Friday, August 1, 2014

(Not!) Boiled Chicken

Due to some personal issues, I didn't have time this month to get a post written up, so I thought I'd share one that my husband wrote for my blog several years ago. Since summertime is the perfect time for camping, what better thing to do that sit around the campfire and toast marshmallows! 
By Rich Henderson

My wife and I have a running joke in our kitchen at home about the best way to cook a chicken.  Just boil it… whole! Well OK I have to admit that is the direction I take anyway. I have to admit, though, baked, barbecued or fried DOES taste better, but hey, it’s still cooked right? Doing all that prep and taking all that time to cook it those other ways is just too difficult, right? Of course not!

The Asteroid
The Barely Warm

 Then why do people assume that a marshmallow properly toasted over a camp fire can be done quickly. It takes time to toast a marshmallow. One of my boys makes asteroids (think fire and brimstone here). Yuck! The other son places them directly over the fire just long enough to  warm them up and maybe get a little color before they catch fire (sometimes he mis-calculates). Well OK now we’re getting somewhere though. My wife generally just  detests the things. That is until I have cooked mine and then she declares that she’d like one too. Of course dear.

A properly toasted marshmallow should not stick to your hands when removed from the fork. It should have a crust that would match your grandmas best lemon meringue pie top. And when you bite into it, you should literally be able to pour that sweet nectar out of it (almost… something had to keep it on the fork).  I am proud to say that while my chicken might not be the best, my marshmallows made in the campfire ARE! Here’s how to do it.
The trick is to look for the reddest, hottest coals around the edge of the fire. Skewer the marshmallow however you prefer, through the side or length wise. Now just keep it moving. The real trick is to just let the thing soften and puff up before you brown it. Hold it slightly back from the coals for this. If the end toward the coals starts to smoke, you’re too close. You need to turn the fork 90 degrees to the fire, or put it ¼ of the way around the fire pit so the side of the marshmallow gets more heat than the end. Be patient. This takes time. I don’t carry a watch, so I’ll guess 5 minutes. Besides these things are so sweet, you need to allow time in-between each of them.

Once they have puffed up, ease them closer in to those hot coals. You know it's right when they just start to wisp a little smoke. Be careful now, it’s easy to torch one if you’re not. In mere seconds you can achieve that perfect crust. I find that they are cooked perfect when the fork starts to spin inside and independent of the marshmallow. Remove it from the fire and prepare to defend it from the kids while it cools down a touch. Now sit back and enjoy Gods gift to campers. It’s a whole lot better than a boiled chicken!

1 comment:

Caroline Clemmons said...

What a fun post. Now I know why my marshmallows never achieved the perfect degree of brown crust. I had to choose from asteroid or barely warm. Hope you're having a great trip.