Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dutch Oven - Chicken Ticca Masala

Tonight we took a culinary trip to India but we didn't leave our back porch. Having tasted Indian food a few months ago at a restaurant, I wanted to bring the flavors of India home. This curry is easy to make, but has quite a few spices in it-- some I presume you don't have in your spice cupboard. Garam Masala can be easily made at home with this recipe.

This turned out tasty, but it wasn't the spicy flavorful dish I had at the restaurant. Not bad for a first try though! With the tomatoes, I would use much less water than is below. 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup at most. Even letting it reduce it was very soupy. I prefer a slightly thicker sauce. Also the spices were milder that I like, so I would probably double them. All in all it was tasty and the flavors were layered and subtle. I'll enjoy eating leftovers for lunch Monday.

12" dutch oven

  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup ginger root, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro, chopped
  • long grain rice, steamed
Heat olive oil in 12" dutch oven. Brown onions in dutch oven and add ginger and garlic. Add spices and blend well. Add tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil and add yogurt and chicken. When chicken is cooked, add salt to taste and reduce liquids by half. Serve over long grain rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.

Bread - Indian Garlic Naan

A few months ago, my wife and I had Indian food for the first time. We ate at this little strip-mall restaurant nearby. The server asked what we were ordering, and after we ordered (I had Chicken Ticca Masala) she asked if we would like some Naan with our dinner. Having never had Indian food, I wanted the whole experience, so we said yes and had what has to be the best bread I've ever had... until now.

Naan is typically served with Indian dishes like curries and tandoor cooked meats.

Since I don't have a tandoor on my back porch (I just have a glass door... tut tut tut), this is not 100% true to the source bonafide Naan. It is still Naan and still very very tasty. In order to replicate the intense dry heat of a tandoor, I placed a large heap of coals on my patio surrounding a dutch oven lid stand (3 bricks could be used, arranged radially) and placed a 12" dutch oven lid upside down on the lid stand. If I had a big gas stove, I would put the lid on the stove burner and crank it to high.

A few tips I learned-- The lid needs to be very very very hot, so I'd almost start a chimney just for the lid. I had about 12 coals for the lid and it started to cool down too much. I pulled some coals from my main dish and it worked out okay. The other thing, is that the Naan needs to be rolled very very very thin. The intense heat makes the bread rise a lot, so a dough that is 1/8 inch will rise to 1/2 inch really quick. Only do one Naan at a time, since the lid will stay hot better. When turning the bread, put it on new real estate so it stays scorching hot. I turned them with my hands, and got burned a few times. You might want a spatula that handles high heat.

12" dutch oven lid
lid stand

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4  cups bread flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced


Mix yeast and warm water to activate yeast in a non reactive container. Mix sugar, milk, egg, and salt and beat with whisk. Add 3 cups flour and mix to a soft dough with a wooden spoon. Fill a 1 cup measuring cup with flour and toss half on a table. Knead until dough begins to become slightly more stiff than soft. This is the glutens dissolving. Don't knead to a windowpane as in other yeast breads. Kneading should only take 8 to 10 minutes. Stretch skin tight, form into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm spot. Let raise for an hour. Preheat a dutch oven lid suspended over hot coals with a lid stand. Punch down the dough and pull into a small balls, roll very flat with a greased rolling pin and top with garlic. Press the garlic into the dough and transfer to the hot lid garlic side down. Only cook one Naan at a time. Turn when the dough stops bubbling. Cook until browned on opposite side. Serve with melted butter.

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lodge's Cast Iron Grilled Steak with Blue Cheese Butter

Last week I won Lodge Manufacturing's Facebook giveaway for most unique breakfast--Aebleskivers. The prize was a copy of the book, "The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook", which hits store shelves today. I'll do a few more recipes and give a more in depth review soon.

