Chicken Stew & Skillet Biscuits

Today was a very cold day – single digit temperatures and windy – which made it a great day for for staying in and making something warm and hearty for dinner.

The Sun Bucket started at 333 C (631 °F).

I wanted a no-frills kind of dinner, but something slightly more substantial than soup. Stew is just the thing. Before taking the lid off of the Sun Bucket, I roughly chopped one shallot, 3 medium carrots, 3 medium peeled red potatoes, and 1.3 pounds of chicken tenderloins. Prep work finished, I put a stockpot on the Sun Bucket’s surface and heated a teaspoon or two of olive oil, and added the shallot.

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While the shallots were cooking, I tossed the chicken in a little salt, pepper, and flour, then added them to the pot. I let that cook for a few minutes, then flipped it all over to cook on the other side. When the chicken was browned, I added the carrots and potatoes, and 4 C of chicken stock. I threw in a sprig of rosemary, more fresh-cracked pepper, and then put a lid on the pot and let it simmer for awhile.

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While that was all stewing, I started working on the biscuits. Any old biscuit recipe should work fine in a skillet – mine required mixing flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and a little cream of tartar together. 6T of butter got cut into the mixture until the flour resembled coarse meal, then a half cup of buttermilk was added. The dough was stirred just until it came together, then was turned out onto the floured counter, kneaded a few times, and rolled out until it was about a half-inch thick.

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My grandmother was a notoriously bad cook. Her obliviousness to it was part of what made her endearing. Tonight the kids and I used Grandma Jean’s biscuit cutter to cut out six biscuits to cook on the Sun Bucket.

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At the 50 minute mark, the stew was bubbling away and the potatoes were tender. I took the stew off of the Sun Bucket, set it aside and kept it covered while the biscuits cooked.

The Sun Bucket was at 245 C (473°F). I sprayed a pan with cooking spray, and set it on the Sun Bucket to heat. The biscuits were arranged in the pan and then covered, cooking for about ten minutes on the first side. When the biscuits were starting to brown and puff up, I flipped them over and let them cook for another ten minutes.

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All said and done, the Sun Bucket was used for 71 minutes and cooked 2.7 kg of food with an approximate caloric value of 3050 calories.

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