Saturday, December 30, 2006

Slow-Roasted Roast Beef

I roasted this cut of beef in my mother-in-law's oven this afternoon. After searing the roast in a skillet, I placed the roast in a 200-degree oven for around five hours. At about one-hour per pound, I pulled the roast from the oven at 4:30 in the afternoon. It registered 140 degrees on the instant-read thermometer. When sliced, the meat was an even pink color throughout.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

600 Biscuits in a 22-inch MACA Dutch Oven

Here's how Dave Herzog prepared and baked 600 biscuits in a 22-inch MACA Dutch oven:

I separate each biscuit from the can. I also dip one side of each biscuit into flavored butter then place into the Dutch. I lay the ontop of each other like shingles on a roof of a house, one ring at atime. When I get to the beginning of the ring, I lift the first biscuit up and place the last under the first. I continue making rings of biscuits until I reach the tube in the center. Then, I start from the outside of the Dutch with a new layer and new ring. I can fit 900 in my 22-inch Maca this way but, because we had to move out cooking area to the other side of the building I was only able to get 600 in the oven and still make the serving time and get all our equipment moved. That included burning charcoal, 6 cooking tables, 2 portable campfires, 2 prep tables, about 60 Dutch ovens, 3 chuck boxes, and 4 largeice chests. That was only between 2 cooks. We had 2 more cooks show upjust after the biscuits were served.

I almost forgot! I cook them low and slow, it takes about 3 hours for 600 to bake and 4 hours for 900. Yes, they still come out very light and fluffy!

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Dave's Scratch Country Gravy

Dave Herzog serves country gravy at the grand opening of the Sportsman's Warehouse in Rocklin, California on Saturday, December 2, 2006. He prepared about three gallons of gravy in a 15-inch MACA Dutch oven. Dave baked 600 biscuits in a 22-inch MACA oven to accompany the gravy.


This recipe is from one David Herzog 's cookbooks.

3 pounds bacon ends and pieces, diced
3 pounds bulk pork sausage
2 medium yellow onions, diced
1/4 cup minced garlic
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
2 Tablespoons fresh ground black pepper
2 teaspoons ground red pepper
2 pounds unsalted butter
2 1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 to 3 gallons whole milk

Preheat and oil a 15-inch Maca Dutch oven with a solid layer of coals across the whole bottom. Brown the bacon pieces in the Dutch oven then add the sausage and brown. Add the onions, garlic, salt, and black and red peppers. Cook together for 5 minutes.

Add butter and melt. When butter is melted, start adding the flour to make a roux, 1/2-cup at a time. You need 2-1/2 cups for a thinner gravy and 3 cups of flour for a thicker gravy. Cook the flour for 8 to 10 minutes to cook out the raw flour flavor.

Slowly add milk to the mixture to thicken the gravy consistently stirring while adding the milk. Bring the whole pot to a boil and lightly boil (just above a simmer) for 10 to 15 minutes to completely thicken.

Makes 3 to 4 gallons gravy.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Chili Verde

Chili verde with spicy rice pilaf seemed to be the perfect combination for the El Dorado Western Railway's annual Christmas Dinner last night. I needed larger portions because my mother-in-law, all three children (a rare treat these days!) and granddaughter attended with Deb and me.

This is essentially the same recipe that I posted last January in response to Sunset magazine's "traditional" chili verde with tomatoes. I tweaked the recipe by adding a large can of green chili enchilada sauce and reducing the canned Anaheim chilies to one can.


Many supermarkets stock canned tomatillos. You'll find them on the Mexican isle. Use a Lodge #10 Dutch oven or 12-inch camp oven for this recipe.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 pounds boned pork shoulder (Boston butt), fat-trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 onions (2 pounds total), cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
5 large cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatillos
1 (28-ounce) can green chili enchiladas sauce
1 (14-ounce) can chicken broth
1 (7-ounce) can whole green chilies, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano leaves
2 bay leaves
Chopped fresh cilantro
Lime wedges

Heat vegetable oil in a 7-quart cast iron Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, lightly season cubed pork with salt and ground black pepper. When hot, add 1/3 the pork. Turn pieces as necessary until well browned on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer meat to a bowl. If pot is dry, add 1 tablespoon oil. Repeat process for next 2 batches to brown pieces on all sides.

Reduce heat to medium. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of leftover pork fat in Dutch oven. Add oil, if necessary, to bring the total to 2 tablespoons. Add onion, garlic and cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 8 minutes.

Return meat and any accumulated juices to Dutch oven. Crush tomatillos with your hand and place in Dutch oven. Add enchiladas sauce, broth, chilies, bay leaves and oregano to Dutch oven. Bring chili mixture to a simmer.

Place lid on Dutch oven. Bake at 350 degrees (17 coals under oven and 8 on lid) until pork is very tender when pierced and flavors are blended, about 90 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Serve topped with cilantro leaves. Garnish with lime to squeeze over chili. Makes 12 (1-cup) or 16 (3/4-cup) servings.


Here's a recipe that's inspired by James Beard and Rick Bayless. In Beard's classic 1972 work, American Cookery, he said, "This dish has little relationship to genuine Spanish or Mexican rices."

Instead, Beard attributes its Hispanic title to the addition of tomatoes and its creation by a resourceful American cook who was "thinking of new ways to dress ordinary food."

Bayless' classic red tomato rice is patterned after the Mexican rice that we all know and love. "Red with bits of tomato, sweet with onions and garlic," said Bayless in Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen.

In his bid for authentic Mexican dishes, Baylesss rice contains all the elements of good flavor: "good rice, classically made in the fluffy pilaf (fried raw rice) style, shot through with the pure essence of Mexican flavor -- even down to the sprinkling of chopped cilantro just before serving."

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
3 large garlic cloves, sliced
2 cups long-grain rice
1-1/2 cups salsa
4-1/4 cups chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

heat a 10-inch Dutch oven over medium heat. Add olive oil and heat. When hot, sweat onion and garlic until soft and a little color starts to show. Add rice and stir to coat with oil. Saute rice and aromatics until rice starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid burning the rice.

Add the salsa and stir for a minute as the salsa sears and releases its aroma. After the salsa reduces a bit, add chicken broth, bay leaves and oregano. Season with salt and stir. Bring to a boil, stir once and place the lid on the oven.

Bake with charcoal briquettes for 350 degrees (16 briquettes on the lid and 5 underneath oven) for about 20, until done. Remove from heat and let rice set for 10 minutes. Sprinkle cilantro over rice and use a fork to fluff the rice and stir in the cilantro. Serves 12 (1-2-cup) portions.