Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Dutch Oven Sweet & Savory Chicken

This week’s entry was born of convenience. I decided to cook outdoors, since the temperature was to be a balmy 40+ degrees F (that’s about 10 higher than “normal” here in northern utah for this time of year). So, I looked around to see what I could make. Chicken we had in abundance, but what, oh, what to do with it?

I thought of a few ideas, but nothing was really tempting me. I looked in the pantry and got a few thoughts going, and finally settled on a can of pineapple and a can of beans.

Hmmmm... Sweet, savory... It was starting to come together.

A few trips to google for some more ideas, and then we had a final result!

Dutch Oven Sweet & Savory Chicken over Rice

12” Shallow Dutch Oven
20+ coals underneath for sauteing, browning
16-18 coals above, 8-12 coals below for the final cook

8” Dutch Oven
8-10 coals below

1-2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Black pepper
1 tsp Paprika
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
Zest and juice of 3 limes

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, thawed and cubed

Vegetable oil
1-2 medium Onions, diced
4-5 cloves Garlic, minced

2 15oz cans black beans
1-2 20 oz cans Pineapple tidbits
Liberal shakes of:
  Dill weed
Not quite as liberal shakes of:
  Cayenne pepper

3 cups chicken broth (or water, if you don't have broth)
1.5 cups rice

I started by mixing the ingredients of the marinade in a bowl. These measurements are approximate. Then, I cubed the chicken to about 1” cubes, and added the chunks to the bowl, stirring it up. Once the chicken is added, you could put in more honey, soy sauce, and juice to coat the chicken. I set all that aside for an hour or so in the fridge. You could soak it longer, even overnight.

Then, when I was ready to start cooking, I lit up a bunch of coals, and while that was heating up, I diced the onions and minced the garlic. I put my 12” dutch oven on the coals, as listed above, with a little oil, and let that heat up. Since I was going to saute, and then brown the meat, I wanted it to be pretty hot, at least at the start. Once the oil was a bit shimmery, I tossed in the onions and the garlic (if it sizzles a lot when you do this, you were hot enough. If it doesn’t sizzle, wait longer next time.). Then, I sprinkled on a bit of salt and tossed the onions. The salt helps draw out the moisture in addition to upping the flavor ante.

Then, after a few minutes, I tossed in the garlic. Garlic will brown quicker than onions, and can actually burn before the onions are done if you put them in at the same time.

Once the onions were nice and translucent, I put in just a bit more oil, stirred that up and tossed in the chicken. I stirred it frequently, getting it mostly cooked. It doesn’t have to be FULLY cooked through, though, because you’ll be baking it in the final step.

Once the chicken was cooked on the outside, I added the beans and the pineapple (you can adjust the amounts based on how big your Dutch oven is, how much chicken you used, and how many you’re feeding.  Then, I added in all of the flavorings, put on the lid, and adjusted the coals for the final cooking stage, some on top and some on the bottom. From then on, I only had to stir it occasionally, and check the taste for the adjustment of the seasonings.

While that was cooking, I put the broth and the rice in the 8” Dutch Oven, and set it on its own coals. In this blog entry, I talk about how to cook rice accurately every time!  The other chicken recipe is also great and something you might want to do sometime!
Once it was all cooked, it felt a bit too liquid-y to me, so I took the lid off and piled fresh coals underneath and simmered it for a bit to reduce the liquid. You could also sprinkle in some cornstarch and stir, too.

Finally, I served it up on the plate of rice with a bit of salad on the side! It was amazing!

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

Saturday, June 3, 2017

New Book! Beginner's Dutch Oven Cookbook

Exciting stuff!  A new book is released!  This one is co-written by myself and my friend Matt Pelton. He's an amazing Dutch oven Chef, and a IDOS World Champ. He and I both contributed a lot of recipes from our old books, blogs, and a lot of new ones, too!

This one will be available on June 13. Check it out! Click the image to the left and buy the book at Amazon.com

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

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Curryish Seafood Soup in a Dutch Oven

It was Mother’s Day, and I wanted to cook something both unique and exciting. It had to be low in Weight Watcher’s points (my wife and I are both on that program, now), and it had to be made with what we had on hand (I don’t like to go shopping on Sundays).

So, that’s all a pretty tall order. I looked through the fridge and freezer, and found some proteins (the seafood), a lot of seemingly random veggies in the fridge, and of course, our own pretty well stocked spice cabinet and pantry. I started to get an idea in my head. I would make a tomato-based soup, combining all of the seafood and veggies, and using curry spices. I don’t know that it’s really an “authentic” curry, but it ended up tasting GREAT!  Maybe you could call it “Indian Fusion”... Whatever that means.

Mark's Curryish Seafood Soup

12” shallow Dutch oven
20 + coals below to sautee
14-16 coals below to simmer

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Medium Onions, diced or sliced
3-4 Stalks Celery, diced
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 Peanuts, shelled, roasted or not

4 Cups Poultry stock
1 lb Shrimp, peeled, deveined
1-2 lbs of other seafood, like Salmon and/or tilapia filets
1 6oz Can Tomato paste
1 8oz Can Tomato sauce
1 14oz Can Coconut milk
1-2 8oz Cans Water chestnuts, drained

Curry powder
Chili powder
Lemon juice
Tomato powder (optional)

Start out by thawing everything. I keep my homemade stock frozen in old drinking water bottles, so I have to let it melt. The seafood was also frozen.

Once those were thawed, I got some coals on. While they were getting hot, I diced the veggies.  I put the Dutch oven on the coals listed for the saute, and drizzled in the oil. Once that was nice and hot, I tossed in the veggies, stirring them frequently.  The salt helps with the flavor, and it also draws out the moisture. I had read that indian spices are more flavorful if you “activate” them in hot oil for a few minutes first. Next time I do this, I’ll shake in the curry powder as the oil is heating. I’ll see if that makes any difference.

Once the onions are translucent, and the celery is getting a little softer, I added in the the second set of ingredients. I adjusted the coals for the simmering phase. Really, I just let the coals keep burning down, and I don’t replenish them quite as much. If it gets boiling too vigorously, I’ll pull some coals out, or just wait a while before adding any fresh coals.

Also, when I start the simmering phase, I keep the lid on. This traps the heat and helps it get up to boiling a little quicker. After it’s simmering, I take the lid off. I stirred it every 15 minutes or so, breaking up the fish filets, and making sure that the bottom isn’t burning.

After about 45 minutes or so, I added in the flavorings in the final set of ingredients. I went pretty liberal with the spices, etc.  I added a little of each one, then after 10 minutes or so, tasted it, and added any that I thought were lacking. Go easy on the hot pepper/chili powder at first, because you can always add more heat, but you can’t take it out.

I want to explain the tomato powder! About a year ago, I wanted to make some dried tomatoes, like the ones that get packaged in small jars of olive oil. They’re almost fully dried, but not quite. So, I cut up some tomatoes and put them on bread cooling racks in my oven. I set the oven to the lowest possible setting, propped the door slightly open, and went on about my business. Well, I let it go too long, and the poor tomatoes ended up almost burned. But a moment of inspiration hit me, and I ground them up in my blender, and made it into a powder. It has a delicious, smoky tomato flavor!  I like using it a lot, and, in fact, I’m almost out, so I think it’s time to make more!

When the cauliflower is soft, and the flavors are all well-stewed together, you can call it done! Serve it up with some fresh-baked bread!

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


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