Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dutch Oven Long Roasted Beef Brisket

This is a dish I’ve been wanting to try for possibly as much as a year.  As I would shop, I’d go past the meat counter and see these huge slabs of brisket meat, in plastic, and I’d think, “That would be so much fun to cook up.”  I had this idea of doing one and inviting the whole neighborhood over for a pot luck.

Well, this last weekend, I had the chance!  We were at a campground up at Bear Lake with a group of families with children with special medical needs.  The group is called “Hope Kids” and we’ve got many wonderful friends in it.

So, for dinner saturday night, I cooked this brisket.  It was about 11+ pounds, and at a rate of about a half hour per pound, that meant a good 6-hour cook time.  So, I started at about noon.

Dutch Oven Long Roasted Beef Brisket

1x 14” Deep Dutch oven

14-16 coals below
16-20 coals above

1 Beef Brisket, anywhere from 8-12 lbs (figure about 1/2 lb per person)

Mark’s Meat Rub

1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp crushed coriander
1 Tbsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp coarse ground black pepper
1 Tbsp thyme
2 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp salt
1 tsp oregano
...and I added some chili powder this time

The Sauce

1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
Brown sugar (or regular sugar and molasses)
Some kind of hot spice (Cayenne Pepper or Chili powder)

I started out by opening up the brisket and sprinkling it with the meat rub (which I had mixed up the night before) on both sides.  I rubbed it in a bit.  The rub (and the sauce) come from this recipe.  I let it sit for a while, and lit up about 35 coals or so.

I lightly oiled the inside of my 14” deep Dutch oven, and for a while, I contemplated using an overturned metal pie plate as a trivet to raise the meat up out of the juices that would drip out.  Usually, when I do a roast, I’ll put in a layer of quartered onions and potato chunks for that purpose, but with a 6-hr cook time, they would be pretty much mush by the end of it..  In the end, I decided that the brisket would fit better if I just put it on the bottom and draped it up the sides.

With the meat in place, I put it on the coals as above.  I stuck in a thermometer, mostly just to monitor progress.  It will cook waaay past “done”.

This is the kind of cooking that I especially like.  I can just sit back and relax with a soda and watch the coals burn.  About every 20-30 minutes, I’d pull a few coals out of the chimney and replenish them on the oven.  I’d usually put about four around the bottom and six or so on top.  Then, I’d add more fresh coals to the pile to light up.  While I was doing this, friends and families that were camping with us would come by and chat.  I got to meet a few people who are Dutch oven chefs, and a few who’d actually bought my books.

About 2 1/2 hours it, the meat was at about a medium done-ness, and it hit “well done” at probably an hour and a half later.  I just kept on cooking and rotating the coals.  At about 4:00, I started to work on another 14” pot of au gratin potatoes, a smaller version of which can be found here.

Finally, about an hour before serving time, I mixed up the BBQ sauce.  When I mix this up, I make it like a good jazz tune, with lots of improvisation.  I start with a core of the tomato, the mustard, and the sugar (or in this case, the molasses), and then I keep adding flavors and things one at a time until it all balances.  Too sweet?  Too tomato-y?  Add more mustard.  Too tangy?  More sugar and molasses.  Not enough edge?  More black pepper and chili powder...  And always just enough salt to make it come alive.  I basted that over the visible surface of the brisket and let it bake on.  I did this two or three times, and the remaining sauce, I reserved for drizzling at service.

When it was all done, and time to eat, I cut the brisket in half and put half on my cutting board.  I cut thin slices against the meat’s grain, and served that with a drizzle of additional BBQ sauce.  It was so juicy and tender and delicious.  The sauce and the rub really added to the overall flavor. I was really proud of it.  I want to do this again and again!

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

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dutch Oven Cauliflower Soup

This one was all my wife’s idea.  I like cauliflower OK, but I’m not a big fan of it.  She found a recipe and I thought it looked interesting, so I thought I’d give it a go.  Interestingly enough, if I’d used a veggie stock for the base instead of chicken broth, (and without the ham), it could have been a vegetarian dish (depending, of course, on which flavor of vegetarian you happen to be).

Like we often do, we disagreed on one important point.  She wanted me to make the recipe just as it was.  I guess she wanted to see how close it was to the restaurant dish it was supposed to be mimicking. So, after I made it tame and straight for her, I pulled about a third of it off and mixed in my own flavorings in (including the ham).  So, since I’m writing the blog, this recipe is mine, and if you want you can flavor yours however you like.

