Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Thanksgiving, Candlelight, and the Open Hearth



The table is set for a CANDLELIGHT DINNER. . .

MENU
Rosemary Chicken with Wine
Candied Yams with Coconut, Raisins, and Pecans
Sauteed Spinach 
Homemade Bread
Honey Butter and Homemade Raspberry Jam

Every now and then John and I take off a day just for us. . .to do something we'll enjoy and treat ourselves. . .Often in the Fall and Winter we decide to stay at home and enjoy what other people come here to see. . .We have to separate ourselves from the work and take on a mindset of 'let's play'. . .That's just what we did one day recently. . .We chose a Candlelight dinner cooked in the Open Hearth fireplace. . .and lots of down time while we waited for the Rosemary Chicken to slowly roast in the Dutch Oven.. .




We'll be baking our Rosemary Chicken  OPEN HEARTH STYLE. . . .
but you can use your MODERN OVEN. . .Works either way. . .
(Check below for the Oven Method)

For us. . .it's FIRE COOKING. . .




 John and I never miss a chance to dress up and play either. . . It's optional. . .(grin)


 
We love our OPEN HEARTH FIREPLACE. . .for cooking. . .as well as to snuggle by. . .There are times when this fireplace is even more handy. . . .A couple of winters ago, it was survival. . . .We had a horrible ice storm and was without power for over ten days and no way to get out of the house. . . .Trees and power lines were down everywhere. . . .We stayed warm by the fire the entire time, feasting on Rosemary chicken, Brunswick stew, country ham and biscuits, roasted veggies of all kinds, gumbo and cornbread, apple cake, spiced cobbler, bread pudding with whiskey sauce. . .Want me to continue? Is your mouth watering? 



I've heard from several who were interested in how we do our open hearth cooking. . . .
so, we're beginning with a simple recipe that is almost fool proof. . . . 
Get your iron pots out and let's cook!

You'll need a large Dutch oven. . . .
If it doesn't have legs, set it on an iron trivet that is tall enough to place hot coals underneath--
or a couple of brick underneath will work, too, if you don't have a trivet.

Heat the Dutch Oven--slowly but evenly--close to the fire while preparing chicken.






Put an iron trivet in the bottom of the Dutch Oven.
Place the prepared chicken on the iron trivet. . .
This  keeps the bird from resting on the bottom of the pot.
Add water and a little wine,
no higher then the trivet. Cover with the lid.




Shovel enough coals underneath the pot to bring the liquid to a slow, steady boil,
Then let the liquid simmer. . .
This adds moisture to the Chicken and infuses the Rosemary throughout the meat.

Shovel more coals underneath as needed to maintain the simmer.
Add more water or wine as the liquid evaporates. . .Don't let the pot go dry. . .
Baste chicken as needed with the wine mix and/or Olive Oil. . .




Now comes the "hard" part. . . .
Grab a mug of hot cider, sit back and enjoy the fire. . . .
John has that perfected !!!!




Check the Chicken for tenderness with a long fork once it looks almost done.
The last 15-20 minutes, place coals on the lid top.
This will brown the chicken and ensure the meat is cooked through.

Wasn't that easy?
I wish you could smell this bird as it cooks. . . .
There's a wonderful aroma that fills the air. . . .


TO ROAST IN THE OVEN
If you'd like to try the recipe in the oven,
place the prepared chicken in a covered roaster, without a trivet.
Pour a little water and wine around it. . .and bake at 350 degrees until done.
Baste as needed.




Many have asked how we know when the Rosemary Chicken is done?
We usually surprise them with our answer.  .  .
It's done when Boo wakes from his nap and lays on the hearth in front of the Dutch Oven!!!
We have no idea how he knows. . . .but, it works every time!

If you don't have a Boo, it will be up to you to check the progress regularly. . .
The baking time will vary. . .depending on how fast you cook it. . .
Higher heat (boiling liquid) will cook fast. . .
Lower heat (slow simmer) will take longer. . .but the Chicken will be more tender and juicy. . .




While the  Rosemary Chicken was roasting and the aroma was making us hungry,
 we melted butter in a separate skillet. . .
Then added cooked yams, brown sugar,  raisins, and coconut. . .
Letting the sugars caramelize but not burn.

In the second skillet, fresh spinach was added to chopped onion sauteed in a little butter.

The large trivet allowed us to cook two dishes at one time,
shoveling coals underneath as needed.

Homemade Bread is for another post. . .but you do know how to make the Honey Butter?
It's simple. . .soften butter and mix in honey!!!!



Good Food. . .
"A little wine. . .A little candlelight. . .and Thee"

I bet you are asking what our day of play has to do with Thanksgiving. . .Well. . .Thanksgiving isn't that far off. . .so we're hoping that this might inspire you to celebrate in a little different way with your family and roast a Rosemary Chicken or Turkey Breast of your own. . .It is so GOOOOOOOD. . .whether roasted by fire or in the oven. . .We plan to roast a Turkey breast for Thanksgiving. . .so why don't you join us and try it?









2 comments:

Jann Olson said...

Sounds like you had a great evening for the two of you! We have a Dutch oven with legs and I'm going to show this recipe to hubby. I think we need to give it a try!
hugs,
Jann

Joanie McLaughlin said...

Very interesting post! My first thought about cooking the chicken in a Dutch oven is, "It won't be brown". Never realized coals put on top of the pot would brown it. It's fun to learn how things used to be. Thanks!

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