Friday, September 28, 2012

Wagon Train Pot Roast

     There are days like today when I'm really happy to be a carnivore.  This Wagon Train Pot Roast from Mr. Food is the kind of recipe that conjures up images of chuck wagon cooks tending to a fire on the open plains and dusty cowboys sipping sludge-like coffee from tin cups.  I cannot think of a better or more authentic way of cooking a brisket than in a dutch oven. 
     Over the years I have become somewhat of a lazy cook, I like simple recipes, some days even browning meat for a stew or pot roast seems like too much of an effort.  What I love about this recipe is that you place the brisket in your dutch oven, cover it with sliced onions and sauce then let your camp oven do the work for you.  This is most definitely a set it and forget it recipe.  I put on the first round of coals then left to run a few errands, after the first 90 minutes I completely switched them out with a new batch and in an hour the roast was ready.  In my 12 inch oven it simmered with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and about 22 in circles around the edge of the lid.  I don't think you have to be totally precise with your temperature control, shoot for around 350 degrees, of course the temperature will drop over time but as long as you keep it at a low bubble you're fine.  I used a 3 lb. brisket so only cooked it for two and a half hours, if I was feeding a crowd I might even try cooking two smaller cuts of meat in my 14 inch oven. 
     By far this is one of my favorite dutch oven dinners, the brisket was so juicy and tender, you could cut it with a fork.  It goes without saying, you must serve this with a mountain of mashed potatoes or a side of noodles to soak up the delicious gravy and sweet onions.  For those of you who remember one of my favorite television series, 'Wagon Train', I can almost hear the Major,  played by Ward Bond,  sitting around the campfire and asking for seconds.

Wagon Train Pot Roast
1 3-4 pound beef brisket
2 cups smoky-flavored barbecue sauce
1 can Campbell's French Onion Soup
2 large onions, cut in half and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 Tblsp hot sauce (like Tabasco)
1/4 cup water

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Place brisket, fat side up, in prepared oven.
     In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients; mix well then pour over brisket.
     Roast at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until fork tender.
     Replenish coals halfway through cooking time.
     Remove brisket to a cutting board.
     Cut across the grain into 1/4 inch slices.
     Serve topped with sauce from dutch oven.

Pour onions and sauce over brisket

Bake at 350 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours
The onions caramelize and make a crispy coating for the beef

The most delicious brisket and don't forget to slice across the grain

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Italian Sausage and Lentil Stew

     Since we're coming into stew season and this recipe from Campbell's has three of my favorite ingredients, Italian sausage, lentils and broccoli rabe, I just couldn't resist making it in my dutch oven.  Italian sausage and broccoli rabe is a match made in heaven, toss in some lentils, potatoes, onions and carrots and you've got a filling, cold weather dinner.  After browning the sausage in my 10 inch oven over a full spread of coals I moved them to a ring of 10 around the base of the oven and covered the lid with 24 briquettes.  If you can't find broccoli rabe substitute your favorite strong flavored green or even a bag of fresh spinach.  Healthy and rib sticking good, sprinkle it with some grated Parmesan for the perfect finishing touch.

Italian Sausage and Lentil Stew
1 Tblsp olive oil
1 lb. sweet Italian pork sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large carrots, sliced
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 cups cubed red potatoes
1/2 cup uncooked dry lentils
2-3 cups coarsely chopped broccoli rabe

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Brown sausage in olive oil over a full compliment of coals.
     Add carrots, onion and garlic; cook until vegetables are tender.
     Move bottom coals to a ring around base of oven.
     Add broth, oregano, bay leaf, potatoes and lentils.
     Cover with as many coals on the lid as needed to keep stew at a steady bubble.
     Simmer for 30-35 minutes or until lentils are tender.
     Add broccoli rabe; cook for 5-10 minutes more.
     Discard bay leaf, makes 4-6 servings.

Brown sausage, onion, carrots and garlic over a full compliment of coals

Add broth, lentils, potatoes, bay leaf and oregano

Simmer for 30-35 minutes then add broccoli rabe

Cook for 5-10 minutes or until rabe is tender

A stick to your ribs stew


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Olive Garden Portobello Mushrooms with Mozzarella

     Since my last attempt at baking stuffed mushrooms in my dutch oven resulted in them floating in a sea of liquid, I thought I'd give them another go, this time using the larger portobello variety.  This recipe from the Olive Garden calls for baking the mushrooms, gill side down, before turning them over and adding the stuffing.  At this point I was able to drain off the excess moisture before spooning on the filling.  You can also bake them on a rack which would keep them high and dry above any liquid they exude.  They took 25 minutes to bake in my 12 inch dutch oven with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and 24 on the lid.  Use pearl sized fresh mozzarella if you can find it, it makes the preparation that much easier.  Serve them as an appetizer or like the portobello sandwich at the Cheesecake Factory, in a hamburger bun, they're so meaty and filling you'll never miss the beef.