12” Dutch oven

20-24 Coals below

8 Tbsp  (1 stick) butter
2 Med Onion
4-5 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup flour

2 Cups half-and-half
2 Cups milk
1-2 tsp nutmeg
2 14.5 oz can chicken broth
2 1/2 lbs chopped cauliflower

1 Tbsp mustard
Juice of 1 lemon (with zest, if you like)
1 tsp red pepper flakes

2-3 cups cheddar
2 cups cubed ham
1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1/4 cup fresh chopped chives

I started out by lighting up the coals, and, when they were white, counting them out and putting my Dutch oven over them to heat up.  While that was preparing, I minced the garlic, and diced the onions. I melted the butter, and put in the onions and the garlic.  I added the salt and pepper, too.  When that had gotten translucent, I added the flour and stirred it all up.  I let that cook for a while, stirring pretty much constantly, until I could smell that rich nuttiness along with the garlic.  Oh, it was great!

Then, I mixed in all the liquids of the second set.  I stirred it up and put the lid on.  I had to keep replenishing the coals underneath.  It’s important to be careful, because if you get too much goin’ on under there, then you can burn the liquid onto the bottom of the pot.  Not good.  I also stirred it up a lot.  Once it got bubbly, I was even more careful with the heat, to maintain a simmer instead of a rolling boil. The main idea in this step is to cook the cauliflower.  It takes about 15 minutes, once the bubbles come.

Once the cauliflower is cooked, then it’s time to chop and blend it all up.  I could have used our hand blender, but I knew I’d have to have more oopmh.  I used our electric immersion blender.  I had to angle it so that the chunks of cauliflower could get under the blades.  Blend it to your desired consistency.  I did it pretty creamy this time.  I kinda like some substance, so I think in the future I’d leave some bigger chunks.

After it blends, then start adding in the flavors you’d like.  I included the ones I have here because they were easy to grab, and I think they made a really good combination of sour and sweet tones, along with the undertones of the cream.  I let those flavoring simmer in for a while, stirring frequently.

In the last few minutes of cooking, I added in the ham and the cheeses.  The cheeses melt into the soup, and bond with the flour and the milk and cream.  Without the flour, it would be a chunky, clunky, melted mess.

Finally, it was done.  I served it up, with the chopped chives as a garnish on top.

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 7, 2013

Food and Politics Part IV: Local Food

So, I read over here: http://edible-wasatch.ppwd.stackablehost.com/edible-utah-events/eatlocalweek that this week is "Eat Local" week. It's a week of events, mostly in the Salt Lake City Metro area, designed to raise awareness of and to celebrate the "Local Food Movement". The idea is to try and eat foods that were produced within 250 miles of your home.

I'm not one to jump in on food movements. I'll occasionally make a meal that's vegetarian, and I like to shop at farmer's markets and I've even been in a food co-op from time to time. I'm fascinated by deconstruction, and even molecular gastronomy. I love to explore the world's food.

But even with all that. I'm not really committed to any one of them. Except cooking them outdoors, or in Dutch ovens. I pretty much stick with that. It's kinda my schtick.

The local food movement is something, however, that I've always liked. As I said, I love shopping at farmer's markets, and I like getting things from the roadside stands that are all over Utah in the later summer and early fall. I think it's great to buy from smaller local farms. Here are some thoughts.

1 - When you shop for local food, you never really know what you'll get, and shopping is a bit of an adventure. Sometimes, I'll go there without an idea of what I want to cook. Then, I get my ideas from what I see. I think that's a lot of fun. Sometimes, what you get is more flavorful and colorful than the supermarket competition. Other times, it's on par. It's that variability that ads flair, I think.

2 - I was in a larger supermarket, a Smith's, the other day, and saw that they were putting up displays that celebrate local food. In the produce section, for example, next to some of the veggies, were pictures of the farmers that had produced what was in the bin. So, sometimes you can get local with the convenience of the supermarket.

3 - I remember one time last summer, I stopped off at a street corner produce stand, and in talking with them, found out that the corn they were selling had been trucked in from California the night before. Local food? Not so much...

Overall, I think it's a great idea. In the past, I've tried to shop local food whenever it was easy and convenient. I think that, in the future, I'll make a broader effort to include local foods in my ingredients and mention that whenever I can in the blog. You know, food trends come and go, but I think this is one worth building on.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Dutch Oven Soft Dinner Rolls

When I first was making this dinner, and Jodi mentioned that she wanted dinner rolls, my mind immediately jumped to a certain buffet restaurant we go to. Their rolls are light and fluffy, amost to the point of having no substance. Generally, I like my bread to have a little body (sometimes a lot), but then I also like learning how to get the results I want. So, I thought I'd take on the challenge. The results today were good, and lighter than normal, but it's still not quite there.

Or, in this case, still not quite not there...

Dutch Oven Soft Dinner Rolls

10" Dutch Oven
10 Coals below
20-22 coals above

2 tsp yeast (or 1pkg}
I/4 cup warm water (105°F-110°F)
1/2 Tbsp sugar

1 cup milk, just to scalding hot (do not simmer or boil)
¼ cup melted butter

4 cup bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten

2 T butter, melted, for brushing

The process for these rolls was very similar to my standard process for bread, with a few changes. I started out by activating the yeast in a bowl with the warm water and the sugar. I set that aside to get frothy for about 10 minutes or so.

