Randie has a Relief Society event coming up where they are doing some Dutch Oven cooking, and then letting everyone sample all the food that is cooked... what a great idea, the Men should do something like that.
So I start to think..."We have a Dutch Oven, and I even know where it is... hmm, I'm a pretty good cook, I should get it down, and we can have a nice Dutch Oven meal tonight." So I mention it to Randie who also thinks it's a great idea because she can use this as a means to determine what kind of cost they are going to be looking at, and see how many people it would feed. It's about 4:30 and I figure it will take a couple of hours, so we should be able to eat around 7:00...a little later than we normally eat dinner, but it will be worth it...cool, we have a plan.
(Stephen and I lighting a few more coals)
We quickly pulled up some recipes online, and found a nice recipe called "Chicken and Potato Delight" sounded good...and the Recipe says it serves around 8-10 people...I'm thinking.."Not bad, there are 5 of us, and Stephen and Justin eat for 2 people each...we should come out just about right" I jot down what we'll need from the store...and I run down to Walmart. the recipe calls for 10 chicken breasts, which makes sense I guess, 1 for each serving, about 12-14 potatoes, a couple onions, some bacon, 3 cups of cheese, Mushroom Soup, Chicken Soup, some Sour Cream, Mushrooms and some spices. by the time I'm done it cost me $35.00...OK, I guess that's not to bad, if you break it down by servings that only $3.50 per serving...so I'm feeling pretty good about that, and when I get home Randie is thinking that if everyone got 1/2 serving we could probably serve around 20 people for her Relief Society event, which is even better.
It's about 5:00 pm by now, so we need to hurry and get this going, I have Stephen go out to get the Dutch Oven, and I start chopping chicken and vegetables like a mad and by 5:30 every things chopped and we are ready to cook.
( Justin came out to play the guitar for us... )
We grab the Dutch Oven and drag it out to the back yard. (I seriously think it weighs about 50lbs) the recipe calls for about 18 briquettes on the bottom, to "FRY" the bacon. So we get out the lighter fluid, and soak 18 briquettes, and light a match... cool we have a nice little fire in our back yard...it's like camping almost, without having to load the entire house into the van first..."I like this"
Jumping ahead 1/2 hour...I thought the briquettes were finally lit, (Lesson 1: all briquettes are not created equal). We put the Dutch Oven over the briquettes... and wait for the "frying" part to start...hmm 15 mins later, "No Frying" (Lesson 2: All Dutch ovens are no the same size) The combination of having a HUGE Dutch oven, (I learned afterwards that there are only 2 other ovens that are larger than ours) and tempermental coals just doesn't work well...obviously we are not getting enough heat...darn coals just aren't working, (Lesson 3: Throw away 5 year old coals and get new ones)... We need something to really charge those coals...I'm thinking "BLOW TORCH" that should do the trick. I run to the garage and grab the blow torch, and I have to say it did light them up pretty good. Plus I put about 15 more briquettes down (these were from a different bag "Kingsford") Now we had some heat and finally the bacon started to sizzle..."Yes" we were on our way...of course by now it's a little after 6:30 pm. I go in and tell Randie that were not going to be eating at 7:00, might be 8:00 or 8:30 as all we have cooked right now is the bacon, "But it smells good".
It's almost 7:00 the bacon is done and I add the Chicken, onions, and mushrooms...I put the lid on and move 1/2 the coals from the bottom to the lid...chicken cooks pretty fast we should be good now. It is now almost 8:00 and the chicken is finally done, and it still "Smells Good". We are ready to add the potatoes, soup, and sour cream...I run in and tell Randie we might be looking more at 9:00 or 9:30 pm for dinner, and it's starting to get dark. (Lesson 4: briquettes are usually only good for about an hour) The recipe says to stir every 10-15 mins, I pop the lid after 15 mins..and it's not doing much of anything...We are loosing heat again... 30 mins later, We have new briquettes, now we can start cooking the potatoes. I run in to tell Randie she might want to feed Sarah a snack and we will definitely be ready by 10:00...She give's me that "Yeah..Right" look.
Lesson 5: you can't cook a HUGE meal with a LITTLE heat...It's now 10:00 and I'm firing up some more briquettes...and this point it's becoming personal..It's me or the Dutch Oven, and I've determined that whoever wrote the recipe didn't have a clue as to how many briquettes it would take...(after reading the recipe later I learned they used a 12" dutch oven and mine is 15" ) it's 10:30 now and we FINALLY have some good heat going, I can tell because I can hear it boiling inside...I go in and tell Randie that we should definitely be ready by 11:30...she looks at me like I'm a mad man, and she'll believe me when Hell Freezes over.
I'm checking the potatoes every 15 mins now...and they are just not cooking very fast...at 11:30 I finally admit defeat, the potatoes are still a little bit crunchy, but I'm so tired at this point I don't even care, We all ate a big helping, and cleaned up as quickly as possible, and I collapsed into bed...as far as servings go I think we could have fed a small army, the good thing is I know what were having for dinner tomorrow night, and the next night...
(sure smelled good..)
Lesson 6: If you've never really cooked with a Dutch Oven...give yourself plenty of time to learn.