredient on the recommendation of the previous cooks, learn from other people's mistakes or save time and expense by avoiding a recipe altogether.  This recipe for Plum Upside Down Cake from a 1995 Bon Appetit had rave reviews and glowing reports.  The plums this week at the grocery store were plump, ripe and ridiculously cheap, I just couldn't resist this fruity cake.  Half the fun of making this showstopping dessert is feeling like a world class pastry chef when you arrange the plum wedges in the bottom of your oven.  The sugary plums caramelize into the moist, buttery cake sending your taste buds right into orbit.  With subtle traces of honey and cinnamon I would definitely enter this dessert in a dutch oven cook off, it is just that good.  Bake it in your parchment lined 10 inch dutch oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.  Mine baked with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 18-20 on top.  After 15 minutes I removed the coals from the center of the cover and finished it off with one ring around the outside of the lid.  If you don't have almond extract, just add a little more vanilla.  Let it sit for a while before removing from your oven, all that butter makes it easy to crumble when it's warm.  Impress your friends and maybe even the judges with this splendid dessert, no one will ever guess how easy it is to make. 

Plum Upside Down Cake
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
6 large plums, halved, pitted, each half cut into 6 wedges
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup milk

     Lightly oil or spray a 10 inch dutch oven and line with parchment paper.
     Pour 6 tablespoons melted butter over parchment paper in oven.  Sprinkle 1 cup brown sugar evenly over melted butter.  Drizzle honey over brown sugar.
     Arrange plums in overlapping concentric circles atop sugar butter mixture.
     Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. 
     Using electric mixer, beat remaining 6 tablespoons butter in large bowl until light.  Add sugar and beat until creamy.  Add eggs and beat until light and fluffy.  Beat in extracts. 
     Add dry ingredients alternately with milk, mixing just until blended.  Spoon batter evenly over plums. 
     Bake cake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden and tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
     Cool in dutch oven for 30 minutes before inverting onto plate.  Serve warm with whipped cream.

Arrange plum slices over melted butter, sugar and honey

Thick, rich, golden batter

Let cake sit for a half hour before removing from dutch oven

Warm and buttery

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Barbeque Cheddar Crusted Chicken

     Here's another super easy recipe that comes together in minutes and can be made for as many servings as you like.  This Barbecue Cheddar Crusted Chicken from Hellman's has that trio of flavors and textures that just can't be beat, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce and cheese.  Top it off with a generous sprinkling of Panko crumbs and you're guaranteed to have a crispy coating to your juicy chicken breasts.  I baked these at 400 degrees in my 10 inch dutch oven with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and covered the top with 18-20 coals.  They were tender and cooked through in 35 minutes.  Depending on the size of your chicken pieces you may need to adjust the cooking time.  I also added more Cheddar because, as we all know, you can never have too much cheese.  Simple, delicious and a great recipe for home or campfire cooking.

Barbecue Cheddar Crusted Chicken
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2-3 Tblsp barbecue sauce
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 1/4 lbs.)
Panko bread crumbs

     Lightly oil or spray your dutch oven.
     Combine mayonnaise, cheese and barbecue sauce in medium bowl.
     Arrange chicken in bottom of prepared dutch oven.
     Evenly top with mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with bread crumbs.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through.

Frost chicken breasts with cheese mixture then sprinkle with crumbs

Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes

Moist and juicy with a hint of barbecue

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cheese n' Bacon Bread

      When I was growing up one of our favorite snacks used to be what our family called Cheese n' Bacons.  Their ingredients would horrify the American College of Cardiologists today but back then they sure were delicious and considered a real treat.  Basically they were open faced sandwiches on white bread with a slice of bacon on one side and piece of cheese on the other.  We would stick them under the broiler until the bacon was cooked, the cheese was bubbly and the bread crisp and browned around the edges.  Of course the bacon fat would soak into the bread rendering it smokey and rich.  I had a loaf of French Bread in the house and thought of a way I might be able to reproduce the flavor of those yummy sandwiches.  This is a grown up version of Cheese n' Bacons, I used half a loaf of French Bread sliced down the middle and it fit perfectly in my 12 inch dutch oven.  Bake the bread with 12 coals around the bottom and 20-22 on the top, check it after 15 minutes and cook it until the cheese is bubbly and brown.  You could really have fun playing around with this recipe, try pairing diced green chilies with cooked chorizo and a Mexican blend of cheese.  You could also use Italian sausage with Mozzarella and chopped fresh basil.  The butter, mayo and cheese give you a great starting point to add whatever you might have on hand, leave out the meat altogether if you are a vegetarian.  This crispy, cheesy bread could be a meal in itself, it's sinfully good and brings back all kinds of comforting memories of my childhood.

Cheese n' Bacon Bread
1 large loaf of French bread, cut in half then split down the middle
1/4 cup (half stick) softened butter
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 good shakes Tabasco sauce
1 large or 2 small finely chopped scallions
4-6 slices bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven.
     Mix butter, mayonnaise, butter, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, scallions and bacon in medium bowl.  Stir until well blended.
     Cut French Bread down the middle forming two halves.  Spread each half generously with cheese mixture until bread is completely covered.
     Place side by side in bottom of prepared dutch oven.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until cheese has melted and browned.  Slice with serrated knife and serve warm.

