Join us for another Campfire Cooking episode. The Artichoke Chicken dish is a winner. Rosemary-marinated chicken thighs mingle with artichokes and white wine for a rich and complex flavour that's surprisingly easy to make (on a grill or stovetop). Serve this flavourful stew with fresh bread to sop up the delicious juices.
Earlier this year, we had our spring-themed Campfire Cookout and I am finally sharing it now, but 'better late than never' because the fantastic dishes we cooked up are great to grill on the barbecue or a campfire just about any time of the year, and the artichoke chicken skillet dish is just as delicious when done indoors on the stovetop.
In May the leaves were just a-greening here, but we were excited to get out to our fire pit to cook up another smokily delicious campfire feast. Our theme for this dinner was herbs, and we added them in some way to each course - it was our way to celebrate cooking outdoors.
Sabina and I take turns having our Campfire Cookouts at each others' fire pits, and our set-ups are not very fancy. When we have them at our place, the grilling grates are a mish-mash of old barbecue grills and stove racks attached to two pieces of rebar with steel wires - that's it! This just goes to show you don't need a fancy built-in outdoor firepit kitchen with all the bells and whistles to rustle up memorable grilled meals. All you need is a flame (from wood, gas, or charcoal) and some kind of a metal rack or grate set over it to cook the food on. That's it - now you're grilling!
Our firepit is a massively heavy gravel-crushing cone made of iron, but you could just as easily make a ring of big stones to surround your fire and set your grates on them. We're lucky to have been gifted a welded metal frame that sits on top of the cone (gifted from a friend that moved and couldn't take it with them to their new place), but before we had that we just balanced the rebar rods on the edges of the cone, and that worked very well, too. And as for cooking gear, I had a couple of cast iron pots that come from my kitchen, and the griddle and all the rest of my campfire cooking utensils have all been collected from thrift stores (I'm always giddily thrilled when I score a great cast iron piece!)
The meals that come out of this simple fire pit set-up are always delicious, and to tell the truth, it's the people we share the food with that add the special seasoning to make everything taste that much more fantastic. We've had a lot of laughs and shared a lot of stories with friends and family around our fire pit along with all the meals (from simple hot dogs to our gourmet cookouts), and it's those warm and wonderful times with loved ones that are just as memorable as the food itself.
So I would say that the first ingredient I recommend for any campfire meal is friends and loved ones to share it with.
Campfire Cooking: A Light Spring Menu
Grilled Stuffed Prosciutto-Wrapped Dates
Baked Potato Boats with Cubed Vegetable Salad
Chicken with Artichokes
Grilled Red Pepper Strips
Campfire-Baked Black Garlic Bread
Ricotta Tarragon Pancakes with Caramelized Bananas
Apéritif: Hugo Cocktail
We made a variation of a classic Hugo Cocktail, using elderflower liqueur (St. Germaine) instead of elderflower cordial - for even more of a kick to fire up our celebration! To make our version of the Hugo Cocktail, put about 2 tablespoons of elderflower liqueur into each glass, add a splash of soda water, and top up the rest of the glass with prosecco or champagne. Add a mint leaf for decoration and flavour.
Appetizer: Grilled Stuffed Prosciutto Wrapped Dates
This simple appetizer was out of this world! It's a keeper for sure (recipe coming soon). We toasted walnuts in a grill pan over the fire, then chopped them up with a lot of fresh parsley, some fresh thyme, orange zest, olive oil, salt and pepper. We stuffed Medjool date halves with this mixture, then wrapped each one in a thin strip of prosciutto and grilled them until crispy and warmed through. (I've also baked them in the oven before, and they turn out wonderfully that way, too!) The prosciutto 'shrink wraps around the dates, holding in the stuffing beautifully. What an amazing amalgamation of salty, sweet, herby deliciousness - unforgettable little bites that complemented the cocktail so well.
