Monday, September 20, 2010

Double Dutch Stacked Dinner/Stuffed Acorn Squash with Ham Patties and Potatoes

I called this one "The Double Dutch Stacked Dinner" because I liked the name, but in reality, it is baked acorn squash stuffed with apples and raisins in the bottom pot and ground ham patties with potatoes in the top pot. I'll break it down into two separate recipes.

Start by firing up 36 briquettes.
I used a 12" and 10" dutch oven.
I also used a 10" cast iron frying pan.

Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 acorn squash
2 large apples (your choice) peeled, cored, chopped
4 tbs golden raisins
4 tbs melted butter
4 tbs brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Cut the squash in halves and scoop out seeds with a tablespoon.
Pour about 1/2" boiling water in a 12" dutch oven.
Place squash, cut side down in pot. Place lid.
Bake for about 30 minutes with 6 briquettes below oven and 18 on lid.

During this time combine the rest of your ingredients for the stuffing in a glass bowl.
Also prepare the following vegetables for top pot:

Top Pot Veggies
white potatoes (a few handfuls) cut in half and sliced
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves of garlic (I missed this one)
3 tbs olive oil
salt, pepper, dried herbs (your choice)
Place the olive oil in the bottom of a 10" dutch oven.
Put the remainder of ingredients in the dutch oven and place lid.

At this time carefully remove the lid from the 12" dutch oven and turn the squash halves over.
Stuff the center of each squash with the apple/raisin mixture.
Place the lid (coals still on it) back on the pot.

Stand the 10" pot on the 12" pot.
Put 12 hot briquettes on lid.
Let these cook for an hour.

At this point, I started preparing my ham patties:

Ground Ham Patties
1 lb. ground ham (I bought a reduced sodium ham steak and ground it in the food processor)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
2 eggs

Combine the ingredients and form 6 patties.
Brown both sides in cast iron fry pan with olive oil.
Remove from pan when brown and set aside.

After the pots have cooked for one hour, remove the lid on top pot.
Gently stir the potatoes and place the ham patties on top of the veggies.
Carefully replace lid (with coals).

Bake for 30 more minutes.

Serve and eat... it's good stuff!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dutch Oven Moroccan Lamb Stew

I went to the Lodge Cookware factory outlet in Sevierville, Tennessee over the weekend and purchased several new pieces of cast iron cook ware at a great price. I've been dying to try one of them out so I put this dish together in my new 10-quart dutch oven.

1 Bone-in lamb shoulder
2 cans of low-sodium chicken broth
1 can diced tomato
1 can chick peas
1 onion diced
1 cup sliced carrot
2 stalks chopped celery
1 cup diced dried apricots
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
6 cloves crushed garlic
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp Garam Marsala (cinnamon, cumin, coriander, black pepper, cloves, cardamon).
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cayenne

Preparing the Lamb:
Because I was using a bone-in lamb shoulder I pre-cooked it, so that I could easily separate the bone, fat, and connecting tissue from the meat.
Salt and pepper the lamb shoulder and brown it all sides in a 10" cast iron dutch oven in 3 tbs. of olive oil.
When it's browned, pour one of the cans of the chicken broth over it, put on the lid, and bake at a low heat (around 300F) for 4 hrs.
After 4 hrs. the lamb was cooked and the chicken broth was mostly evaporated. I put the lamb in a dish and placed it in the refrigerator for a few hours. When I was ready to use the meat, it was easily separated. I cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Cooking the Stew
To start, scrape most of the lamb fat out of the bottom of the dutch oven (up to you), but try to leave some of the good drippings for taste.
Add a little olive oil and brown the onion.
Pour in 1 can of chicken broth.
Add carrots, celery, canned tomatoes, garlic, and dry spices. Spices should be used to taste.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer.
Add meat and apricots.
Simmer for one to one and half hours until carrots are tender.
(I did have to add 1 cup of hot water before it was through)
Serve over cous-cous.

First of all, I must say that I don't know anything about Moroccan food. I'm really just a dude with a couple of Dutch ovens and a penchant for cast-iron cooking. I do like Indian food and this dish has curry and Bengali spices in it, so maybe it should be called Bengali Lamb Stew. I don't know about that, but I do know that this dish is spicy, exotic, and scrumptious. I can definitely see myself lounging around on big pillows with hookah pipes and belly dancers while eating it. It's good stuff, maybe one of the better things I've cooked in a while. Black Betty thinks so too!

I was inspired by a Moroccan Chicken Recipe that was posted by Cliffmeister2000 at the wonderful and informative camp cook forum:
Bob appetit y'all!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Town Mountain at Del Yeah! Black Mountain

Black Betty and I were thrilled to see one of our favorite bluegrass groups, Town Mountain on the lineup for  Del Yeah! over Labor Day weekend in Black Mountain.  I managed to shoot this clip of  Town Mountain joined by Andy Thorn (banjo) and Tyler Grant (guitar) of  The Emmitt Nershi Band.

Asheville's Town Mountain consists of Robert Greer (vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter); Jesse Langlais (banjo, writes a large part of Town Mountain’s original material and sings tenor and baritone); Barrett Smith (bass, guitar, vocals); Phil Barker (mandolin, vocals); and Bobby Britt (fiddle).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Del Yeah! Black Mountain

We were fortunate enough to be able to attend the first Del Yeah! weekend at the Pisgah Brewery venue in Black Mountain yesterday. It was a wonderful day spent enjoying beautiful mountain weather and listening to superb mountain music. Labor Day weekend doesn't get any better than this; if you missed it, you missed out indeed!

The lineup featured Charlotte rockers The New Familiars, Asheville bluegrass band Town Mountain, Black Mountain's Paco Shipp on blues harmonica, Colorado super group The Emmitt Nershi Band, and, of course, the one and only Del McCoury Band.

The enthusiastic crowd gave their love to Del and the boys. Del summed it all up in the lyrics from "Sweet Appalachia":

I’ve got that sweet mountain soul down in my bones,
And I can feel it when I sing them lonesome songs.

And I can tell by the way I feel,
That it comes from somewhere else,

Got that sweet mountain soul down in my bones.

I’ve got that sweet mountain spirit down in my veins,
And it flows through my heart like a mountain rain,

And no matter where I might roam,

These hills and hollers are still my home,

Got that sweet mountain spirit down in my veins.

Some people call me Hillbilly,
Some people call me Mountain Man,
Well, you can call me Appalachia,
Appalachia’s what I am.