Olive Garden Portobello Mushrooms with Mozzarella
6 large portobello mushroom caps, stems and gills removed
2 Tblsp olive oil
2 Tblsp balsamic vinegar
8 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup roasted red bell pepper OR sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup black olives, chopped
4 Tblsp pesto
salt and pepper to taste
*note: Italian Dressing can be used in place of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Clean the mushroom caps thoroughly, use a damp towel to remove any dirt.
     Sprinkle the oil and balsamic vinegar over the mushroom caps; let caps marinate for an hour.
     In medium bowl combine mozzarella, red pepper, olives, pesto, salt and pepper; mix well.
     Remove the caps from the marinade and lay them, top side up, in prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes.
     Using an oven mitt, drain excess liquid from dutch oven.
     Using tongs, turn mushrooms over.
     Fill each cap with the stuffing mixture.
     Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese has melted.
     Serve while warm.

Place mushrooms gill side down in prepared dutch oven

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes

Drain off excess liquid and fill mushrooms with stuffing

Makes a great veggie burger or filling appetizer

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chicken Ragout with Parsley Dumplings

     When I saw Progresso Recipe Starters advertised on tv I thought, hmmmm, now these could really come in handy when you're camping.  This recipe for Chicken Ragout with Parsley Dumplings can be as basic or as gourmet as you like.  I stuck to the original recipe using a leftover rotisserie chicken with frozen mixed vegetables but you could use the canned varieties as well.  It is more soupy than a pot pie but you need that extra liquid to simmer the dumplings.  You need to concentrate the heat under your oven with just a few coals on the lid, once you bring it to a bubble and add the dough, you don't want the top to brown and bake the biscuits.  In my 10 inch oven it cooked with 22 or so coals on the bottom and 6 around the edge of the lid.  The garlic based sauce is mild and surprisingly rich and creamy.  I don't know how long the Recipe Starters will stay on the market but you can't beat them for convenience, they could be a camp cook's best friend and their website has even more great looking recipes that could easily be adapted to dutch oven cooking.

Chicken Ragout with Parsley Dumplings
1 12 oz. can Pillsbury Golden Layers refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
2 18 oz. cans Progresso Recipe Starters creamy roasted garlic with chicken stock cooking sauce
3 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 10 oz. bag frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 tsp dried marjoram leaves OR your favorite dried herb
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1 Tblsp chopped fresh parsley OR 1 tsp dried parsley flakes

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Separate dough into biscuits; cut each biscuit in half.  Set aside.
     In large bowl combine cooking sauce, chicken, vegetables, marjoram and pepper.
     Pour mixture into prepared oven.
     Cover and bring to a bubble over a full compliment of coals; simmer for 20 minutes, stirring halfway.
     Quickly place the biscuit pieces in single layer over boiling stew.
     Sprinkle top of biscuits with paprika and parsley.
     Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until biscuits are no longer doughy.
     Makes 4-6 servings.

Simmer stew for 20 minutes then add biscuits

Cook for 20 minutes more or until biscuits are tender

Comforting and convenient

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Hatch Green Chile Pie

     Not wanting to waste even one of the Hatch green chilies I had roasted, this Hatch Green Chile Pie , another good recipe from Central Market, was just the right amount to bake in my 8 inch dutch oven.  Line your oven with the opened, roasted chilies, sprinkle with cheese, pour over the eggs and bake.  With 8 coals around the base of my oven and 14 on the lid, it was puffed and golden in 20 minutes.  Let it rest for 10 minutes before serving and top with a smidgen of sour cream, the coolness helps to balance out the heat of the peppers.
Hatch Green Chile Pie
6-7 roasted Hatch green chilies, peeled and sliced open
2 Tblsp heavy cream
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
5 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

     Lightly oil or spray 8 inch dutch oven.
     Split open the chilies lengthwise and place in prepared oven to form a "crust".
     In a bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, salt and pepper.
     Sprinkle cheese over chilies.
     Pour beaten eggs over cheese.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until pie has set.
     Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
     Makes 2-4 servings.

