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Leviathan Song
Sep 8, 2010

For my 3 dishes I chose braised short ribs, sauteed apples and leeks and whole wheat hearth bread. Before starting though, I needed to rehab a very sad dutch oven. The first step was to scrub out the remains of a 4 year old cobbler.

Afterwards, I sanded it down and gave it two seasoning coats with good old fashioned bacon fat.

I cooked the braised short ribs in smoking loon red zinfandel with onions, carrots, and garlic for the aromatics. For spices I added some dried marjoram and thyme from my garden and bay leaves. Flour, salt, pepper, and bacon fat rounded out the dish.

To show the real versatility of cast iron, it was time to build a fire in the backyard fire pit.

The dutch oven goes on the fire to warm up.

My backyard mis en place.

Searing the short ribs.

All the ingredients combined in the dutch oven and ready to simmer for a few hours.

The dutch oven with coals above and below. This is what campfire cooking is all about.

Now onto the sauteed apples and leeks. This dish is pretty simple with only 5 ingredients but the savoriness of the leeks combine well with the sweetness of the apples. I went with pink ladies which are by far my favorite apple.

I sauteed these on an electric stove with just a little butter.

The final dish was whole wheat hearth bread and I actually started the dough the day before. This is the one dish that I made to a recipe. I haven't done much baking before and it requires a lot more precision than braised meat. Really it's the only thing that I measured a single ingredient for.

Here it is in a greased cast iron skillet.

Cooking in the oven. The pan below adds steam to the oven to crisp up the top of the crust.

The crumb shot. It was hard to photograph but the steam baked top and cast iron baked bottom crust were both a bit different making for a really great combination of textures. I hadn't tried cast iron bread before and I would definitely try this one again.

The finished meal.

The braised short ribs turned out a little blacker than they typically do when I bake them in a glass pan so I was a bit nervous that I'd overcooked them. When I bit into the first one, it was perfect. The black was caramelized wine sauce and I think that it was a marked improvement over the more gravy like sauce that I usually get from this dish.

Finally, me enjoying the meal with a nice glass or red zinfandel and some butter slathered on my bread.


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