Tonight Missla was busy with our congregation's women's organization, so she and the kids ate before I got home. When I got home from work, I received a kiss and she ran out the door. No worries! It gives me the chance to cook up some steaks using the recipe on page 127 of the cookbook, Cast Iron Grilled Steak with Blue Cheese Butter.

The method is to preheat your oven and then get the cast iron piping hot. Sear the steaks for 2 minutes per side, (and I found that if you move the steak to new real estate when flipping you get a better sear) then finishing in the oven for 2-4 minutes. This is how they cook steaks in fancy restaurants, and it delivers the perfect balance of tender juicy meat on the inside, and tasty sear marks on the outside.

Even with my poor quality steaks that had been frozen, it still was the best steak I've had from my own kitchen. I'm going to quit grilling them on propane and use cast iron. The Blue Cheese Butter was a nice touch, and even though I had only about an ounce of blue cheese, the flavor still balanced out well. I'm going to try it again with all 4 ounces of blue cheese. Adding a baked potato lightly touched with some Blue Cheese Butter and a salad with some of the leftover blue cheese dressing rounded out the meal.

If you want the recipe, run out to the nearest book retailer and grab a copy of The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook. I highly recommend it!

Disclosure: Aside from winning the cookbook from Lodge, I received no compensation for this post.

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Appetizer - Super Bowl Wings

Yes, sports fans! It's that time of year again, and we're here a day late to share with you how to make a great dish to bring to your buddy's Super Bowl party. So unless you drive a Delorien, I recommend you bookmark this page for next year. If you happen to be from the future reading this archived post, please know that this will be a great addition to any gathering, especially a Super Bowl party. Please, future email me and let me know if football is played in a battledome with robot gladiators and humans secretly plotting an uprising. Go human beings!

Uber-nerdy post-apocalyptic distopic robot fantasies aside*, these wings are really good. And yes, the simplicity of the dredge is what makes them so. Coat them well in dredge, on all sides and you'll get a good crispy crust. Science dictates that the crispy crust is going to try to dissolve when you toss them in sauce, so make sure that oil is spitting hot and coat well. Also, don't fry partially frozen wings. They won't cook evenly, the dredge will either burn or won't stick and you won't be pleasing your robot overlords, or guests, as the case may be.

Deep fryer or Large pot

10 minutes prep
10-20 minutes cook time
Serves 4-6


  • 2 quarts canola or peanut oil
  • 2 pounds chicken wings, thawed
The Dredge:
  • 1-2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
The Toss Sauce:
The Serve & Garnish:

Heat the oil until it spits when a light flick of water is applied. Mix the dredge, and toss the chicken in it. Spoon the wings in the hot oil and cook until crust is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Remove wings and place in a tossing bowl. Heat the hot sauce and butter until combined and butter melts. Stir to create a combined emulsion. Drizzle the sauce over the cooked wings and toss in the bowl. Let rest 3 minutes and toss again. Serve with blue cheese dressing and celery.

*Just try saying that 10 times fast.

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dressing - Blue Cheese Dressing

My favorite part of late winter is watching football while devouring some good eats. Serve this up with some hot wings and you've got yourself some really good food. This recipe is adapted from a family secret recipe and with some major tweaking of my own.

  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon liberal shakes salt & pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry yellow mustard
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
Mix liquid ingredients in mixing bowl. Add cheese and spices. Mix well and age overnight in the refrigerator. Serve with hot wings, on salad or topping burgers.

5 Stars

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I see a lot of good things coming...

Sorry for the lack of recipes! Don't worry, we've got plenty of meat and potatoes coming in the pipeline, we've just been so busy! (And out of both charcoal and propane? Seriously, how does that happen around here?)

Last week I entered Lodge's giveaway on Facebook for the most unique breakfast with my family Aebleskiver recipe, and won the contest! Today my prize arrived, a copy of their new cookbook, "The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook". I drooled as I turned the pages... so many new recipes to try! I see a lot of good cooking in the near future!

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.