Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Bacon and Date Scones

     If you have ever savored a bacon wrapped date as an hors d'oeuvre, you are going to love these sweet and savory scones.  From Bon Appetit, this recipe makes just the right amount for your 10 inch dutch oven.  Rather than kneading, patting out the dough and cutting it into wedges, I took the easy way out and plopped spoonfuls of batter right into my well oiled oven.  They baked for 20 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 24-26 on the lid.  Don't worry if they fuse together while baking, just cut them while they're hot and allow them to cool a bit before removing from your oven. 

Bacon and Date Scones
10 slices thick-cut bacon
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted Medjool dates
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup buttermilk
Raw sugar for sprinkling tops of scones

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until cooked through but still tender and not crisp.
     Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain; cool.
     Pour bacon drippings from skillet into small heatproof bowl and reserve.
     Coarsely chop cooled bacon.
     In large bowl, whisk flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt until well combined.
     Using pastry blender or two knives cut cold butter into flour until mixture resembles small crumbs.
     Add bacon and dates to flour mixture; mix until well combined.
     Add buttermilk, stir until just combined.
     Drop dough by large spoonfuls into prepared dutch oven.
     Brush with reserved bacon drippings and sprinkle with raw sugar.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
     Allow to cool slightly before removing from oven.
     Makes 7-8 scones.

Spoon batter into well oiled oven then brush with
bacon drippings and sprinkle with sugar

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes

A sensational combination of flavors in a flaky, buttery scone

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