Thursday, November 14, 2013

An Easy Thanksgiving Dinner

     I'm trying something different today, instead of posting individual recipes I thought I would share with you the steps I took to prepare a complete dinner in my dutch ovens.  For those of you who are experienced dutch oven cooks, this may be old hat, especially when you are used to stacking and rotating several or many ovens at one time.  I prefer not to stack my ovens, I feel I can control the temperature better that way but often it's a necessity especially if you're short on time and space.
     Timing is everything in the kitchen and also when you're juggling a few dishes in your dutch ovens.  I'm going to post the recipes over the next few days but for now I'm going to share with you the menu and the steps I took to prepare this easy but very delicious dinner. If you don't have the time or equipment to roast a turkey in a dutch oven, game hens can be prepared in half the time and your guests are bound to be impressed.  I was the chief cook and bottle washer but depending on how much help you have, you may prefer to light a larger batch of coals, put everything on at once and stack your ovens.

The Menu
Orange-Glazed Cornish Game Hens
Autumn Acorn Squash
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans
Caramel Apple Cinnamon Dump Cake

     The first thing I did was light the coals for the acorn squash. 
     In the fifteen minutes it took to ignite the coals, I prepared the squash in my 12 inch oven, then placed them on the heat.
     I lit the second batch of briquettes for the hens and while they were lighting I cut, glazed and readied them for the coals.
     Once I placed the hens on the coals I had thirty minutes to clean up the kitchen and prepare the Brussels sprouts.
     After 30 minutes, I lit another batch of coals with enough for the sprouts and the extra briquettes I needed for the lid of the game hens.
     Fifteen minutes later, I placed the sprouts on the coals, basted the hens with the remaining glaze and replaced their top coals with freshly lit briquettes.
     In the meantime I let the squash sit with enough heat from it's dwindling coals to keep it warm.
     In thirty minutes the hens were ready, the sprouts had roasted and the squash was perfectly tender.
     Once everyone had been served, I cleaned out my 12 inch dutch oven, relit another batch of coals, tossed together the dump cake and went back to enjoy dinner.
     In 50 minutes the apple cake was browned and bubbling and my guests were ready for a nice warm dessert.