Dutch Oven Cornish Hens

Half hour from being done.

I love cooking in the DOs. Food tastes so much better. I never pass up good road kill. After all it has already been tenderized and why let the meat go to waste if it’s salvageable?

I have this great daughter in law who isn’t big on wild game. One day my son and her were at the house for a BBQ. I walked in the house and there she was going through the trash looking at the meat wrappers. The look on her face was priceless. She told me she didn’t trust me and had always checked the meat wrappers. She was afraid I might slip a squirrel or possum in on her. God love her. Sorry I digress. Back to tonight’s supper.

My original plan was a Cornish Hen stew but with a cloud bank building in the west I knew I wouldn’t have enough time. I opted to just bake them and make some dressing.

I normally bake them at 325 degrees but went with 375 degrees to speed things up. After I wash them thoroughly I rub them down with olive oil then season them with chicken seasoning.

I used a 10 inch deep Dutch Oven. I used 17 briquettes on the lid and 6 briquettes on the bottom. I preheat the oven for 15 minutes then I placed the hens in the oven. I will cook them for an hour and a half. Now Dutch Oven cooks have their own way of doing things. To get an even cook I rotate the lid 1 quarter of a turn clockwise and I rotate the oven 1 quarter turn counterclockwise every 15 minutes. I consider this an essential part of the process.

I thought I had a bag of cornbread fixings for the dressing but it turned out to be just a bag of stovetop dressing mix so I had to modify it to bake in a DO. I added 1 egg and a 1/4 cub of melted butter. I then added some chicken seasoning and enough chicken broth to get the desired consistency and poured it into a 10 inch DO that was preheated. I baked it at 350 degrees for a half hour. I used 12 briquettes on the lid and 3 underneath careful not to burn the cornbread on the bottom. I did the fifteen minute rotation.

Cornish hens on right cornbread on left.

My grandson will be upset with me because he loves my Cornish Hens. Even though I had to change my supper plans in midstream it still turned out quite tasty.

Dutch Oven cooking is gaining in popularity. It definitely is an art and takes a lot of practice but it is well worth the time spent learning. As near as I can figure I have been doing it for nearly 40 years. I have a MACA 15 inch deep oven that I can cook a 13 pound turkey in. Turkey never tasted better. Hope you enjoyed my blog and thanks for reading.

Lazy Man’s Stew

Decided to do something different this time. For those who know me they know I love to cook and Dutch Oven cooking is my method of madness.

I would normally do this in a bean pot on a wood stove but I like to let it cook all day and this particular day I didn’t have that luxury. I make a fire pit out of rims and a 10 inch dutch fits snugly in the center of the rim. Works perfect.

The reason I call it Lazy Man’s Stew is because for the most part you are just opening cans.

1 pound top sirloin steak

3 tbsps olive oil

2 tbsps minced garlic

1 medium onion (diced)

12 oz Heinz mushroom gravy

24 oz beef broth

4 tbsps Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tbsp salt

1/2 tbsp pepper

1/2 tsp curry

2 medium potatoes (cut in 1/4 inch cubes)

15 oz canned carrots

15 oz canned green beans

15 oz canned corn

2 glasses Elderberry wine

Add olive oil to Dutch oven and when it gets hot add onions and minced garlic. Cook,stir frequently, until onion is clear.

Then add meat.

Now pour your first glass of wine. (optional)

When meat is cooked add the gravy and beef broth. Then add the remaining ingredients.

Bring to a rolling boil and cook for twenty minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Pour your second glass of wine. (optional)

Lower heat (I raise the pot higher off the fire) and let simmer for an hour. Remove from fire and let sit for 10 minutes then serve.

As you can see I always use my finest China.

How many does it serve? Depends on how hungry you are.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog. Feel free to give me some feedback in the comments.

Cowboy Cooking

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I decided to change course tonight.  I want to share what I think is a treasure for all of you cowboy cooks and Dutch Oven cooks out there.  It is a cookbook called Trail Boss’s Cowboy Cookbook that was made possible by The Society For Range Management.  The proceeds from this cookbook will be used to support and promote the art and science of good range management.

The cookbook contains 458 recipes from 24 states and 8 countries.  There are recipes from the 6666 Ranch, the LBJ Ranch, W9 Ranch and JL Bar Ranch to name a few.  It contains recipes for foods in 31 categories.

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Chuck wagon chow was the main staple of the cowboy and even though they took their orders from the trail boss the real keeper of the crew was Camp Cookie.  The cowboy’s dining room was pretty rough.  His table was usually the ground, bedroll or the his lap.  Cowboys were on their best behavior around the chuck wagon.  They never rode their horse into camp and tied it to the chuck wagon.  The great era of cattle driving only lasted from 1865 to 1885.