Line your oven with roasted chilies

Sprinkle with cheese then add eggs

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes

A quick and easy chile pie


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Central Market Hatch Chile Apple Cobbler

     Every Labor Day weekend the small town of Hatch, New Mexico comes to life with it's annual chile festival.  Up to 30,000 chile lovers descend on the town to celebrate the annual harvest.  Similar to Anaheim and California chilies, the Hatch varieties are much hotter and prized for their exceptional flavor.  You can order Hatch Chilies online from the local growers, either fresh or frozen, and you may be able to find them canned and roasted at your local market. 
     I read somewhere that Whole Foods carries them while they are in season, from mid-August 'til mid-September.  I made a trip to our local Whole Foods yesterday hoping to find a huge bin overflowing with the shiny beauties.  My heart sank when the manager told me they came and went and were completely sold out.  Lo and behold, out of the corner of my eye I spied a small stash of rejects on a shelf high above my head, I was ecstatic.
     I have been counting the months until their arrival so I could make this Hatch Chile Apple Cobbler from chef Jamie Samford of Central Market in Texas.  Roasting the chilies is a little time consuming but so worth the effort.  You can roast them on your gas grill, over an open flame or like I do, char them until their skins are blistered under a hot broiler.  As they were roasting, I sat in front of my oven with the door open, inhaling the glorious fumes from the blackened peppers.  Once you take the chilies off the heat, place them in a paper or zip lock bag while they are cooling, this makes it easier to peel off the skin. 
     The cobbler baked for 45 minutes in my 10 inch dutch oven with 10 coals around the base of the oven and 24 on the lid.  After 30 minutes I moved the center coals to the outside of the lid as the center was perfectly browned.  Imagine the aroma of chilies, apples and butter steaming from your dutch oven, I could hardly wait to taste it.  If you're a chile lover you have got to give this unique dessert a try, it's like sweet meeting heat under a rich, crispy crust.  The hotness of the Hatch chilies really comes shining through, try to use them in the recipe if you possibly can.  Did you know one fresh medium sized chili has as much vitamin C as 6 oranges?  Also hot chilies help to speed up your metabolism and burn calories faster, so no excuses for not making this unusual cobbler.  Surprise your guests with the secret ingredient at your next dutch oven gathering or pot luck dinner, it's bound to be a hit and a real conversation piece.

Central Market Hatch Chile Apple Cobbler
5 or 6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped, peeled, roasted Hatch chile peppers
1 tsp cider vinegar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter
2 Tblsp heavy cream

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     In a large bowl, combine the apples, brown sugar, chiles, vinegar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, allspice and 1/8 tsp nugmeg. 
     Toss until apples are uniformly coated.
     Spoon apple mixture into prepared dutch oven.
     In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, lemon zest, 1/8 tsp cinnamon and 1/8 tsp nutmeg; mix well.
     Cut in the butter until crumbly.
     Stir in the cream.
     Spread over the apple mixture and press firmly to flatten.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes or until brown and bubbly.

Fresh Hatch chilies

Pat cobbler topping over apples and chilies

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes

A sensational dessert

Monday, September 10, 2012

Banana Bread Scones with Brown Sugar Glaze

     I was having scone withdrawals today, it's been a while since I made them in my dutch oven and this cool morning seemed like the perfect opportunity to test a new recipe.  These Banana Bread Scones are so good you don't even need to serve them with butter or jam.  This makes a wet batter, perfect for spooning into your oven.  I can never wait until they have cooled completely so I drizzled the glaze over them a couple of times while they were still warm.  I always bake scones in my 10 inch dutch oven, they rise higher when they're nestled in together and, as always, placed 10 coals around the base of the oven and completely covered the lid with briquettes.  Twenty five minutes later, or when the steam was pouring out of the oven, they were done.  If you're a fan of banana bread you're going to love these beauties, they really are in a league of their own.

Banana Bread Scones
2 large, ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
4 Tblsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour
4 Tblsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 Tblsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
For the Glaze
1 Tblsp butter, melted
2 Tblsp milk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Mash the bananas; stir in milk, yogurt and vanilla extract.
     In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together.
     Cut butter into flour mixture using a fork, pastry cutter or your fingertips.
     Add the banana mixture to the flour; stir just until combined.
     Fold in walnuts, if desired.
     Drop batter by large spoonfuls into prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until scones are golden brown.
     Remove from dutch oven and allow to cool.
     To make the glaze, melt the butter with the milk over low heat or in the microwave.
     Add the brown sugar and vanilla; stir until the sugar has melted.
     Whisk in the confectioner's sugar, starting with 1/4 cup and adding more as needed to make a thick glaze; drizzle over scones.
     Makes 7-8 scones.

