Thursday, September 25, 2008
One of the first ways I learned to cook was in a Dutch Oven. After many scout camp-outs and deer hunting trips, I decided to try my hand at it. One of the first things I learned was that food cooked in a dutch oven tastes a lot different at home than when you are camping. In the mountains you can use a whole can of Crisco to cook a chicken, but if you do that at home...well, its disgusting. I discovered a little trick that adds a lot of flavor and shortens the cooking time. Since I always make dutch oven potatoes when I make the chicken, and since I hate having half-cooked, slimy bacon in my potatoes, I brown all of the bacon first in the oven I am going to cook the chicken in. I then brown the chicken in the bacon drippings,(that sounds better than bacon fat) before cooking the chicken. If you like your chicken crispy, you have to vent the lid to allow steam to escape. A small piece of metal, or even a crushed soda can will do the trick. A great way to keep your potatoes from drying out is to add some mini carrots to the mix. You can also add zucchini or yellow squash. The squash gets a little mushy, but it sure keeps the potatoes moist. I like to cut my potatoes and soak them in salt water for a couple hours before cooking. "Brineing" the potatoes adds great flavor and also helps them stay moist.