Then, I heated up the milk and the butter. If I'd been out in the wild, I could've done this in a dutch oven, like my 8", over about 12 coals, but since I was in a bit of a hurry, I did it in the microwave. May the Gods of Iron forgive me.

I sifted the bread flour into a mixing bowl, and added the salt and the egg. I stirred in the yeast mix and the milk mix. It was pretty sticky still. When I turned it out on the table and started kneading, I didn't add much flour on the table. I wanted it to be a pretty wet dough, to make it lighter. Not quite so wet as the no-knead or a ciabatta/focacia dough, but definitely more loose than a regular sandwich bread as well. I kneaded it to a good windowpane. Then I oiled the bowl, and set the dough aside, covered, to rise.

I let it rise a bit higher than normal, in both the first and second fermentations.

After the first rise, I cut it into eighths and rolled each piece into a small ball. I set these into the base of my oiled 10" Dutch oven. I set these aside to rise, while I lit up some coals. Once the coals were ready, I put about 20-25 of them on the lid of the Dutch oven, to preheat. After about 15-20 minutes of heating, the rolls had risen well. I took them out and set up the coals as listed above, and started the baking.

After about 15 minutes, I turned the lid and the oven, and set the thermometer in the dough. They had sprung up nicely, and were just starting to brown. About 10 minutes later, the thermometer read about 190, and they were ready to come off the coals.

I brought them in, turned them out of the Dutch oven, and set them on a cooling rack. While they were still hot, I coated the top with some butter, which immediately melted onto the crust. Then they cooled while I cooked the rest of the dinner.

As I said before, they were lighter than most loaves I'd done, but not quite the airiness I was shooting for. I think that making the dough wetter helped, as well as the extra rise time. I also think baking to 190 instead of 200 was a part of that as well.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dutch Oven Pork Loin Medallions

Cooking for Fun!

I've been so busy lately doing signings, appearances, and demos for my books, especially the new one, that I've forgotten how much fun it is to just cook for the family. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy looking forward to trying something new, that I've never done before. It's truly been a long time.

So, this last weekend, I kinda went over board.

My sister-in-law had given us a frozen pork loin, and I'd been going over in my head what I could do with it. I finally came up with this idea, and when we had to cancel on a birthday party because of car troubles, I jumped at the chance.

But, my dear wife asked if I could make some au gratin potatoes. And some dinner rolls. And I thought it would be cool to round out the meal with a dessert, like brownies!

I ended up doing all four dishes in my Dutch ovens. It was kinda hectic, but the results were sure worth it! Yummy to the core! The potatoes and the brownies already have their recipes enshrined here in the musty pages of the Black Pot Blog, but the rolls and the pork loin do not! Here is the latter, first:

Dutch Oven Pork Loin Medallions

1x 12" shallow Dutch oven
20-24 coals underneath

Liberal shakes of:

1 Pork Loin
1 lb Bacon

Juice of 1 lemon
~1/4 cup water
1 heaping Tbsp flour

There really isn't much to this recipe. It's very simple, and the cool thing is that it looks very impressive. Start early in the day by getting the loin thawed under cool water.

I actually made this dish pretty late in the day. I cooked and baked all of the other dishes first, because this one takes the least amount of time and it's the most critical to be served freshest. The first thing to do is to make sure that you have some fresh coals lit.

Then, I mixed up generous amounts of each of the spices. I just kept tasting it with my fingertip until it seemed like the right blend. You can actually use whatever seasonings and herbs you want. This combination turned out really good. I just mixed it in a small bowl.

The loin came out of the package in two halves. I cut each one into quarters, which were about 2-2 1/2 inches long, then butterflied each piece. To butterfly, slice the piece in half, against the grain, but don't cut all the way through. Almost, but not completely. Then, open the slice up like a book and you have a disc of meat. I lightly dredged the top and the bottom in the seasoning mix. Then I took a single strip of bacon and wrapped it around the side, securing it with a couple of toothpicks. I continued until all the meat was butterflied, seasoned, and wrapped. While it was absorbing the seasonings, I got the oven ready.

I spread out some coals and set my 12" oven on them. I sprinkled just a little bit of olive oil in the bottom and let it get all shimmery hot. Then, I gently laid each wrapped medallion on the hot oven bottom. After 5-10 minutes, I turned them over and let them cook/sear on the other side. About this time, I put the lid on, so that the internal heat would also cook the meat through. I'm not sure that I needed to do that, though.

When they were done through, I pulled them off and put them on a plate, tented in aluminum foil. I squeezed the lemon juice into the bottom of the pan, and began scraping loose the fond pieces. There was some liquid from the pork in the bottom as well, so that helped. I added the flour to the water and stirred it thoroughly, and then began adding that into the pot to thicken and smooth the juices into a pan sauce.

In the end, I served the medallions up with the potatoes and the rolls, drizzled with just a little hint of sauce. It was truly elegant and delicious!


Related Posts with Thumbnails