Saturday, November 7, 2015

Dutch Oven Curry Mint Chicken

I’m honestly not really sure where the inspiration for this dish came from. My son, in his culinary classes in high school, had to learn how to and practice carving up a chicken (called “fabricating”). He had shown me one way to do this about a year ago, but this time, he’d learned a way with some slight variations. He showed me this new way, and I took pictures along the way, so I’ll probably include all that here in the blog eventually. It’s a very useful skill to have.

So, of course, as he was practicing these skills, we had a bunch of chicken on hand that needed to be used for something, right? Not gonna throw it away, right?

12” shallow Dutch oven
10-12 coals below
16-18 coals above

Whole chicken, cut up or about 3-5 lbs of chicken parts

1 1/2 - 2 cups plain yogurt
1 Tbsp Curry powder
~ 1 Tbsp Garlic powder
~ 1 tsp Salt
a few shakes Chili powder
~1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves


The first step is to prepare the meat.  If you’re cutting up a whole chicken, that would probably take about a half hour. Since the breasts were the largest pieces of the chicken, I cut each one in half, so that it was about the same size as a thigh. Once it was all cut up into pieces, I made sure they were dry, and seasoned each piece with salt and pepper. I set these aside.

If you don’t carve up a whole chicken, you can just use packaged breasts, thighs, or other pieces. You can use frozen chicken pieces, too, but make sure that they’re well-thawed and patted dry. Then season them and set them aside.

The next step was to mix up the baste. I started with the yogurt. Someday, I’d like to try this with greek-style yogurt, because I really like the texture. But this particular week, I didn’t like the price, so I just went with generic plain yogurt. I mixed in the curry powder and stirred that in. Different manufacturers make different curry powders. Some are more yellow, others, more red. Some are hot, some are more mild and zingy. You can adapt to whatever you’ve got as long as you taste along the way. Then, I added the other spices and flavorings, stirring and tasting as I went.

Decide in advance how hot you want to result to be, and shoot for that level with the chili powder. Be cautious with it. Add a little, taste, then add a little more, etc... Be aware that the yogurt will cool the capsaicin a little, so the heat will come on kind of as an after taste.

Finally, be liberal with the mint. That adds a rich coolness to the tang of the yogurt and the spice of the curry and chilli powder.

Then, I went out and lit up the coals.  While they were getting glowy, I chopped up the onions and potatoes into 1” sized chunks and tossed them together into the Dutch oven. They’ll be delicious, and will lift the chicken up out of the juices that will gather at the bottom.

The last step is to layer the chicken pieces over the onions and potatoes, and the thickly slather the yogurt mix over the top of the chicken. Close up the lid, add the coals above and below and begin baking.

I cooked them until they were at an internal temperature of about 175℉. Chicken is actually safe to eat at around 160, but if you cook it longer, it falls off the bone more, and is more done. It won’t dry out in a Dutch oven, because the heavy lid traps the moisture. It took about 40-50 minutes for it to be done. About half-way, I put on more baste.

In the end, it was delicious! The leftovers the next day were even more flavorful, as the herbs absorbed deeper into the yogurt.

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Simple Dutch Oven Roast Chicken

Roasting a chicken in a Dutch oven is a very easy thing to do. It looks complex but it’s not. The end result is delicious and an easily feed a family, probably even with a little left over.

I did this a couple of weeks ago, and reminded myself how wonderful and impressive this is.

12” Deep Dutch oven
10-12 coals below
14-16 coals above

1 whole chicken (thawed, if you bought it frozen)

dried parsley
dried rosemary
dried sage
a touch of crushed red pepper

2-3 large potatoes
2-3 medium to large onions.

1 14 oz can green beans (optional)
1 14 oz can whole corn (optional)

First, I got the coals lit, and let them start to get white and hot. Then, I got the chicken ready.  I opened the package and let the chicken drain. I rinsed it off, then padded it dry with paper towels. poked the skin over the breast and the legs with holes so that the juices and flavors could penetrate the meat.

I sprinkled on the seasonings of the second set of ingredients, then drizzled on a little oil. I rubbed that over the surface of the chicken. I don’t list amounts here because I didn’t really pay attention to that as I was sprinkling them over the bird. Just be liberal. Except with the red pepper. Be more cautious there, if you don’t like heat.

If you’re the more precise type of chef, you could mix the spices as a blend first, tasting along the way, to get the exact blend you want.

Then, I cubed up the potatoes and the onions into 1” or 3/4” blocks and tossed them into the bottom of the Dutch oven. This will help flavor the dish, and lift the chicken up above the heat and the juices as it cooks. Plus, the potatoes and onions make great sides to add to your plates.

I put the dutch oven onto the coals, and started cooking. This is a fun kind of cooking, because I sit there and watch the coals burn. All the while, I can tell people, “Don’t bother me, I’m cooking.” Great times. Actually, it’s not a bad idea to stay with it, because you’re going to need to replenish the coals from time to time.