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Following are a couple of the recipes I found amusing:

Camel Stew

3 medium sized camels                                                                                   1 ton salt

500 bushels potatoes                                                                                        1 ton pepper

200 bushels carrots                                                                                           3000 sprigs parsley

Cut camels into bite size pieces.  This should take about 2 months.  Cut vegetables into cubes (another 2 months).  Place meat in pan and cover with 1000 gallons of brown gravy.  Simmer for 4 weeks.  Shovel in pepper and salt to taste.  When meat is tender, add vegetables.  Simmer slowly for 4 weeks.  Garnish with parsley.  Will serve 3800 people.  If more expected, add two rabbits.  (I have the two rabbits but having problems finding camels.)

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Recipe For Happiness

2 heaping cups of patience

2 handfuls of generosity

1 heart full of love

Dash of laughter

1 head full of understanding

Sprinkle generously with kindness.  Add plenty of faith.  Mix well.  Spread over a period of a lifetime and serve everybody you meet.

There are some really good recipes along with some history about range management. It also has some great illustrations of old brands used by various ranches.

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I hope you enjoyed my blog.  Thank you for taking the time to read it.  If you are a Dutch Oven junkie I highly recommend that you add this cook book to your collection.  Remember to spread the love.

 

 

 

 

 

Prep Or Not To Prep

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Sunrise in Bonne Terre, MO

“To be prepared is half the victory.” – Miguel de Cervantes

Prepper : noun/North American     A person who believes a catastrophic disaster or emergency is likely to occur in the future and makes active preparations for it typically by stockpiling food, ammunition, and other supplies.

I know that there are those of you who think we are crazy.  Personally I think it is the difference between eating and starving.  It is no different than having a savings account set aside for an emergency that might arise.  The mainstream media has given the term “prepping” a bad name.  They tend to make us out to be lunatics wearing tin foil hats, Doomsday idiots and other things.  There are different types of prepping dependent on what one is trying to accomplish and an estimated three million participants in the US.

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I was pretty much raised a country boy.  Learned to hunt, plant garden, fish and how to cook and can.  In the spring we would head into the woods looking for polk.   We would pick blackberries, dewberries, mulberries, muscadines and gooseberries and my mom would make jelly from them.  My grandparents and parents were preppers.  They didn’t know that they were and neither did I.  Every year they put out a big garden and canned what could be canned.  I remember us getting together and canning sausage one year. That was quite a learning experience.  My Grandma White canned a lot of meat including fish.  She had a root cellar where she kept what she canned, onions to dry, potatoes and herbs.

My mom canned a lot also.  Some years she would can up to 100 pints of green beans. She canned beets, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, salsa, etc..  My mom had shelves in the basement where she stored the stuff she canned.  I can’t remember a year she didn’t do any canning.

I don’t know how you feel about preppers.  There are those that like them and others that think their elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top.  We aren’t hurting anyone.  I have seen some people who seem to be afraid of us.  Why?, I don’t know.

I prep because I live close to the New Madrid fault in Missouri.  In 63 years I have also been in 3 tornadoes.  In one of them I was without power for 10 days and during the day the high temps were in the upper 90s.  I have seen many different scenarios of what life would be like here in this area if an earthquake occurred along the New Madrid fault and none of them were very promising.  It would be devastating and would tax the local food suppliers.  Think about it.  They call for a snowstorm and bread and milk are cleaned out of the local stores in a matter of minutes.

I realize prepping isn’t for everyone but I will be a prepper until the day I die.  Thanks for reading my blog.  Means a lot.  Be kind to one another.  Share the love and remember, don’t squat with your spurs on.  God Bless you one and all.

 

 

 

 

Breakfast Bake

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Breakfast Bake

Breakfast Bake

1 can of biscuits

6 eggs

one half cup milk

1 pound sausage

1 cup cheese

Gravy

4 tbsp flour

2 cups milk

4 tbsp butter

salt

pepper

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Biscuits

Cook sausage until done then drain and put aside.  Cut the biscuits into pieces.  Place into a baking pan.  I am using a 12 inch dutch oven.  Mix eggs and mix real well then pour over biscuits.  Spread cheese and sausage over the eggs, milk and biscuits.

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Baked Breakfast

Gravy

Melt butter in a sauce pan then  stir in flour then add milk.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil.  Then pour over mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 45 minutes.

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Breakfast Bake ready to bake.

I made mine with half vegetarian sausage and pork sausage.  I baked mine in a dutch oven. I used a 12 inch dutch oven.  I used charcoal briquettes.  Since it was a 12 inch and I needed 350 degrees I used 30 briquettes.  I used 8 under the oven and 22 on top.

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Placement of briquettes on bottom.

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Briquette placement on top

I rotate the lid a quarter turn clockwise and the bottom counter clockwise every 15 minutes.

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My outdoor kitchen.

I hope  my blog was helpful.  It was quite delicious.  I should have put some aluminum foil on top the last 15 minutes but it turned out ok.

