There is nothing better than a cool evening, a roaring campfire, camp chairs around it, people laughing, sipping, talking, the skies waning into darkness and something totally decadent in the cast iron Dutch oven on the grill. I’m talking north african chicken stew! Now, you don’t have to have a campfire to make this stew. Yep, you can do it in your slowcooker or oven, but you’ll need to adjust the cooking times and temperatures, as well as the pan searing of the bird before it starts cooking in those luscious liquids. But, that’s not a problem. Just a few adjustments and you’re good to go.
Cooking over an open fire in a Dutch oven is, for me, an exhilarating experience. The temperature of the fire plus the hot red coals that are fired and put under the Dutch oven and on top of it make this chicken cook in no time~it’s kind of like a pressure cooker, but it’s all about the high heat. Since we have a 14″ Dutch oven, it takes two of us, yep, my hubby, to help because that lid and pot are heavy. And, while I’ve got some Popeye arms going, it’s just a safety thing to have a sous chef right by your side to help.
What makes this stew so amazing are the juices and spices. Yes, the exotic and tantalizing Middle Eastern harissa and ras el hanut. There’s no reason to buy them because in my cookbook, Ally’s Kitchen~A Passport for Adventurous Palates, I show you how to make them (and more). This cookbook is one you’ll definitely want in your collection because it lets your palate travel the globe without having to go through TSA checks!
This recipe is part of my cooking for Food.Fire.Feasts. Oh, lawsy, what an experience and you can see all of the menus, videos and shenanigans of the 8 diverse camping bloggers at the website!
Put the coconut oil in a hot dutch oven (12-14” diameter) over a campfire. Let it get hot.
Mix the harissa, ras el hanut, salt, peppercorns, cumin & chili flakes together and rub on both sides of the chicken. Work into the meat and under the skin as much as you can.
Put the chicken (skin side down) in the hot dutch oven and let it sear for about 3-5 minutes. Watch carefully as the campfire heat is harder to regulate. Flip to the other side and pan sear another 3-5 minutes.
Add the wine and pineapple juice and deglaze the dutch oven. Blend and stir then add the pineapple chunks. Add half the chicken broth, corn soup, one box of cream of chicken soup and blend. Add the garlic clove. Cover tightly and let this cook about 60 minutes.
(Note: Hot coals will be placed under the Dutch oven and on the lid.)
Check the chicken for tenderness after an hour. (You want it tender and able to pull away from the bones.) Add the remaining broth and chicken soup. Blend. Add water if needed.
The chicken should remain covered about 3-4” in liquid. Try to reduce heat somewhat by adjusting the fire. Add the vegetables, carrots, onions, celery tomatoes squash and potatoes.
Cook another 30-45 minutes or until veggies are tender. (If potatoes are tender, then all are tender.)
Using long handled tongs, gently pull as many of the chicken bones (carcass bones) out as you can & discard. Do the same with the chicken skin.
Remove from heat, add the dates and let sit about 15 minutes, then serve in big bowls with great crusty bread and some awesomely delicious salads. I recommend a cabbage/grape/cherry tomato salad, maybe an arugula salad. Just some things that are cool and refreshing!
OVEN COOKING 1. Brown chicken in a heavy Dutch oven or cast iron pot. Preheat oven to 425. Cook about 90 minutes or until chicken is somewhat easily removed from bone. Check twice for adding liquid (water). Add veggies, cover and cook another 45-60 minutes.
SLOW COOKER 1. Brown chicken in a heavy skillet. Put in slow cooker with spices and liquids. Cook on High for 3-4 hours. Check for tenderness. Chicken should almost fall off bone. Add veggies and cook another hour.