Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dutchin' for the Folks!

My parents came into town last week, and today I got the chance to cook for them. I really enjoy cooking for myself and my family, but there’s something really cool about sharing that with others. It’s a little bit service, a little bit showing off, a little bit stressful, and a little bit relaxing.

One of the most “gourmet” of dishes that I’ve made is my lemon salmon and rice. It’s a recipe that I created from a recipe for baked chicken and rice that I found in a DO cookbook somewhere. It’s one of those dishes that looks great when it’s all put together before you bake it, and looks even better when it’s all done.

I’m also preparing for my first DO cookoff, to happen next weekend here in Eagle Mountain. I have no idea what to expect, since I’ve never, ever done one of these things before. I’ve never done a gathering, nor a competition. I’ve pretty much cooked it all and learned it all on my own. So, I’m excited to see how other people do it, to see if I’m doing it “right”!

In the cookoff, I have to do two dishes: an entrĂ©e, and a bread. So, I tried it today. I tried to break down all the steps so that I could have both be done at about the same time, but that didn’t work out. But at least, both tasted great.

Baked Salmon and Rice

12” DO

8-9 coals below
16 coals above

3-5 Good sized portions of salmon (1 for each person eating)
1 1/2 Cups Rice
2 1/2 Cups chicken broth
2 cans Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 medium onions
1/2 cup mushrooms
2 stalks celery, sliced
chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 lemon, sliced
black pepper (preferably coarse ground, or, better, fresh ground)

  1. Pour rice and broth into a 12” DO. Mix in the Cream of Mushroom soup (It doesn’t need to be well blended).
  2. Mix the onions, mushrooms, celery, and garlic together, and layer on top of the rice.
  3. Lay the fish on top of the veggies in a circle.
  4. Slice the lemon and put one or two slices on top of each piece of fish. Put about a half tbsp of butter on each fish piece.
  5. Salt and pepper (I like it pretty liberal with the pepper). Sprinkle in the parsley, and I like a spritz or two of Worcestershire sauce.
  6. Bake at 350 until meat and rice are done (about 40 min to 1 hr). The fish will be steamed. The juice cells in the lemons will burst and drip lemon juice down into the fish. Yummmmm

Then, along side of that, I baked these rolls (they’re adapted from a recipe in a DO cookbook. The book makes it all garlic with parmesan, but I just make the rolls. They’re really good that way):

Amazing Rolls

12” DO (I used my deep one)

7 coals underneath
14 coals above

1 tbsp yeast
½ cup warm water
1 cup melted butter (melt a half cup first, then another half later on)
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 cup milk
5+ cups flour

  1. Mix the yeast and the water, and let it stand for 15 minutes or so, letting it activate the yeast and foam up.
  2. In your mixing bowl, add ½ cup of the melted butter, the eggs, the sugar, and the salt.
  3. Add the milk, and stir it all up
  4. Add the yeast & water, stir that all up.
  5. Add 5 cups of flour, stirring as you go to make a smooth dough ball. Then add more as needed to get the right consistency. The original recipe didn’t say to, but I kneaded it in the bowl for five minutes or so.
  6. Cover the dough with a damp cloth, and set the mixing bowl somewhere warm (in the summer, I just use the back porch) for a couple of hours. Let the dough ball double in bulk.
  7. Then, I break off chunks somewhere between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball, and arrange them in the bottom of a greased DO.
  8. spread the other ½ cup of melted butter liberally over the dough balls
  9. Bake for about an hour with the suggested coals.

The tricky part about baking, I’ve discovered, is heat management. It’s got to be hot, but if it’s too hot, then it burns above and below, and is still doughy in the middle. If it’s not hot enough, it never cooks at all. The sad thing is, I don’t think you can learn how to regulate it by reading a blog. The only way is to try it on your own, following the directions as close as you can, and see if it works. It took me three tries to make good bread. Fortunately, this recipe was one of the winners!

(Extra note, added later: Any time you're cooking more that 45 minutes or so, I've found that I'll have to add more coals. I keep a stack of burning briquettes off to the side of my cooking area and replenish it by 4-5 coals at a time, just to keep a good fresh supply and maintain the heat on the ovens.)

It IS critical to turn the oven every 15 minutes or so. Just lift the oven by the wire and turn it about a quarter turn, then turn the lid a quarter turn back the other direction. This assures that the bread isn’t over or under the same hot spots for the whole baking period. Another thing I did was to cook the last fifteen or so minutes with top heat only.

I’m not sure how to describe these rolls, but they’re a little bit denser than normal, and the flavor is really sweet.

My folks loved it! Hope yours do, too!


  1. Good luck with your competition. A cooking method I use is the two-thirds method when cooking bread and/or sweets that tend to burn. A method I found in "Lovin' Dutch Ovens" by Joan S Larsen, page 20. Basically you cook the dish with charcoal with top and bottom heat for two-thirds of the cooking time then finish the dish with just the top heat by pulling the DO off the bottom coals. I've eliminated a lot of burnt bottoms using this method.

    I have a question about your roll recipe. Do you proof the rolls after putting the pieces of dough in the DO or do you start cooking them right away?

    DOC Opa

  2. Hey, thanks for the suggestion! I'll try that today!

    As for the question, I'm not sure what "proofing" means...



  4. Ah! Thanks for the link. Now I get it!

    In this particular recipe, I've just baked it. Let it rise as a big dough ball, then form the smaller balls for each roll, put them in the DO and bake them.

    It's a slower, cooler bake than most breads I've seen, so maybe it takes that into account...



Related Posts with Thumbnails