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Campfire Cookery Chicken With Dumplings on LisaMorales.com

Campfire Dutch oven cooking can be a lot of fun. The cooking itself becomes your camp site activity. It is not quick nor necessarily the least expensive method of preparing a meal. But it is very satisfying and reaches back to our pioneering roots.

For this dinner which easily feeds four hungry adults you will need a whole cut up chicken bone in. A can of carrots or fresh carrots, baby potatoes skin on or yellow potatoes skin on and quartered or 2 cans of whole potatoes, a sweet onion quartered, and if desired canned or fresh mushrooms, quartered. You will also need two chicken bullion cubes or canned/boxed broth, herbs such as herbes de Provence, thyme, sea salt and ground black pepper. If you have some dry white wine to add, even better.

Everything begins with your cook fire. Use hardwoods and build a substantial fire that you let burn down into a pile of hot coals. You are not cooking over the flames.

Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper and add some cooking fat to a preheated Dutch oven. This can be bacon grease, olive oil, Crisco or something similar but avoid butter which will burn very quickly Brown the chicken in batches, don't crowd the pan. Don't add cold chicken to already cooking meat because it cools the whole pan. Campfire heat is rarely even, so move pieces around for even browning on all sides.

Browning the bird.

Return all browned chicken to the Dutch oven, add remaining ingredients. .

Broth, vegetables and white wine added.

Cover tightly. Most Dutch ovens have a groove to line up for the best fit on the lid. Tend your fire, keeping an even, low bed of coals. You can use stones under the grate or under the pot to raise it if necessary. If using a tripod, raise or lower the S-hook on the chain to adjust for a steady simmer. Simmer about 90 minutes, adding broth as necessary to keep meat and vegetables covered.

if you need to keep the stew warm until making the dumplings, move it off the fine and place some hot coals on the lid.

Dumplings cook uncovered first.

Make the dumplings. Just-add-water baking mix is the easiest. Use 2/3c water, milk, or re-constituted powdered milk or buttermilk for 2c mix. Add fresh or dried parsley if desired. Drop directly off of a serving spoon into the hot liquid. Simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, then cover and simmer for ten more minutes.

Serve with a chilled Sauvignon Blanc or Chablis, or a Belgian wheat beer, for a wonderful one-pot camping meal!

Clean your cast iron cookware per the manufacture's instruction. You can use a small amount of biodegradable soap, or put water in the pan and reheat on the fire first then scrape. You can use cold fire ash to scrub with, or sand, mixed with water. Dry thoroughly, over coals if watched carefully. Wipe some neutral cooking oil into the warm pan before cooling and storing.

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Lisa Morales
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