Cover bread completely with cheese mixture

Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese has melted and topping is golden

Indescribably good

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pizza Biscuit Bake

     It just so happened that today I had all the ingredients on hand for this Pizza Biscuit Bake from Betty Crocker.  Since we're in the middle of a record breaking heat wave I decided to make this for breakfast while the temperatures were more bearable.  This is right on the money camping fare.  A pack of hungry scouts could easily assemble this fun to make casserole.  Since it is tomato based be sure to oil your dutch oven well.  I added more sauce than the original recipe called for and cut back on the Bisquick by a half a cup.  Spoon tablespoons of the dough into your dutch oven, it's okay to have space between the biscuits as the second layer will fill in the gaps from the first.  Bake this in your 12 inch oven for 30-35 minutes or until the biscuits in the center have risen and are firm to the touch.  If you make this in a smaller oven you might have problems with the biscuits baking all the way through.  I made this with 12 coals in a circle around the bottom and 28-30 on the lid.  This simple casserole is like a deep dish pizza only made with soft, saucy biscuits.  My fourteen year old taste tester gave this a two thumbs up.  Easy, economical and good, what more can you ask for in an everyday dish?

Pizza Biscuit Bake
3 cups Bisquick baking mix
1 cup milk
2 14 oz. cans pizza sauce
1 8 oz. package sliced pepperoni
2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Mozzarella cheese

     Lightly oil or spray a 12 inch dutch oven.
     In medium bowl, stir Bisquick mix and milk until soft dough forms. 
     Drop half of dough by spoonfuls evenly over bottom of prepared dutch oven (dough will not completely cover bottom of oven).
     Drizzle 1 can pizza sauce over dough.  Scatter half of the pepperoni over sauce.  Top with 1 cup of cheese.  Repeat layers with remaining dough, pizza sauce, pepperoni and cheese.
     Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until biscuits in center have risen and are firm to the touch.
     Makes 6 servings.

Layer biscuit dough, pizza sauce, pepperoni and cheese

Done in 30 minutes or when biscuits have completely baked

Like a deep dish pizza with biscuit dough

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Walter McIlhenny's Chili

      Not only was Walter McIlhenny a distinguished Veteran of WWII, retired brigadier general and co-founder of the Marine Military Academy in Harlington, Texas, he was also a gourmet cook.  He served as president of the McIlhenny company, which makes the world famous Tabasco sauce, from 1946-1985.  He used to serve this chili to his Marine buddies at his home on Avery Island, Louisiana.  The heat from this melt in your mouth chili sneaks up on you, the chili powder, cumin and Tabasco give it just the right balance, not too overpowering but enough to make you warm all over.  Brown the beef in batches, you don't want to overcrowd your dutch oven and steam the meat.  Remove the beef, then saute the onions and garlic with the spices long enough to allow them to release their oils and flavor.  Add the water, chilies and beef, put the lid on and let your dutch oven work it's magic.  I cooked this for 2 1/2 hours or until most of the liquid had reduced and the meat was falling apart tender.  After browning the meat and onions over a full compliment of coals I moved them to a ring of 12 around the base of my 12 inch oven and covered the lid with 18-20 coals or enough to keep it at a steady simmer.  After the first hour I completely changed out the coals with new ones and let it continue cooking for another 1 1/2 hours.  The original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of salt but you may want to cut back on the amount if you like it less salty.  This is a terrific chili recipe, meaty, spicy and full of history.  Everybody loved it and there was not a drop left in my dutch oven.  Next time you're in the mood for a slow cooked, flavorful, warming stew, give this one a try, it's five stars all the way.

Walter McIlhenny's Chili
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 pounds lean beef chuck, well trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
2 teaspoons Original TABASCO brand Pepper Sauce
3 cups water
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
Hot cooked rice
Shredded cheese, chopped onion and sour cream (optional)

     Heat oil over a full spread of coals in a 12 inch dutch oven.  Add beef 1/3 at a time and cook until browned on all sides; remove from pan and set aside.
     Add onion and garlic to dutch oven and cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently.  Stir in chili powder, cumin, salt and Tabasco Sauce; cook 1 minute. 
     Add water, chilies and browned meat and bring to a simmer.  Cover and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until beef is tender.
     Serve over rice and top with cheese, onion and sour cream, if desired.  Serves 4-6.

