It was around 5:30 on a mild Saturday afternoon in January when I received the text. The kids had all scattered and I had just cozied up with a book when my phone pinged “barn dinner tonight?” Of course I said yes and menus were volleyed back and forth. I offered to bring the libations and the ambiance and packed wine, bourbon (Four Roses a barn/bonfire staple), some candles, a bluetooth speaker, and my folding outdoor concert table.
Earlier in the week, we got out the chainsaws and started cutting and burning the small limbs of the massive white oak that had fallen in a snow storm a few weeks before Christmas. It was a big fire and was still hot several days later even after soaking rains! Adding a few new boards for light as the sun set, the embers were still perfect for cooking in a cast iron Dutch oven.
We have recently acquired five pigs at the farm to till the soil before we start planting in early Spring. We are kind of obsessed with them and they are fun to watch and also very useful. They do live up to their names and will eat anything and everything you put in front of them. We try not too feed them too much feed and want them focused on the task at hand, rooting up the soil ears deep in the mud. It wasn’t planned at all but the pasta dish we ate at the first barn dinner was a magical surprise and perfect for the setting!
Onions, shallots and red and green peppers were sautéed in olive oil over the open fire and then a jar of marinara was added and simmered with the lid on for about 20-30 minutes while we sipped bourbon, star gazed and listened to Reggae. Seasoned Italian bread was oiled and placed on the lid to crisp up. Trottole pasta, which looks like pig tails, was cooked in about 6 minutes in the Instant Pot and viola … dinner was served! The sauce had a great smoky taste to it and the texture of the corkscrew pasta was perfect to grab the sauce.
All of this paired perfectly (what doesn’t) with a bottle of The Ghost of 413 a 2013 Red Wine from Columbia Valley. For the past couple of years I treat myself and those around me to a case of this great dry red around the holidays. I like to order from local bottle shops and there is a great one in both Greenville and Travelers Rest. This wine is very nice on it’s own and pairs really well with charcuterie, pizza, pasta and most food you would serve in a casual setting. The barn definately qualified as a casual setting.
Dessert was champagne cake dunked in the red wine which was amazing! When the three words “barn dinner tonight” cross your screen the answer should always be YES just like the one word we are so fond of at the farm … BONFIRE!! I hope you get to enjoy one of these simple pleasures soon.
Do you have any great open fire recipes? Please share in the comments below. I have a feeling this is only the beginning of more amazing barn dinners at the farm. We haven’t even started planting!