Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Let's go Dutch

The Dutch I'm speak about is my new found love, Dutch Oven cooking. This is not that chic little Mario Batali number they sell at Crate and Barrel, nope it's the original outdoor cooking pot. They say the West would not have been settled without it. Since we do a lot of camping I decided I'd give it a try.

This will be a method much more than a recipe.

For hardware you need:
  • Outdoor Dutch Oven with a flanged lid and bottom legs that allow you to place your coals
  • Heavy gloves
  • Charcoal and a way to light it, I used the chimney
  • Long tongs
  • A lid lifter; my darling made mine
  • and all the other normal cooking tools

Here's the software:
  • three chicken thighs
  • three chicken Italian sausages
  • fresh thyme
  • chopped onion, celery, and garlic
  • 1 cup of raw rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
Once I started the coals I put all 21 of them under the pot. This gave me enough heat to brown the mean and saute the vegetables.

I did remove the skin from the chicken thighs as it gets rubbery when cooked. After adding the chicken broth and bringing it to a boil I then redistributed the coals.

When you bake you want more on top than the bottom so 14 on top and 7 on the bottom should keep the pot at about 325/50 degrees.

Now to keep everything from burning I gave the lid a quarter turn each fifteen minutes and the pot every 30 minutes. After 30 minutes I lifted the lid and gave everything a stir. It was boiling, not simmer so I removed the lid to vent a bit of the heat. After it stopped boiling I replaced the lid for another 15 minutes. After 45 minutes I removed all the coals and let it set while I finished the rest of my dinner. Cast iron retains heat quite well so it stayed nice and warm.

Because I cooked the rice too hot it blew apart and was a bit mushy. I might cut back on the broth, too. Less coals is what was needed and more checking. There is a fine line with the checking; too much and you lose heat.

Chicken, rice and sausage, what was I thinking. It did need a little color and next time I'd add some red pepper or mushrooms and definitely some chopped parsley for a better presentation.

There is a lot of ash from the coals and I should have had a little whisk brush to get rid of them. I'll add that to my list. Also, lifting the lid must be done with care as not to add the ash to dinner. I never tasted any in this go around.

All in all, it was fun and I plan to take it with us next time we go out in the tear drop. I think I'll need more practice before I try making biscuits or rolls or maybe cornbread, though. When camping there were many who tried cakes and desserts. Some were good and other, well I'll have to try before I criticize.


"The Outdoor Cook" said...

Great to see anothe future Dutch oven newbee form the addiction. Be warned, you end up with more black pots than you know what to do with!!!

Enjoyed your new love.....

Memaw's memories said...

I'm impressed. Looks like you did a great job.

Sometimes there's a cooking show that is based on a chuckwagon and they do a lot of cooling in the dutch ovens.

wheresmymind said...

You totally should throw those thighs on the grill at the last minute!

Moon said...

Jeff! Welcome back.

You are so right about grilling to add some color but we were hungry. I'm surprised I got a final pix.