Thanks for reading.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.

Possum; The Other White Meat

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This is actually squirrel cooking but this is the way I prepared the Possum

“Good painting is like good cooking; it can be tasted, but not explained.” -Maurice de Vlaminck

Oh my.  I can hear all the groans out there.  He really doesn’t eat possum does he?  Well…yes he does.  My grandmother really had the art of preparing possum mastered.  She could make it taste like a $20 t-bone.

If you are wondering, I am kind of a hillbilly.  I grew up dining on squirrel, deer, groundhog, raccoon and an occasional opossum.  My dad wasn’t too fond of the other white meat.  Come to think of it he wouldn’t even attempt to partake of a muskrat.  The great thing about these animals was you didn’t have to go to the store and buy them.  The only cost was your hunting license and shell.

My grandmother was the one who basically taught me how to prepare each one of these critters for the dinner table.  Squirrel- usually fried and make gravy from the drippings.  Squirrel and dumplings was my favorite. Raccoon- Boiled until all the grease had found its way out of the carcass.  Then it was either baked with sweet taters and carrots or pulled off the bone and simmered in beer, butter and bbq sauce for a couple of hours.  Groundhog – prepared the same way as the raccoon.  Deer – prepared pretty much the same way as beef.

Possum – Now grandma preferred to boil the possum until all of the grease had been boiled out of it. Then she would would put it in a baking dish and add seasoning, potatoes, carrots and onions and she would bake it until the veggies were done.  I did try deep frying one time and it was quite tasty.

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Part of my cowboy kitchen

Then one night I had just got finished skinning a possum and had a fire going in my outside cowboy kitchen.  So I decided to cook this possum over an open fire.  There was one thing I didn’t think through very well.  The possum would have to be turned to cook both sides.  Well I hadn’t par boiled this particular critter.  So that meant he was full of high octane possum grease.  As I turned it on the fire the grease began to find its way into the fire below it and  then, then. then….WHOOOOOSH!  The fire came to life.  It had to be like Mount St. Helens erupting. The night was lit up.  Finally the fire calmed down and I was able to finish cooking a fine meal.  Next time I will be prepared.

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Another part of cowboy kitchen

Well I hope I didn’t gross you all out too bad.  Thanks for taking the time to read it.  Be kind to one another, share the love, God Bless you one and all.  By the way you know why the chicken crossed the road?  To show the possum that it could be done.

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Part of cowboy kitchen

Cast Iron Cooking

When I am not cooking in a Dutch oven I am usually using a cast iron skillet to get the job done. Just like the DOs I will use the skillets outside on the open fire. A couple of years ago I decided to make something to make the skillets a little more user friendly and still be able to cook on wood. I took two golf cart rims, modified them some and welded them together and made me a miniature stove.


Not much writing this morning.  I am going to post some pics of food being prepared in cast iron.

Leg of lamb

Pork sausage and taters

Chili fixings.


Cornish Hens


Sorry but I had some issues with posting the pics and captions. Hope you enjoyed the pics and thanks for reading.

Be safe, be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless !

                               

Intro to Dutch Oven Cooking

“Cast iron is so superior for cooking utensils to our modern aluminum that I not only cannot grieve for the pioneer hardship of cooking in iron over the hearth, but shall retire if necessary to the back yard with my two Dutch ovens, turning over all my aluminum cookers for airplanes with a secret delight.”  – Majorie Kinnan Rawlings, “Cross Creek”

I am an avid Dutch oven cook and have been doing it for many years. So many, I have seemed to lost count. Anything you can cook in your oven, I can cook in a Dutch oven ( DO ). There are DO cooking contests and the International Dutch Oven Society dedicated to DO cooking enthusiasts. Recipes are abundant. There are tons of information out there for beginners.

The picture of the three DOs at the beginning of this article, are mine. You don’t need a setup like this. Some people will pull the grill off their BBQ grill and set their DO inside of it or you can place it directly on the ground. I built my cook station like this to help keep the wind from blowing across my ovens and cooling them.


This Thanksgiving I cooked a 13 pound turkey in my largest DO.  It was my first and it was the best turkey I ever ate.  For the most part I use charcoal briquettes to heat my ovens. One method is the 3 rule. If I want my oven at 325 degrees and it is a 12 inch oven, I would subtract 3 from 12 and get 9. So I would put 9 coals under the bottom.  For the top I would add 3 and get 15 so I would put 15 on top.  Another method would be to double the 12 and get 24.  I would take a third of that, which would be 8 (bottom) and leave me with 16 on top.


I hope you have found this article interesting and helpful.  I have ruined many a dish trying to master the art of DO cooking and so will you probably.  Don’t give up.  I will try to do some more in depth articles in the future.

Thanks for reading.  Be kind to one another, share the love and God Bless you one and all.