Sunday, May 21, 2017

Curryish Seafood Soup in a Dutch Oven

It was Mother’s Day, and I wanted to cook something both unique and exciting. It had to be low in Weight Watcher’s points (my wife and I are both on that program, now), and it had to be made with what we had on hand (I don’t like to go shopping on Sundays).

So, that’s all a pretty tall order. I looked through the fridge and freezer, and found some proteins (the seafood), a lot of seemingly random veggies in the fridge, and of course, our own pretty well stocked spice cabinet and pantry. I started to get an idea in my head. I would make a tomato-based soup, combining all of the seafood and veggies, and using curry spices. I don’t know that it’s really an “authentic” curry, but it ended up tasting GREAT!  Maybe you could call it “Indian Fusion”... Whatever that means.

Mark's Curryish Seafood Soup

12” shallow Dutch oven
20 + coals below to sautee
14-16 coals below to simmer

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Medium Onions, diced or sliced
3-4 Stalks Celery, diced
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 Peanuts, shelled, roasted or not

4 Cups Poultry stock
1 lb Shrimp, peeled, deveined
1-2 lbs of other seafood, like Salmon and/or tilapia filets
1 6oz Can Tomato paste
1 8oz Can Tomato sauce
1 14oz Can Coconut milk
1-2 8oz Cans Water chestnuts, drained

Curry powder
Chili powder
Lemon juice
Tomato powder (optional)

Start out by thawing everything. I keep my homemade stock frozen in old drinking water bottles, so I have to let it melt. The seafood was also frozen.

Once those were thawed, I got some coals on. While they were getting hot, I diced the veggies.  I put the Dutch oven on the coals listed for the saute, and drizzled in the oil. Once that was nice and hot, I tossed in the veggies, stirring them frequently.  The salt helps with the flavor, and it also draws out the moisture. I had read that indian spices are more flavorful if you “activate” them in hot oil for a few minutes first. Next time I do this, I’ll shake in the curry powder as the oil is heating. I’ll see if that makes any difference.

Once the onions are translucent, and the celery is getting a little softer, I added in the the second set of ingredients. I adjusted the coals for the simmering phase. Really, I just let the coals keep burning down, and I don’t replenish them quite as much. If it gets boiling too vigorously, I’ll pull some coals out, or just wait a while before adding any fresh coals.

Also, when I start the simmering phase, I keep the lid on. This traps the heat and helps it get up to boiling a little quicker. After it’s simmering, I take the lid off. I stirred it every 15 minutes or so, breaking up the fish filets, and making sure that the bottom isn’t burning.

After about 45 minutes or so, I added in the flavorings in the final set of ingredients. I went pretty liberal with the spices, etc.  I added a little of each one, then after 10 minutes or so, tasted it, and added any that I thought were lacking. Go easy on the hot pepper/chili powder at first, because you can always add more heat, but you can’t take it out.

I want to explain the tomato powder! About a year ago, I wanted to make some dried tomatoes, like the ones that get packaged in small jars of olive oil. They’re almost fully dried, but not quite. So, I cut up some tomatoes and put them on bread cooling racks in my oven. I set the oven to the lowest possible setting, propped the door slightly open, and went on about my business. Well, I let it go too long, and the poor tomatoes ended up almost burned. But a moment of inspiration hit me, and I ground them up in my blender, and made it into a powder. It has a delicious, smoky tomato flavor!  I like using it a lot, and, in fact, I’m almost out, so I think it’s time to make more!

When the cauliflower is soft, and the flavors are all well-stewed together, you can call it done! Serve it up with some fresh-baked bread!

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

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Dutch Oven Roasted Cauliflower and other veggies

My wife showed me this one in a picture online several months ago. It sure looked impressive, and tasty. She and I have been trying to lose weight with Weight Watchers in the last few months, so we’ve been doing a lot with veggies in general and cauliflower in particular.

Roasting it this way looked so delicious and fancy, I knew I was going to try it. It turns out that it’s also very, very easy.

In this case, I took the opportunity to do this bake/roast as a side to some grilled chicken and pineapple. The whole meal was amazing.

12” Shallow Dutch oven
12 coals below
18 coals above

2 medium cauliflower heads
Oil, preferably a spray oil, but drizzling olive oil is good, too.
Your choice of seasonings. I used:
Garlic Powder
A touch of cayenne powder

3 medium onions
Optional veggies:
2-3 carrots
2-3 stalks of celery
Fresh green beans

I started, as usual, by lighting up the coals. While they were getting hot, I prepared the veggies. I started by cutting the stalks and leaves off of the cauliflower heads. Then I set them into the Dutch oven and sprayed them with the oil spray. This will help both with the color when it roasts, and it will help the seasonings stick.

Then, I sprinkled on the seasonings as I thought of them. You can really do as you like with them. I kinda kept to a savory/herbal kinda thing. The paprika helped it to come out with a really dark red coating. Cumin, cinnamon, and turmeric, or even ground cloves would have helped it to have a more “curry-ish” flavor. I may try that someday.

I cut the onions in half, then quartered each half and tossed those into the bottom of the Dutch oven around the cauliflowers. The other veggies got sliced and added in as well, with a light dusting of salt

Then I set it out on the coals, as I listed above and let it bake. It was pretty breezy, so I had to replenish the coals about every 15 minutes. While it cooked, I turned my attention to grilling the chicken and the pineapple.

The recipe research I had done said to cook the cauliflower for an hour and 15 minutes. I did that, but in the end, it turned out to be a bit overdone. I would probably go about 45 minutes next time. I might do it with fewer coals, and make it a slower roast.

When it was time to serve, I cut each cauliflower head into quarter wedges and served it with some of the veggies scooped up and placed next to the chicken and pineapple slices.It made for a delicious and colorful plate!

Here's a shot of the chicken, just for fun.

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


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