With warmer weather upon us, getting busy with work and moving to the farm we don't eat as a family much during the week. A lot of meals are made fast, eaten in the truck or outside while rushing around but we still need to make sure we are catching up with each other at least once a week. Enter Sunday family fire dinner. Every Sunday last year I always prepared a nice meal for us to all sit down and enjoy and well it's time to start it up again. I am taking requests this year so as to expand my skills as well as youtubing it so you can follow along and make your own meal over the fire or you can just watch it for fun
Our first Sunday meal was your classic Roast Chicken and Veggies. I love an all in one pot meal and last year was blessed with a cast iron dutch oven from one of my sisters for my birthday and it has come in real handy. A roast chicken and veggies is such a great way for a beginner to learn dutch oven cooking and open fire cooking cause if you screw it up just make soup. When it comes to over the fire or over the coals cooking there is kind of a basic rule of thumb with your cooking vessel, dutch oven, which is just that, an oven so think of it as that. Once you understand how an "oven" works it will makes sense how to use a dutch oven also because dutch ovens are cast iron they are made to retain and circulate heat like an oven. Most dishes cook between 325-425 and then you adjust your coals accordingly. There are lots of recipes out there that will say this many coals on bottom this many on top, the basics are whatever number of coals you use on the bottom you want to double that on top. To get your coals going you can put them next to your fire or you can actually purchase a coal chimney. I just use our fire as we normally start one in the morning for warming up and to get a pot of coffee going. I aim for 5-8 coals bottom and 10-16 coals top depending on what I am cooking so that can be 2-3 handfuls of coals tossed next to the fire to get going. One more thing about camp cooking in any format is prep your food at home. Cut up your veggies. Measure out ingredients etc. this can make your cooking in the outdoors a little less daunting. Now that you know the basics of dutch oven/fire/coal camp cooking lets get down to dinner.
Roast Chicken & Veggies
spices- whatever suits your fancy I like montreal steak spice
veggies-whatever you got
Make sure you have coals warming up and put dutch oven on grate over fire/barbecue or other heat source) and put in a healthy amount of fat. I mainly use lard and if not lard then salted butter.
Once hot you are gonna sear your chicken. While your chicken sears cut up veggies and prep whatever else you need.
When chicken is nicely seared I lift the chicken out and put directly on the grate for two reasons; one it gets some smoky taste from the fire and two I am not dirtying a plate.
Add your veggies I like to do the heartier veggies first like potatoes and onions then add your garlic, carrots, celery and whatever else you would like add. Toss in some healthy dollops of fat around the veggies and top with your bird. Put your lid on and put on about 6-8 coals depending on size of bird then put double the amount of coals on the top of lid. Cooking time will vary by size of bird so whatever it would take to cook your bird in an oven will be similar to that of the dutch oven. Our bird took roughly about an hour to hit temp.
We just toss our dutch oven directly on our picnic table but make sure it is out of reach of kids cause it's hot, you can use hot pads or leave it on the grate but be careful as it is a HOT vessel. When cooking over an open fire I recommend going to an auto parts store and buying welders gloves. You can get barbecue gloves from your standard store but let's be serious they can't handle the heat, pardon the pun. My husband welds and only uses his left glove which means we always have a spare. Welding gloves literally allow you to put your hand in the fire and pull out coals without it burning through. They are bulky but they can handle the heat. And well that is it. Dinner time. Enjoy and feel free to share your thoughts on this post or camp cooking or request a dish to be made.
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Deanne and fam.
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