Monday, August 25, 2008

Chicken in the Dutch Ovens this Weekend

I took a day off work today. Today is my 21rst wedding anniversary! That means that 21 years ago, in the Salt Lake Temple, my wife accepted me, and for reasons that I’m still not sure of, hasn’t kicked me to the curb yet. It was kinda special for us, because a good friend of ours got married on Saturday, in the same temple. All the time I was there, and at the reception, I kept thinking back to our wedding. At the reception, the groom had asked me to sing a couple of my songs, so I did a few that I wrote for Jodi. One of them, “The Summer of ‘87” is a celebration of the memories of the summer leading up to our wedding.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to cook this week. Our family finances have been pretty stretched out recently and it’s been difficult. That meant I couldn’t go out and splurge on all kinds of fancy ingredients. But still, I wanted to cook some things for our anniversary. My wife had bought a chicken for cooking (whole), and so I thought it would be fun to roast it. And, of course, once the roast chicken is carved, then you gotta make stock and soup out of the carcass. So, it’s been a chicken weekend!

Dutch Oven Herb Roasted Chicken

12” deep dutch oven

9-10 coals below
17-18 coals above

  • 1 roasting chicken (about 5 lbs)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

  • 2 large potatoes, quartered and sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2-3 sprigs celery with leaves, sliced
  • 1-2 crumbled bay leaves
  • Parsley
  • Salt and Pepper

  • ½ Cup butter, melted
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Minced garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime

I started with the chicken itself. After unwrapping it and shaking out all the liquid, I gave it a light coating of salt and pepper. I set that into the center of the 12” deep dutch oven. Around that, I added all the sliced veggies and all the stuff in the second set of ingredients. I really should pay attention to exactly how much of each herb and/or spice I include, but I don’t. I just shake some in. I’m learning that you should really just be liberal with them.

The next step was to make the baste out of the third set of ingredients. I got out my basting brush and slathered that onto the chicken. I like to poke holes in the chicken skin, too, to let the bastes drip down into the meat more. I put that on the coals.

From then on, it was simply a matter of keeping fresh coals on the chicken. I would open up the dutch oven about every 15-20 minutes and slap on some more basting sauce. It cooked pretty steadily for about 2 to 2 ½ hours. I stuck a small meat thermometer in the breast and cooked it to 190 degrees. I looked it up, and the chart Jodi found said it was done at 180, but I just hadn’t been paying attention, and it got all the way up to 190. I hope I’m not in trouble for that!

Then I just carved up the bird, and served it with the potatoes and vegetables that cooked alongside it. It was delicious! Very moist and tender. That’s one thing I love about cooking birds in the dutch oven. The lid traps the steam, so the meat doesn’t dry out.

I saved the bones and the leftover meat for then the next day, when I made…

Dutch Oven Chicken Noodle Soup

12” Shallow Dutch Oven

Lots of coals below

  • 1 Formerly 5 lb chicken carcass

  • 2-3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1-2 large carrots, sliced
  • ~1/4 cup lemon juice
  • More salt and pepper

  • Noodles

I started out by putting the carcass of the previous day’s roast into the 12” shallow dutch oven, with about 2-3 inches of water. I had lit up a lot of coals, and I shook them out and arranged them on my little cooking table. The carcass and the water went on that.

After about a half hour, it was boiling away. While that was boiling, I was making noodles. I went back to the black pot archives and did the herb garlic handmade pasta. I set some of the pasta aside to dry up a bit before cooking. If you don’t want to make your own pasta, you can just use it from a bag. But making it yourself is soooo much fun.

Then, I pulled the dutch oven off the coals. I took the bones of the chicken and picked off as much meat as I could. The meat I put back into the broth. The broth, by the was was permeated with all the spices and herbs that I’d used the previous day. If you don’t have the remains of a picked over chicken to boil up, you can cube up some frozen chicken breasts and boil them to make the broth. If you do, then add some of the herbs in that I used yesterday. Or any others that you want to add yourself. Go for it. It’s your soup, ya know…

Then, with just the meat and the broth left, I put that back on the coals, and came inside to slice up the veggies. Those went into the pot. Once it was boiling, I added the noodles. I made the mistake of stirring it right away, so the noodles broke up a bit too short, but they were still good.

It doesn’t take long to cook pasta fresca. I probably should have let the veggies cook a little longer before adding them. I would recommend about 20 minutes or so on the veggies once it starts boiling again, and then add the pasta for another 5 minutes or so.

If it’s too runny for your tastes, add a tich of flour and stir it all up. Then pull it off and serve it! Yum!

1 comment:

  1. Boy, I sure can relate to things being tight. Just go to your favorite store and ask them how many price changes they had this week and how many went down in price! Answer: They all went up and we had double or tripe the usual amount of increases.

    Your streching out the roasted chicken is just what we are looking for at our house!

    Last bu not least - Congratulations on your 21 years of marriage!!!!




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