Camping is always all about the food! Oh, yes, we love the hikes, sitting around the campfire in the early mornings drinking coffee and then late at night sipping on our favorite libations and looking at the vast array of sparkling stars—but, most of all, we love the cooking! It’s always a group effort—someone’s setting the picnic table, another is gathering more firewood, and a few of us are working on the grub!
We take a Dutch oven camping with us—the lid serves as a frying pan, too—oh, yeah, it’s heavy—ours is a 14 incher and probably weighs close to a gym barbell, but cooking in it adds to the charm of camping! A Facebook friend of mine shared that this dish is similar to a boholicious Middle Eastern dish called ‘Maqlooba’~~of course, I immediately did a little digging into what ‘Maqlooba’ is! In Arabic it means ‘flipped over’—and, the ingredients do have similarities, which is really cool.
However, in the case of this dish, it’s not flipped over~~next time though I just might do that! Why? Well, because the wonderful thing about Maqlooba is the crispy bottom that forms on the bottom as the rice and veggies settle in cooking—that did happen with this dish, too! While I used peas, maqlooba uses usually cauliflower, maybe eggplant, and tomatoes. Maybe next time, I’ll add these wonderful veggies—for now, I think it’s intriguing how so many cultures’ dishes can be very much the same but just with different names and maybe a few boho tweaks!
- 2 ½ to 3 pounds of cut of whole chicken pieces (thighs, wings, breast—cut the breasts in halves if they’re very large)
- 2 tsp. sea salt
- 2 Tbl. Butter
- 2 Tbl. Olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups organic condensed soup (mushroom or chicken)~~i.e., Pacific brand
- 6 cups chicken broth (divided)
- 2 tsp. red chili flakes (gauge according to your spice index!)
- 1 Tbl. Dried Greek seasoning mixture
- Fresh herbs still on stems—thyme, oregano, basil, mint, and flat leaf parsley—2-3 stems of each—tear or cut up into random pieces
- 4 bay leaves
- 2 whole garlic cloves (peel off as much of the dry covering as possible but do not break apart the clove)
- 1 cup cubed sweet onion
- 1 lemon (juice & zest)
- 1 cup Jasmine rice
- 1 (10-12 ounces) bag thawed (previously frozen) peas
- Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
- Coat the chicken all over with salt. Put on a plate. Over medium high heat in a large heavy pot with lid, melt the butter and add the olive oil. When the butter/oil is hot, add the chicken and sear on each side to a golden brown.
- Add the soup and 4 cups of chicken broth and blend together moving the chicken around in the pot. Add the chili flakes, Greek seasoning mixture, fresh herbs, bay leaves, garlic cloves, and onions. Cover tightly (important to the steaming/cooking) and cook over medium heat for about 75 minutes stirring occasionally. (Note: If your lid is not tight to the pot, add a doubled layer of foil under the lid.) Add another cup of chicken broth if needed.
- Add the lemon juice, zest, rice and remaining broth (if needed). Turn to medium low, cover tightly with the lid and cook another 45-60 minutes. Stir a couple of times.
- Turn heat to low and add the thawed peas on top. Cover with the lid and let the peas steam on top about 20 minutes. You’ll find that some of the rice may be sticking to the bottom and have some crispy to it—that’s quite all right and adds to the flavor! Ready to serve on tin plates, and you’ll feel like you’re camping!
Now don't be skeeered off by that long list of ingredients. It's all just put in the pot and makes the flavors just explode!
©alice d’antoni phillips www.allyskitchen.com