Chef Walter Goes Back to the Farm
Sunday, June 19 2:00 PM
MyVLT Sunday, June 19, 6:00 PM
I first heard about the good work of the folks we visited for this special by talking to Tommy and Kathy Gilliland. Now you should know that we started talking about ice cream and everything grew from there. If you are ever at a festival anywhere in this area, check to see if the Gillilands are there. In fact, they may even be there making cobbler pie or apple crisp or almost anything else in Dutch ovens heated by charcoal. Tommy has build a great chuck wagon cooking box which has a place for everything. These folks told me about events they stage with their friends John and Kathy (yes, they are both named Kathy) Waldrop. Further, I learned that they were going to have a hay day in early June at a farm near Blaine. I invited me and the folks who work with me to attend.
They told me that they would be mowing hay, raking hay, and bailing hay. Now before you get all worried, they had cut some hay earlier in the week and let it dry enough to be ready to rake and bale. You know, pack it into movable blocks. Oh, did I mention that they do all this with horses and mules and no tractor is allowed. The great bulk of this work is done the way I remember when I was a child just a few years ago. Their baler was newer and fancier than the one I remembered.
So early on a Saturday morning we made our way to Blaine with a good many other folks to watch other people work. And there is one other thing I remember about this trip. They cooked some very good food. We arrived to find a coffee pot hanging in a special rack over a fire. In case you wonder, the coffee was good. Then Tommy, Kathy, John and Kathy all allowed us to watch what they were cooking and to give us instructions on how we could cook it ourselves. They were even kind enough to let us know how we could do this in the kitchen rather than in the yard or the field.
The first food we got our hands on was biscuits and sausage and eggs and all kinds of breakfast food. The biscuits were standard sort of biscuits except they had been baked in a Dutch oven. And, in case you wonder, they had not been burned at all. Then we got down to real food in the middle of the day. Here are some of the recipes or methods which they employed. You should know that they cooked all these thing in bulk and I have reduced the size of the recipe wherever possible.
Pork Tenderloin in a Rare Marinade:
Place about a dozen slices of pork tenderloin in a large bowl. Pour about 1 or 2 cups of good whiskey (John used Wild Turkey which is about as good as you can get) and about ½ cup Worchestershire sauce over the meat and allow it to stand about 15 minutes. Remove from the marinade and place on medium hot heat on a grill. Dust with garlic salt and black pepper and cook to the desired degree of doneness. Serve on buns with lettuce, tomato, mayonnaise and mustard. Take my word for this. You do not need mayo or mustard or lettuce or tomato. This pork is good enough to stand alone.
Pinto Beans (for a normal family, not made in a wash kettle)
1 lb dry pinto beans
1 lb dry great Northern beans
Ham hocks (country ham hocks are ideal for this)
Salt to taste
The night before you plan to cook the beans, wash the beans picking them over for any bad beans or other foreign materials (like rocks) and put in a large bowl. Pour boiling water over and allow to stand overnight. When you are ready to cook, drain the beans and place in a large pot with a good lid. Add water to cover the beans and come 3 or 4 inches above the top of them. Add ham hocks. Bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Stir occasionally, adding water if they start to become too dry. They should be in a good broth by the time they finish cooking. When almost done, add salt to taste. Remove ham hocks, pull apart. Discard bones and fat and break up the lean ham and return it to the beans. Serve hot with cornbread to soak up the good broth. Cooking will take a couple of hours. These are very good allowed to cook and refrigerated overnight before reheating them to serve.
Kathy Waldrop made a fine salad of corn, beans, bell pepper, and onion with a good commercial vinaigrette dressing. Kathy Gilliland did a fine hot slaw which also went well with it. For this, she used slaw mix from the produce section. To a standard bag of this, she added about 1/3 cup olive oil, seasoned salt and black pepper to taste. She then tossed this and set it into the less hot section of a grill. I would wilt it by running it in the microwave about 1 minute and tossing it. Then allow about another minute and toss again before serving.
Now let’s get to a great stack of Dutch ovens that Tommy Gilliland had going. In case you have not cooked this way before, let me give you a couple of basics. The Dutch ovens we are talking about are made by the Lodge Manufacturing Company of South Pittsburg, Tennessee. They look like a big pot for the kitchen except that they have legs about 2 or 3 inches high and the lid is inverted to allow charcoal to be placed on the top. Tommy knows exactly how many briquettes of charcoal to place under each and over each. Lodge publishes a very good cookbook of recipes for doing this. The closest place to get the pots and the book is at the Lodge Factory Store on Highway 66 just a short distance off the Interstate. This is the road from I-40 to Sevierville and the store is on the right.
Tommy arranges these pots one on top of the other up to a stack of 7. For our visit, he made four things. He made meat loaf, apple crisp, blackberry cobbler and cornbread. They ranged from very good to absolutely wonderful. Here are some recipes. Don’t worry about exact measurements. But stick with about the proportions which I give you.
3 lbs lean ground beef
1 cup oatmeal
2 cups salsa
½ cup catsup
¼ cup brown sugar
Blend together the beef, oatmeal, salsa and eggs and shape into a loaf. Place on an iron trivet covered with foil in a Dutch oven. Place on charcoal and cover and place more charcoal on top. If you happen to want to make this in the kitchen, when you have shaped it into a loaf, place it in a 9x13 inch baking pan or dish and bake in a 350 deg oven about 45 minutes to one hour. When it is almost done, mix the catsup and brown sugar and spread on the top of the meat loaf. It is done when it is nicely browned and the juices run clear if you pierce it this a thin knife.
You may have noticed that we did cornbread. It was a standard cornbread with 2 parts meal to one part flour. Eggs, buttermilk, baking powder, soda, and salt were added. This was mixed and poured into a well greased iron skillet for your oven or Dutch oven for your yard and baked hot about 25 minutes or until nicely browned. I will not try measurements on this, but for two cups of the meal/flour mixture, you will need one egg and about a cup of buttermilk. Don’t use too much soda or your bread will turn yellow. The batter should be thin.
2 15 oz cans apple slices
2 cups apple butter
½ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup plain flour
1 cup oatmeal
Mix the apple slices and apple butter and sprinkle on some cinnamon. Place into the dish in which you plan to cook it. A 9x13 inch baking dish will work nicely for this amount. Mix the flour and sugar and cut the butter in until it is fully mixed. Stir in oatmeal and some more cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the apple mixture and place in a 325 deg oven and bake about 45 minutes or until the apple mixture is bubbling and the topping is browned. Serve warm with some vanilla ice cream.
Black Berry Cobbler
2 quarts fresh (or frozen) blackberries
2 cups sugar, divided
1 cup self rising flour
1 cup milk
Heat the berries with one cup sugar until they come to a boil. Place into a 3 quart baking dish. Mix the remaining cup of sugar with the flour and then stir in the milk to mix completely. Pour this mixture over the hot berries. Place in a 350 deg oven about 30 to 40 minutes or until it is very thick and the cobbler mixture has risen to the top and is browned. The Gillilands served this beauty with home made blackberry ice cream.
I must admit that I do not like blackberries very much. I loved this.
After this, we just sat around and looked at each other a while until we were reminded that there was hay to be baled.
If you happened to miss this special, watch for it on You Tube. You can reach this from the link on my recipe page. Thanks for watching.