Roasting a Whole Chicken

Okay, it’s almost flippin’ December.  Way too late to be camping in most places and nobody really wants to eat a whole bird after Thanksgiving.  As usual, my timing is fantastically terrible, as this post is about cooking a whole chicken on a campfire. 

But you campers gotta see this.  Of all the things I made in this fun campfire cooking series, none tops the whole chicken.  It came out so perfect.  Brown skin, juicy on the inside, and an aroma that had me watching my back for bears. 

Coat it with oil, season it with plenty of salt and hopefully some cayenne to give it a spice (or pound it with the infamous MONEY SPICE).  Wrap up really well in aluminum foil, start that thing over some really hot flames to brown it and get the cooking process started, and then finish it slowly on some hot coals until you feel that thing is done – should take at least an hour.  The slower the better. 

Anyway, here’s the video.  Hope at least some of you enjoyed this series and put it to good use when the timing is right. 

Published in: on November 30, 2010 at 9:06 am  Comments (8)  
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Potatoes and Shallots

Taters and shallots are like Starsky and Hutch or peanut butter and jelly.  They go together really well.  Inseparable.  Anyway, this has long been a favorite campfire meal side dish that I began doing ritualistically almost 10 years ago.  Campfire or not, throw some potatoes and shallots together with a little fat and it will come out great. 

Cut the shallots into big chunks after peeling them as shown in the photo.  Cut potatoes into large chunks as well.  Toss with a little salt and spice and a squirt of olive oil to get them all lightly coated and you’re ready to seal them up into an aluminum foil pouch.  Holy Schnikies!   

Hambone Soup

We interrupt the continuation of the campfire cooking series for this little tidbit of love.  While visiting my mother recently I was greeted with a fresh country ham.  Woo-wee.  It’s one of my favorite ways to get my nitrates in.  And while the ham was great and still keeps on giving (down to the last couple pounds of it as of this post), the inedible parts are what yielded perhaps the tastiest eats. 

Since many of you will by slaying hams for Thanksgiving, and many will have  a large hambone that you won’t have any idea what to do with, I had to notify you of this before it was too late.

I don’t have a video for you regrettably, but this is how I made this truly outstanding and incredibly flavorful soup.

Ingredients:

  • 1 hambone, preferably with at least a little meat left on it
  • 4 cans of white Northern beans, drained and rinsed well
  • 4 cups mirepoix – that’s carrots, celery, and onions
  • 1 stick of butter
  • Salt and Tabasco to season (unless using country ham, in which case it will already be as salty as seawater)
  • Bundle of thyme sprigs tied together with a little kitchen twine
  • Lots of water

Directions:

  1. In a pot big enough to handle your hambone (ideally you would hack it into reasonable-sized pieces with a cleaver, but not every0ne has such a complete kitchen arsenal) sweat the mirepoix for a half hour in the butter until nice and soft and maybe a little brown color on it.
  2. Add hambone and thyme sprigs
  3. Cover with water until everything is totally submerged
  4. Add white beans
  5. Bring to a boil, skim some of the scum and fat off of the surface, and simmer for at least 2 hours uncovered
  6. Season if necessary with salt and Tabasco sauce
  7. A little splash of vinegar at the end may be needed to brighten up the flavors a bit, particularly if you are using very salty country ham

*This soup would also take kindly to some fresh, chopped, bitter greens being added a half hour before the soup is done – like turnip greens, kale, or collards. 

All things considered though, not much can compare to the rich, flavorful, gelatinous goodness of hambone soup.  Yee-haw!

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Campfire cooking continues.  This was a fun one.  While the filling inside the pepper would have been a little better with the full bread crumb and egg treatment like that used for meatballs or meatloaf to create a more tender and fluffy texture, it was still yummy.  Definitely hit the spot on a sub-freezing Colorado morning. 

To prepare a stuffed pepper, which is something that you can easily do in your home oven instead of a campfire, make a nice blend of ground meat and seasonings (in this case it was thyme, shallots, and money spice – but you could use any variety you like, such as eggs, bread crumbs, jalapenos, cumin seeds, and salt and pepper for example), and then jam it into a bell pepper as shown in the video. 

Once you got that all figured out, you spread a little oil across the outside of the pepper, wrap that badboy up in foil or place in a covered dish of some kind if making several, and bake on high heat until cooked on the inside.  Anyway, here’s the video.  Yum…