Sunday, November 4, 2007

Dutch Oven Chicken Rolls, Au Gratin Potatoes

I just can’t figure out the chimney.

A long time ago, I got one of those metal cylinders with the handle on it, and it’s supposed to make it so that you can light charcoal and heat it up more quickly. Supposedly, you should be able to put some newspaper underneath, coals on top, and light it. The flames, they say, from the paper ignite the charcoal, and the convection of air through the holes in the bottom carry the heat upwards, igniting the rest of the charcoal and getting it good and hot.

Even though that’s what is supposed to happen, it’s never, ever worked for me.

Well, today, I found that I was out of lighter fluid (it’s what I usually use). So, I thought I’d give it one more try. I tried all kinds of configurations. Newspaper below, charcoal above was one. Another was newspaper below, then charcoal, then newspaper, then more charcoal…

Nothing. The paper burned beautifully. Never caught the charcoal. What am I doing wrong?

Finally, I just went to a neighbor and borrowed some starter fluid. Then it lit right up.

I made two dishes today. One was a recipe for Cashew Chicken. After deciding to do it, I realized that I didn’t have half the ingredients, including the cashews. So, I just sort of muddled through with what I had. It did turn out pretty well, all things considered. The second was for Au Gratin Potatoes. They both turned out great.

Dutch Oven Cream Cheese Chicken Rolls (Without Cashews)

8” Dutch Oven
12” Dutch Oven

Lots of coals, once it really gets cooking in the 12” dutch oven, 8-9 below and 16-18 or so on top

But first, I marinaded some boneless, skinless chicken breasts. I did five. You can really pick up whatever commercial marinade you happen to have. This time, I used a Ginger & Sesame marinade with some minced garlic and a lot of lemon juice. Italian dressing with some extra seasonings would work great, too. I let that marinade for a couple of hours.

Then, in the 8” dutch oven, with 8 coals below and 8 above, I combined:

  • 1 8oz brick of cream cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small can mushrooms
  • 1-2 diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 Stalks of celery, finely chopped.
  • ½ jalapeno, chopped
  • Liberal shakes of grated parmesan

I let that simmer until the cream cheese melted.

Then, I took the chicken breasts out of the marinade. I took one and pounded it flat between two sheets of wax paper. Then I put a couple of spoonfuls of the sauce from the 8” dutch oven and put it in the center of the flattened chicken. I folded it over and secured it with a couple of toothpicks. Then I rolled it in whipped egg, and then into crushed crackers. This I set in one of my 12” shallow dutch ovens. Four more rolls were made the same way.

Then I poured the rest of the sauce from the 8” dutch oven over the chicken rolls. In retrospect, I might have saved that and poured it over to serve, after the chicken was done. Not sure.

Anyway, it went on the coals and cooked for about 45 minutes. It turned out really good!

Dutch Oven Au Gratin Potatoes

12” dutch oven

8-9 coals below
16-18 coals above

  • 1 package bacon
  • 4-5 medium to large potatoes
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • liberal shakes of parsley, salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 6 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups grated cheese

This dish I started by putting a 12” dutch oven over about 20 coals or so. I fried the bacon pretty crispy.

While that was frying, I quartered and sliced the potatoes and chopped up the onions. All of this went into a bow with all of the dry ingredients.

Once the bacon was done, I poured off most of the grease, and added the bowl mix. I also added the milk and the grated cheese. It all got stirred up and put on the coals as listed above. It also cooked about 45 minutes, until the potatoes were soft.

That was actually just about the same time as the chicken was done, so I brought both pots in, and sprinkled another half cup of grated cheese on the potatoes. That melted pretty quickly, and by that time everyone had gathered and was ready to eat.


  1. Mark I'm back online with my Blogs and wouldn't you know it? My calendar is filling up for 2008! I've got D.o. events for 5 or 6 months already! Great recipes! My mouth is watering!

  2. How are you putting the paper in the starter? Are you crumbling it up tight? Alton Brown (my hero!) recommends lubing the paper with just a wee squirt or two of cooking oil (and if you have a DO, you've got oil!) to make the paper burn longer.

  3. Thanks for the help! You know, I've tried it with the paper packed tight, I've tried it with the paper packed loose, I've even tried it layered (paper on the bottom, coals, paper in the middle, more coals). The only way it works is if I douse it all in lighter fluid.

    Once it's lit, I like how it spreads the burning to the unlit coals more evenly than just stacking them up.

    But I can't seem to get it working with paper to save my life.


  4. Thanks for the recipe for the au gratin potatoes, it was great. I use the chimmey starter all the time. I'm not sure, haven't watched you, but it sounds like you might be putting the paper down into the chimmey and not putting it up into the bottom. If that makes sense. I loosely crumble two sheets of newspaper and push it into the bottom of the starter. Set the chimmey upright and pour in the charcoal, light the paper and in a short time all the brickets are burning nicely.

  5. I like to use the chimney method. I find most of the time it doesn't quite work very well if I just start the paper and check back 15 minutes later. What does work is loosely packing the paper in the bottom and lighting it. I let it burn for a couple minutes. Then I grab the handle and lift up the chimney and tuck some more crumbled up paper in the bottom. Usually doing this a couple times will get all the coals going. I love the fact that I'm commenting on this about 10 years after the original post!



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