The meat dish was a pork roast that I cooked in the Margin Gem using this method. The roast was frozen solid when it went into the oven at 9:00 a.m. as we were leaving for church. When we arrived back home at 11:30, it wasn't quite finished yet, but I needed a hotter oven for a new carrot recipe that I wanted to try, so I set one of my stove top ovens on the cooktop and transferred the roast to it. This way, I could add a lot of biscuit wood to the fire in order to raise the temperature of the Margin Gem's oven but continue gently cooking the roast by moving the tin oven across the stovetop to the appropriate coolness.
Originally, the carrot recipe came from Hey Grill, Hey by Susie Bulloch, a website devoted to recipes for grilling a variety of foods. Of course, I had to put my own spin on it and convert it for use on the wood cookstove, but she deserves all of the credit for the fabulous original idea. You should go see her original post with links to a video because you will better understand what I did after you see what inspired me.
We had a wonderful carrot crop this year. The carrots have had excellent flavor and texture, but they are shorter and thicker than what you usually see in the grocery store, so to make the cooking time in this recipe work for them, I had to halve or quarter some of them after they were scraped and pared at either end in order to make them cook uniformly.
Each peeled carrot (or half or quarter carrot) was wrapped with a slice of bacon. Some of the carrots were small enough that only part of a slice was needed.
I then placed them on the top of a broiler pan (this was the first time I had ever used a broiler pan--a distinctly modern cooking utensil--inside a wood cookstove!). I sprinkled them with a little bit of coarse sea salt and a little freshly ground pepper. Go easy on the sea salt or feel free to omit it altogether; the bacon has plenty of salt in it.
The next step was to slide the carrots into a hot oven (around 400ºF) and let them roast for about 20 minutes.
|Taken at the end of the process, this photo shows|
the carrots roasting in the Margin Gem's oven, the
pork roast finishing in the stovetop oven, and the
mashed potatoes boiling over the firebox.
Now, this next part is where I went off script a bit. We had a "baking for sale" day two weeks ago. We had enough customers at our local farmers' market who asked us if we would be baking during the off season that we have scheduled one day a month on which I do some custom baking. One of the most popular items that people request is our sweet rolls, and I had a number of orders for them with caramel pecan topping.
When we turn out a pan of these rolls (we often just call them sticky rolls), we put them onto a cooling rack which has been placed inside a jelly roll pan. This allows us to catch all of the syrup that runs off the rolls. All through the summer, we scrape this extra syrup into a sauce pan, save it, and then make it into pancake syrup, which is then water bath canned.
Well, for our baking day in October, we had a lot of pecan roll orders. We try to make sure that as much of the pecan chunks stay on the rolls as possible, but some invariably land beneath the cooling rack, so my collection of syrup drips was very nutty. To the saucepan of this mixture of pecan pieces, brown sugar, dark corn syrup, and butter, I added some hot water from the teakettle and brought the whole thing to a boil, stirring occasionally until the syrup no longer had any lumps in it. When I took it off the fire, I added a little over an 1/8 tsp. of Mapleine.
After the first twenty minutes of roasting time had elapsed, I pulled the broiler pan of bacon-wrapped carrots out of the oven and spooned a little of the hot pecan syrup over each of them, taking care to make sure that as many pecan pieces remained on the top of the carrots as possible.
The pan of carrots was returned to the hot oven for another five minutes, at which point I removed it again and spooned on them what remained of the pecan syrup. The carrots were returned to the oven for another five minutes, which resulted in the pecans being beautifully toasted. Of course, the vast majority of the syrup dripped down into the bottom of the broiler pan, but enough remained on the carrots to give them a mildly sweet taste.
With the pork roast and mashed potatoes, these carrots were AWESOME! Really, they were so good, that I think they could be made as an hors d'oeuvre.
|A scrumptious Sunday dinner. You can see a jar of my|
homemade Heinz ketchup at the top left corner, but everything
was so good that I didn't use any of it.
Now, if you aren't making a boat load of pecan rolls like we are, you could easily make a small batch of my homemade pancake syrup, using all brown sugar and reducing the water a little. The result would be the same, and you could add a few pecans to it. You can find that recipe here; just scroll down a little in the post to find it since it is about water bath canning on a wood cookstove.