I cooked it for about 2 hours, total. I cooked it to an internal temperature of 175-180. In a traditional indoor oven, cooking it that long will usually dry it out. But in a Dutch oven, the juices are all trapped under the heavy lid. I cook it that long because then not only is the meat done and tender, but it also falls off the bone and the connecting tissue is broken down.

If you want some veggies as a side dish, the easiest way to do that is to drain a can of green beans and a can of corn, mix them together and pour it around the sides of the chicken when there’s only about 15-20 minutes left in the cooking.

An even better option would be to use fresh beans and fresh corn. If you do that, snap the beans, and shuck the corn. You could either cut the corn off the cob, or break the cobs into short lengths. If you use fresh veggies, add them when there’s 30-45 minutes left in the cook time.

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.

Dutch Oven Artichoke and Veggie Chicken

My wife and I recently got invited to attend an awards dinner. Unfortunately, we weren’t the ones receiving any awards. Oh, well. Someday, I’ll get to thank the Academy and all the little people that have helped me along the way...


But the dinner was great! It was this delicious chicken breast surrounded by veggies. It had a bit of citrus and acidic twang to it, too. So, I thought I’d give it a try in my Dutch ovens, along with some variations. These mostly come in the form of the various veggies you can add in, depending on what you’ve got.

I decided to serve it all on a bed of brown rice, which was also different from the formal dinner we attended.

12” Dutch oven
24+ coals below for searing stage
10-12 below for baking stage
24-26 above

8” Dutch oven
12+ coals below

6-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (we buy them frozen in a bag). Make sure these are well-thawed.
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Dried parsley
Dried oregano
2-3 medium to large potatoes
1-2 medium to large onions

Vegetables to put on top
1 bottle or can (about 14oz) brined or pickled artichoke hearts
15-20 cherry tomatoes
2-3 stalks celery
2-3 carrots

1-2 lemons

2 cups brown rice
4 cups water
a cube of chicken bullion

The first step was to prepare the chicken, which I did while the coals and the Dutch oven were getting hot. I made sure that the chicken was well-thawed, and pat dry with paper towels. One problem with chicken breasts is that the middle is much thicker than the edges, so it’s a little more difficult to regulate the cooking. If I were to do this again, I would pound the chicken a little thinner with one of those meat tenderizer mallets. Not so flat like you do for a cordon bleu or some other kind of roll-up, but just so that it’s not so thick in the middle.  Then I drizzled on some oil, and rubbed in the spices and herbs, onto both sides.

I put a lot (a couple of dozen) of coals underneath my Dutch oven, and I let it get really hot with a little oil drizzled on the bottom.

Once it was hot, I set in 3-4 of the breasts and let them sear a little on each side. Then, I pulled those out, let the Dutch oven heat up again (you might even want to replenish the coals) , and I finished the remaining 3-4 breasts. They should have a little brown and the spice rub should be nicely cooked on. It’s OK if it’s not cooked all the way through, though. We’re going to bake it still.

Then, I set up the Dutch oven with the coals configured for baking (the second set of numbers above). I cubed up the potatoes into large chunks about 3/4” to 1” big. Then I cut up the onions into big 1/8th chunks. By that, I mean, I cut each onion in half, and then each half into quarters. All of these got tossed into the bottom of the Dutch oven and stirred up a bit, to coat with the oil.

On top of that, I layered the browned chicken breasts, and I arranged them so that they were overlapping as little as possible. I put on the lid and put on the coals for baking.

Then I started slicing up the other veggies. They should be sliced thin, on the bias, if possible, so that there isn’t much thickness and they can cook more quickly. I chopped and diced the artichoke hearts coarsely, just to make the bits a little smaller. I cut the cherry tomatoes in half once. Then, I scattered all of these over the chicken breasts. I poured the artichoke brine over the chicken as well, and, after zesting one of the lemons, added the zest and the juice of the lemons as well. I let that cook for about a half hour.

Making the rice is easy, too. I added the rice, the bouillon, salt, and the water to the Dutch oven and set it, with the lid on, on the coals specified. I watched for it to start venting steam out from the side of the lid, showing me that it was boiling. I gave it about another 10-12 minutes before removing it from the coals. Without lifting the lid, I just set it aside to cool down and to finish cooking. I let it go for quite a while, because brown rice takes longer to cook than white rice. I had to resist the temptation to lift the lid and check it! I wanted the steam to stay in and cook the rice.

When it was all done, and time to serve, it smelled delicious, and looked great. I spread a bit of rice on the plate, then added the chicken breast and the veggies. I scooped a bit of potato and onion onto the plate, too, then drizzled some of the broth liquid from the bottom of the Dutch oven over the entire entree. It was a great meal!

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his MoBoy blog.


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