Spoon wet batter into well oiled dutch oven

Bake at 425 degrees for 20-25 minutes

Drizzle with brown sugar glaze and dive in

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Ratatouille Soup

     If you have been inundated with a bumper crop of zucchini and eggplant, this Ratatouille Soup from Campbell's is a very tasty and easy way to use up your summer's harvest.  A thick, rich soup loaded with veggies and you won't believe how simple it is to make.  After browning the beef, add everything but the pasta, cover and simmer then stir in your dried pasta.  This just made it in my 10 inch dutch oven, after cooking the hamburger over a full compliment of coals, I left the bottom coals as is then covered the lid with 22-24 briquettes.  Like a dumb bunny, I forgot to add the pepper but doubled the wagon wheel pasta to a cup because I wanted it more like a stew.  A filling, hearty meal and easy on your pocketbook too. 

Ratatouille Soup
1 lb. ground beef
1 24 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
1 14.5 oz. can beef broth
2 cups water
1 small eggplant, cut into cubes (about 3 1/2 cups)
1 medium zucchini, cut into cubes (about 2 cups)
1 large red OR green pepper, chopped
1/2 to 1 cup uncooked elbow pasta

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Brown beef over a full compliment of coals; drain off any fat.
     Stir the sauce, broth, water, eggplant, zucchini and pepper in dutch oven.
     Cook with as many coals as needed on lid to bring soup to a bubble.
     Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
     Add 1/2 to 1 cup of pasta depending on how thick you like it.
     Cover and continue cooking, stirring halfway, for 15-20 minutes or until pasta is tender.
     Makes 5 two cup servings.

Brown beef over a full compliment of coals

Add vegetables, sauce, broth and water

Simmer for 15-20 minutes then add pasta

Cook for 15-20 minutes more or until pasta is tender

An easy camper's ratatouille

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

West African Vegetable Stew

      I am trying to type this entry while I am scarfing down a big bowl of this amazing West African Vegetable Stew and it is not easy.  A winning recipe from Campbell's, not only is it loaded with healthy ingredients, the flavor is amazing.  The sweetness of the potatoes and cinnamon combined with the heat from the peppers will lull you into a warm, happy place.  I made this in my 10 inch dutch oven with a full compliment of coals on the bottom and the lid covered with 22-24 briquettes.  It cooks in no time flat, just be sure you cut thin slices of the sweet potato.  Get all your veggies of the day in one bowl, serve it over some rice and you'll be fully satisfied.

West African Vegetable Stew
1 Tblsp vegetable OR olive oil
2 large onions, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in half lengthwise and cut into 1/4 inch slices
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 14.5 oz. can chicken OR vegetable broth
1 15 oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach leaves
Hot cooked rice or couscous

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Saute onion and garlic in olive oil over a full spread of coals until onion has softened.
     Add the potatoes and tomatoes to the dutch oven and cook for 5 minutes.
     Stir in the raisins, cinnamon, red pepper, chickpeas and broth.
     Cover with as many coals on the lid as needed to keep stew at a steady simmer.
     Cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
     Stir in the spinach, cover and cook 3-5 minutes or until spinach has wilted.
     Serve with rice or couscous, if desired.
     Makes 4-5 servings.

Saute onions over a full compliment of coals until softened

Cook sweet potato and tomato over high heat for 5 minutes

Add chickpeas, raisins, cinnamon, red pepper flakes and broth

Simmer until sweet potato has softened then add spinach

This vegetarian stew has it all 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Chicken Pesto Bake

     The beauty of this Chicken Pesto Bake from Land O'Lakes is that you can mix everything together in one bowl then pour it in your dutch oven, simple as that.  If you're making it outside, cook the pasta al dente ahead of time, toss with a little olive oil, store it in a zip lock bag then take it to your campsite.  In my 12 inch dutch oven it baked with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and 28 on the lid.  I used panko but you can use fresh bread crumbs or your favorite store bought variety.  Substitute cooked and crumbled Italian sausage for the chicken or even leftover grilled or roasted vegetables.  Very creamy and filling, a great all round dutch oven casserole.

Chicken Pesto Bake
1 16 oz. package uncooked multi-colored rotini pasta
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 cup milk
1/4 cup purchased pesto
1 16 oz. jar Alfredo sauce
1 7 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup cubed fresh Mozzarella cheese (optional)
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 Tblsp butter, melted

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Cook pasta as directed on package; drain.
     Meanwhile, combine chicken, milk, pesto, Alfredo sauce, red peppers and pepper in large bowl.
     Stir in cooked pasta.
     Spread into prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
     Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and butter in small bowl.
     Sprinkle over casserole.
     Continue cooking until edges are bubbly and topping is golden brown (10-15 minutes).
     Makes 6-8 servings.

Mix first 8 ingredients then pour into dutch oven

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes then sprinkle with topping

Continue baking for 15 more minutes or until topping is golden brown

A great pot luck recipe