Brown beef in batches then saute onion, garlic and spices

Add beef, water and chilies

After 2 1/2 hours, beef is tender and liquid has reduced

A classic chili brimming with flavor

Friday, July 22, 2011

Savory Beet and Goat Cheese Tart

     I have been making this Beet and Goat Cheese Tart for several years in my conventional oven.  It was a grand prize winner in a contest sponsored by Seneca Foods and is at the top of my favorite recipes list.  The combination of the soft, caramelized onions with the tangy goat cheese and vinegary beets is absolutely out of this world.  The fresh thyme really tops it off but if you can't get it a sprinkling of the dried variety would do just fine.  You can saute the onions in your dutch oven but it takes a lot less time to cook them on your camp stove or kitchen range.  Assemble the tart on a piece of parchment paper then transfer it right into your oven, it also makes removing it that much easier.  You need to bake this in a hot oven.  I baked mine in a 12 inch oven with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and completely covered the top with at least 28-30 coals.  It was golden brown in 25 minutes.  Also, if you don't feel like spending the extra money, you can get by with a 4 oz. package of goat cheese.  Slice the tart in small wedges as an appetizer or cut it in quarters and serve it with a salad for a light supper.  The amazing combination of flavors in this rustic tart will win you over with the first bite.

Savory Beet and Goat Cheese Tart
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, very thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
1 refrigerated pie crust (half of 15-ounce package)
1 jar (16 ounces) Aunt Nellie's Sliced Pickled Beets, well drained
1 package (8 ounces) herb and garlic-flavored goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
Grated or shredded lemon peel (optional)

     Lightly oil or spray a 10 or 12 inch dutch oven.
     Cut a parchment paper liner the size of your dutch oven and place on counter.
     In large nonstick or cast iron skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions; cook and stir until softened and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes.  Remove from heat.
     Unroll crust on parchment paper.  Spread onions evenly over crust, leaving a 1-inch border.  Arrange beets over onions and dot with the goat cheese.  Sprinkle with thyme.
     Fold pastry edge over beets, crimping edges, leaving center uncovered. 
     Bake at 450 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until crust is golden.
     Remove from oven using parchment paper and slide onto plate.  Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.  Serves 4 as a main course.

Assemble the tart on the parchment paper and transfer to oven

After 25 minutes in a hot oven

Serve as an appetizer or main course

Thursday, July 21, 2011

French Fried Onion Meatballs

     I don't really know the origin of this recipe as it has been posted on several message boards, my guess is that it was probably invented in the kitchens of the French's company.  I am seriously addicted to French Fried Onions, that is why I seldom buy them because once I pop that top they rapidly disappear.  After you sample a couple of the large pieces of the onions, grind the rest in your food processor.  Form the meatballs into whatever size you like, I fit around 22 meatballs in my 12 inch oven and baked them for 25 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and  18-20 on top.  There is something about the way meatballs bake in a dutch oven, they brown beautifully but are still so juicy they almost taste steamed in the inside.  You would think they would be overpowered by the onion flavor but they are actually quite mild.  The cool, creamy ranch dressing makes the perfect dipping sauce for these savory meatballs.  Serve them as an appetizer or main course, it might be worth making a double batch because they are going to fly right out of your dutch oven.

French-Fried Onion Meatballs
1 (2.8 ounce) can French-fried onions
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 envelope brown gravy mix
2 eggs
1 (8 ounce) bottle favorite ranch salad dressing

     Lightly oil or spray a 12 inch or larger dutch oven.
     Crush French Fried Onions in a food processor until they resemble bread crumbs.
     Beat eggs lightly in large bowl.  Add gravy mix and mix thoroughly.  Add the onion crumbs and ground beef; mix well.
     Form the mixture into 1-2 inch meatballs (depending on how large you like them and how many you want to serve) and place in bottom of prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the meatballs are brown and cooked through.
     Serve with ranch dressing as a dipping sauce.
     Makes 24-36 meatballs, depending on size.

Recipe makes just enough to fit in the bottom of a 12 inch oven

In just 25 minutes, brown and juicy

Kids will love these, especially with the ranch dressing

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pepper Jelly Chicken Thighs

     I have been on a Hot Pepper Jelly roll lately, there is something about the sugary hot combination that is so addicting.  I saw this recipe and thought the Panko breadcrumbs would give the chicken an oven fried taste and a crispy coating.  You can use boneless, skinless thighs if you like, just be sure to let the jelly mixture cool a bit before coating the chicken.  I baked these in a 12 inch oven using 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and 20-22 on top.  I rotated the lid halfway through cooking time and left the chicken to cook for a good 50 minutes.  This moist, buttery chicken has a sweet, piquant flavor and Panko is the way to go if you want a crunchy coating in your dutch oven.  Serve it warm or cold on a hot summer's day, this outstanding recipe from Southern Cooking is truly sublime and one I know you'll make often.

Pepper Jelly Chicken Thighs
3/4 cup (8 ounces) hot pepper jelly
2 Tblsp butter
1 Tblsp Dijon mustard
Dash freshly ground black pepper
8 chicken thighs
2 cups Panko bread crumbs
     Lightly oil or spray a 12 inch dutch oven.
     Combine jelly, butter, mustard and pepper in a saucepan and heat until melted.  Set aside to cool.
     Wash the chicken thighs; pat dry.
     Coat the chicken thighs with the cooled jelly mixture, then dip in the Panko crumbs.  Arrange side by side in bottom of dutch oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Serves 4-6.

Coat chicken with melted jelly mixture and dredge in Panko crumbs

After 50 minutes crispy and golden

Crunchy, juicy, hot, sweet and delicious