Salad Course: Baked Potato Boats with Cubed Vegetable Salad
We wrapped potatoes in foil and set them to bake over the coals as soon as we started up our campfire in the early afternoon. They took about an hour and a half. Once they were fully baked and tender, we scooped out the insides, leaving a thick shell of potato. We diced up some of the potatoes and mixed them with cooked and grilled diced carrots, defrosted frozen peas, celery, and lots of fresh chives and dill. Everything was bound together with a simple dressing of mayonnaise with a pinch of added sugar and a splash of vinegar. We piled the creamy vegetable salad back into the potato shells and topped them with a slice of hard-boiled egg. This timeless salad is a fun and tasty first course or a great side dish.
Entrée: Grilled Artichoke Chicken, Campfire Baked Bread with Black Garlic
This course received rave reviews from all of us - so simple yet so flavourful. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are marinated in a rich rosemary spice mixture and then grilled to smoky deliciousness. Marinated artichoke hearts are heated up in a skillet with a generous amount of wine, the grilled chicken pieces are nestled amongst them, and they are cooked until the chicken is moist and meltingly tender and the wine and flavourful juices are reduced and intensely flavoured.
Those delicious juices were sopped up with slices of Sabina's bread baked in a cast iron pot in the embers. The bread was studded with chunks of black garlic - little flavour explosions. We just devoured that amazing artichoke chicken and slice after slice of that great bread.
I also tried campfire-baking a gluten-free buckwheat loaf that is a staple of ours. It was a good little exercise in how not to overheat your enamelled dutch oven baker in the embers for too long. The bread turned a glorious fully-scorched deep black colour - like a giant charcoal briquet! But to our surprise, when we cut off the blackened crust all the way around, the inside was still moist and pretty fantastic tasting, too. A tasty save!
Dessert: Ricotta Tarragon Pancakes with Caramelized Bananas
For dessert, we got flipping flapjacks - light, tender flapjacks made rich with the addition of ricotta and flavoured with a handful of fresh tarragon. We topped the pancakes with bananas caramelized with butter and brown sugar and an additional sprinkle of tarragon. A drizzle of vanilla custard sauce was the finishing flourish.
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It was another fantastic campfire meal!
See our other Campfire Cooking Meals here:
A Grilled Steak & Corn Dinner with Zucchini Stack Appetizers
A Mexican Campfire Fiesta with Carnitas Caseras Tacos
A Summer Solstice Menu with Bison Burgers and Bannock Buns
A Spring Menu with Creamy Fiddlehead Soup, Grilled Halibut with Herb Butter, and an Aperol Spritz Cocktail
A Winter Dinner (And a Recipe for Glazed Chestnuts)
Fall Dinner: Smoky Venison Stew with German Pickled Pumpkin
Harvest Feast: Lamb Kebabs, Roasted Beet Salad
Local Alberta Menu: Porterhouse Steak Cooked on the Coals, Kombucha Cocktail
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Rosemary Herb Rub
- 1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary
- 1½ teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced or pressed
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
- 2 tablespoons liquid from the jar of marinated artichokes
- 12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs about 3 lbs (1.4 kgs)
- 1 cup quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained (14-16 quarters/175gms)
- 1 cup (240ml) white wine
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Optional, Grilled Artichoke Halves as Garnish
- 2 whole artichokes, trimmed, halved, and choke removed
- olive oil
- Stir together all the ingredients for the Rosemary Herb Rub.
- Place the chicken thighs in a bowl and add the Rosemary Herb Rub. Toss the meat well to make sure every surface of every piece is coated with the herb rub. Cover the bowl and marinate the chicken, refrigerated, for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
- Grill the chicken thighs (reserve any marinade and juices in the bowl) over a campfire, barbecue, or indoor grill pan or brown them in a cast iron pan, until they are cooked through and have appetizing char marks (about 10 minutes).
- In a heavy skillet, heat the tablespoon of olive oil, and pour in any remaining juices from the marinade.
- Add the white wine and artichoke hearts. Nestle the grilled chicken thighs in between the artichoke hearts. (Pour in any juices from cooking the chicken thighs if you cooked them in a skillet.)
- Simmer the chicken for about 20 minutes, or until the juices are reduced by about half. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve with crusty fresh bread to mop up the juices.
- Serves 4 if this is the only dish in addition to the bread. Serves 6 if other side dishes are included in the meal.
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