Boijoy wrote:Am I hearing "Late Night Bacon Camp" ??? hummm...
How about bacon recipe camp, where the dishes being served to guests have bacon in them, at least as seasoning? I don't know how well that would work on the Playa, because these dishes tend to be fairly heavy, but let's say that you're adapting the concept of burning to a colder, damper place like the Central Plains states, and you're holding an event in mid-winter. Heaviness in one's food might not be such a bad thing.
Here's a very simple, very Midwestern sort of thing as an example: We slowly fry a few strips of bacon (I think three would do) until most of the fat has been rendered and the bacon is deeply browned. We pour the fat from one pan into another, being careful to leave the sediment in the first pan behind, as that tends to burn. We'll have to leave some of the fat in the first pan to do that, but don't worry. We'll get it back.
In the second pan, the one with the clear fat, we'll brown the pieces of a disjoined chicken, with the skin on, over medium high heat until the skin is golden and the edges of the inside of the rib cage show a little color.
In the first pan, one large or a few small carrots (sliced thickly) are cooked over medium heat until softened and brown around the edges, with two coarsely chopped green bell peppers keeping them company in the pan. A roughly equal quantity of coarsely chopped yellow onion is added, red pepper sprinkled over it, the onions then being cooked until they begin to soften, with the carrots. One or two chopped cloves of garlic are added, and we continue cooking over medium heat until the onion is soft and taking on color. We sprinkle paprika over all of this - maybe about a teaspoon's worth - and cook until the paprika has just begun to color the fat in the pan and release its odor, immediately adding maybe a pound of chopped tomatos. Canned are fine, and in the Midwest at midwinter, about as good as you're likely to do, the climate being what it is. The tomatoes are cooked until they've released their juice, and the juice has evaporated, and the tomatoes have softened.
The green peppers will probably seem kind of raw in the center, and a little overcooked around the edges. That's fine, in fact, what we want, which is why we keep the pieces of pepper large.
We now add the chicken from the second pan, enough chicken broth to braise the chicken, a heavy sprinkling of caraway seed being added. The reserved bacon strips are crumbled and added to the sauce in the pan. We stir to blend the broth into the vegetable and bacon mixture in the pan, and then bring the pan up to a simmer, dropping the temperature down to low, partially covering the pan and braising the chicken until it's done. We take the chicken out, and, keeping it warm, bring the sauce in the pan up to a brisk boil, and, stirring it rapidly to keep it from burning, reduce the sauce until thick, and return the chicken to it.
Comments: This is best done in cast iron. Aluminum won't distribute the heat as evenly. Using two pans can be a good idea, because both the chicken and the vegetables will release juices that can easily burn if one takes one item out and then starts to brown the other in the reserved fat. This goes nicely with simmered buckwheat as a side dish. (Take large grains of buckwheat, stir with beaten egg, cook until dry in a dry skillet, add more broth, simmer until cooked and dry), using twice as much liquid as buckwheat by volume, and using maybe two eggs per pound of buckwheat.
The reason we're happy that the green pepper didn't cook all of the way through, at first, is because if it did, its flavor wouldn't blend with that of the tomatos, which is where much of the meatiness of this dish comes from.
On the Playa, we'd have a thick, gloppy sauce and an unholy mess to clean, but in the eastern woodland, courtesy of the more active biodegredation that takes place, the demands of "leave no trace" aren't as stringent as they must be in a desert. Most solid waste (eg. the chicken bones, in this case) still must be carted out, but scattering small quantities of ashes and dishwater shouldn't raise any issues. So, we can wash out hands and dishes, and not worry about what on earth we're going to do with all of that greywater.