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