Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dutch Oven Chicken Noodle Soup with Handmade Noodles

This weekend, a number of factors played into what I ended up making for our Sunday dinner.  First, my father-in-law was coming over, so I wanted it to be something very yummy.  Second, it’s getting colder, so it would need to be something warm and comforting.  I also was thinking about my upcoming book, “Around the World...”  I was thinking about the handmade pasta recipes, and how hard it is to describe the process.  I thought it would be cool to make a video of the mixing and rolling.

Chicken Noodle Soup!  That would be a perfect dish to satisfy all three requirements!  I hadn’t made noodles by hand in a long time, so I thought it would be fun to do that again.

The Noodles

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 Tbsp parsley, basil, or oregano (or a combination).
6 eggs

The process was just like I did back in the day: http://www.marksblackpot.com/2008/05/dutch-oven-herb-fettuccini-with-creamy.html  The recipe was a little different, but not much.  I used just eggs instead of eggs and water this time.  Here’s the video.  It makes more sense when you watch it than it does when you just read about it.

The Soup

12” Dutch Oven

20+ coals below

3-4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4-6 cups water (to fill the dutch oven about half-way)

The pasta from step 1

3-4 Carrots
1-2 Medium onions
3-4 stalks celery
1-2 sweet peppers
Juice of 1 lemon

I started by lighting up some coals, and getting those under the Dutch oven (with the lid on) with the chicken and the water.  I just let that boil until the chicken was essentially cooked all the way through.  I wasn’t too concerned, because it would cook more in the soup.  While that was happening, I was chopping up the veggies.

Once it was done, I pulled the chicken breasts out, and refreshed the coals underneath.  I put the lid back on and let the broth come up to a good, energetic boil.  I added in the pasta, and replaced the lid.  After a few minutes, I stirred it gently.  I didn’t want it to cook too much, too quickly.

Then, I added in all the veggies.  I cut the meat into chunks and added that back in.  I added in the flavorings and seasonings, and just let it simmer with the lid on until the veggies were soft.

It was a delicious soup!  A big hit with the family and the father-in-law.  Because there was big chunks of veggies, meat, and lots of noodles, it was a very hearty and filling dish.  The residual flour on the noodles and the starch of the noodles themselves helped to thicken the broth, too.

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Beef and Brussels in the Dutch Oven

One thing I’ve enjoyed a lot lately in my cooking is to challenge myself to take an ingredient or a dish that I hated as a kid and see if I can do it well enough to say, “I like it!”  This week, it’s brussels sprouts!

Like all the others (asparagus, broccoli, etc...) I didn’t dive in without some research. I got a lot of ideas.  This would be a momentous occasion.  I didn’t want it to just have it be a simple side dish.  I thought about various meats that would help make it a main dish, and In the end, I thought that the bitter tones of the sprouts would go best paired up with beef.  Many of the recipes I checked out included bacon as well, and I liked that combination.  So, I stuck with that as well.  Portobello mushrooms are very beefy, too, so that was an obvious one, too.

There was a lot of various ways of cooking them, too.  Most of my friends and my research warned against overcooking them.  In the end, I decided to do it like a stir fry.

Beef and Brussels in the Dutch Oven

12” Dutch oven
24-28 coals underneath

1/2 lb bacon, chopped

1 lb fresh brussels sprouts
1 lb of beef, in steak or cubed/sliced as stir fry
1 medium onion
1 green pepper
1 large portobello mushroom
2-3 cloves garlic

Gorgonzola cheese

This was actually a pretty easy one to do.  I started by lighting up the coals.  When they were hot, I put about 22 underneath the Dutch oven, and put the bacon pieces into it.

While that was cooking, I prepared the meat and the veggies.  I sliced the meat up first, and sprinkled it with salt, pepper, and paprika.  I let that sit while I sliced, chopped and minced everything else.  Finally, it all went into the same bowl, with a few shakes.

I let that bacon cook pretty crisp, then pulled it out.  I amped up the coals and let the drippings get really, really hot. I tossed in the meat and veggies.  I gave it a stir right away, and then would alternate stirring with letting the beef and the veggies sear.  I cooked it all until the meat was medium and the veggies were just a little soft.  Then, I pulled it off the coals.

I served it all served up with some sprinkles of the gorgonzola on top, alongside some roasted potato chunks I’d done in a 10”.  Wow.  It was all delicious!  Another childhood terror conquered!

Next?  Probably squash...

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Dutch Oven Cornbread Cake

I had a great big Dutch oven weekend!  It started with a demo at the Sportsman's Warehouse here in Midvale, UT.  Those folks are great!  I arrived and they had tables and canopies all set up for me in front of the store.  It was a brisk day, but not really cold.  There were a couple of spots where it drizzled, but we had good traffic all day.

I cooked chili and pulled BBQ chicken with my own flavorful sauce.  I got a lot of compliments as well.  I sold and signed a bunch of books, too.  I didn't keep count, because the actual sales happened inside.  At the end, my body was tired and sore, but my spirits were high.  It was really a lot of fun.

Then, the next day, some old family friends invited us over to a "family chili cookoff".  Of course, I obliged, and made some more.

I also made some cornbread.  My favorite way of making cornbread in the past was to do up a cornbread mix, then a yellow cake mix, and finally to stir the two together.  I thought there would be a way to make both of those from scratch, and I did some research and came up with this recipe.  It ended up to be more like a cake with a bit of corn flavor, but it was nice and moist and not so crumbly as typical cornbread is.  As I prepare this recipe for the blog, I've added a bit of cornmeal to it.

Dutch Oven Cornbread Cake

10" Dutch oven

9-10 coals below
18-20 coals above

1/4 cup softened butter (the softer the better)
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs

1 cup cornmeal
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
light shakes of cinnamon and nutmeg

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tbsp honey
1 3/4 cups whole milk

I started by lighting up the coals.  Once these are white-edged, a lot of them will go on the Dutch oven lid, to preheat it.

The first step is to cream the butter and sugar together.  I used the back of a big serving spoon to whip the two together and to incorporate as much air as possible.  Do this for several minutes, until it's nice and fluffy.

Then I added in the eggs, one at a time, beating and blending as I went.

By this time, my arm was quite tired, and I took a break.  I mixed the dry ingredients together into one bowl, and the remaining wet ingredients as well, into another bowl.  After all this, I went out and put the coals on the lid, as I mentioned before.

Then, I added half of the dry ingredients, and continued mixing, then half of the wet, and mixed some more.  While still mixing, I added the remainder of each.  At that point it turned into a nice batter, which I finished up with a wire whisk, to break apart the dry clumps.

I cut out a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom, even though I wasn't sure that I'd need it.  I planned on serving cut squares directly from the Dutch, so I wouldn't need to flip it out like a cake.  Still, I went with it.  I sprayed the sides of the Dutch oven with oil as well.

I poured in the batter, then took it out and set it under the heated lid.  I counted out the proper coals above and below and set it to bake.  I rotated the Dutch oven after about fifteen minutes, and after about 35 minutes, it was done!  I brought it in and let it cool.

It was delicious and it served up well next to everyone's chili.

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

Friday, October 5, 2012

Video: Baking the Cake

Hello, folks!

While I was baking that yummy yellow layer cake last week, I had my good son help me shoot a video of it. I'm kinda new to the video world, but I think we've got some fun footage here!

So, check it out!  Share it!  I would really appreciate it if all of you good kind folks that read my ramblings here would give it a spin and post it up to your facebook pages, or tweet it.  That would help me get some good Google and search reaction to it!

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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