It wouldn't be Fall without some great hunting and camping now would it? Down here in the HUMID mosquito plaqued South, camping in Summer is just NOT gonna happen! But Fall, when the weather gets a chil, and the nights are perfect for a campfire? Oh yeah, camping time it is! So this a perfect cookbook for Fall
Synopsis: Bill Ryan serves up some of the finest Cajun and
Give a few of these Louisiana favorites a try: Beignets, Shrimp Creole, Dirty Rice, and Crawfish Etouffee. And, if that doesn’t fit the bill, Grillades and Grits, Cajun Cacciatore, Mardi Gras Rolls, and Lime-Coconut Buttermilk Pie certainly will.
Review: First let me advise you that ALL the recipes in this book are adapted for the oven as well! In his forward, the author tells you how to do so by sharing his coal/oven temp conversion formula. So you can make these great recipes at home too! And who doesn't love letting your oven do all the work for you? Cast Iron Dutch ovens were basically the precursors to the Crock Pot, and if you go check your Grandma's house, you'll probably find one! Modern day we now have ones by Le Creuset which are wonderful, but nothing beats the seasoning aspect of a well used (and loved) cast iron pot! Plus they make great workout accessories- as most of them weigh in around ten to twenty pounds, BEFORE you put food in them (this is the one we use)
New to cast iron cooking? No problem! Bill gives you tips on picking out the right size cast iron Dutch oven that you need, and then tells you how to properly season it. Did you know that the seasonings from cooking fill the pores in the cast iron surface, and that is what gives it an almost non-stick surface for cooking? Yup- that's why Grandma's is always better than a new one! Bill also instructs you on how to properly clean one (vinegar is the key) and how to store it. Did you know that they need to "breathe" while being stored? bet you didn't!
Bill gives you a guide to Cajun and Creole cooking before getting started on the recipes. He starts with the basics- seasoning mixes and basic sauces (rouxs), before getting into breakfast items (like the recipes below), Main Dishes (like Creole Pork Chops, Crawfish pie, Coca Cola Brisket, and Alligator Puffs), and Sides (like Red Beans, Twice Baked Potatoes with Shrimp, and Cajun Mushrooms). Then he gets to what I like to call the Grandma stuff- Breads (like Bayou Blast Bread (with peppers bacon and cheese), Ruben Rye Bread, Mardi Gras Rolls and even Hawaiian Sweet bread (highly recommend!) and Desserts (like bread Pudding Doughnut Style, Honey Bun Cake and a Rum cake that starts from a French vanilla store bought cake mix!
This is a really complete little cookbook (at 124 pages), that truly showcases why Louisiana is called Sportsman's Paradise and how we cook while out getting said game from the wild. But all the recipes can be adapted meat wise and made at home, just as easily! The pictures are amazing and you will be hungry (!!) before you get to the end of the book, when looking at it for the first time! I never knew there were such things as Dutch Oven Cooking societies! But Bill gives you resources at the end of the book, to find one in your area- how fun is that? We highly recommend this book- make sure it goes on your Christmas wish list!
And here is a recipe that we LOVE, and that can be adapted to your family's tastes!
Mountain Man Breakfast Casserole
1 pound mild sausage (your preference-we like to use deer sausage when camping)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, chopped (we usually do a mixture of red, yellow and green)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 pounds shredded hash brown potatoes (frozen works fine)
8 eggs, beaten
2 cps grated Cheddar cheese (we use a Colby/Cheddar or Cheddar/Mexican blend)
1. In large skillet over a bed of coals (about 8-10) coals, or using small camp stove, cook sausage until no longer pink. Add onion and bell pepper and cook til tender. (Note: if you chop everything before you go camping, you can have it bagged and ready to add to pan. When we're camping we use the Dutch oven for everything, so we actually do this step in our Dutch oven).
2. Coat bottom and sides of Dutch oven with the olive oil, and add hash browns, sausage mixture you just made, and eggs, then top with the cheese.
3. Cover and bake, with 10 coals underneath the oven, and 16 coals on top, for 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Now for the CAJUN BREAKFAST CASSEROLE version, you would add the following:
1. Use 1 pound of andouille sausage, or hot sausage and 1 pound of crawfish tails or shrimp, sauted in 4 tbsp of butter for the first part of step one above. Then add 1/4 cup chopped celery to the pepper mix as well as 4 cloves of chopped garlic (we also add a healthy sprinkling of Cajun spice as well).
2. Use 12 eggs instead of 8, add 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of biscuit baking mix to step 2 above.
3. Use 9 coals under and 12 coals on top, for 40-45 minutes instead on step 3 above.
Now to cook them in a traditional home OVEN:
Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, check after 25 for doneness, as depending on the size of your Dutch oven, the time may vary. If you are using a small (2 quart one, ours is an 8 quart one), it may take less time.
About the Author: Bill he retired from the Air Force in 2002, after 21 years of service- THANK YOU BILL!), during which he met his wife while station in Louisiana, and they retired to Louisiana. Bill Ryan is the president and founder of the Louisiana Dutch Oven Society and serves on the board of directors of the International Dutch Oven Society as the representative for the Southern states region. He started cooking with Dutch ovens as a hobby in 2000 and has participated in Dutch oven cook-offs since 2007. He and his family live in Bossier CIty, LA.
Disclosure / Disclaimer: I was sent this book, free of charge, for review purposes, from Gibbs-Smith Publishing. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.