By Stephanie Burt, The Southern Fork
For Libba Osborne and her family, supper is an everyday affair. Libba cooks at least five nights a week, and they have a family rule that they all make time to gather around the table. But 2020 has challenged her love of cooking, a satisfaction and joy she’s cultivated since her days in culinary school. Suddenly last spring, cooking became essential, not just for nightly dinners, but for all meals, and on top of being a principal at Leapfrog PR, it was -- as it has been for many caregivers -- a lot to juggle.
Enter the reprieve, an evening - or weekend morning - around a SIF Kettle. Since Libba has provided marketing and public relations support for Sea Island Forge for close to five years, she was well aware of the products, but using one in her own Charleston, S.C. backyard has brought home the importance of open-fire cooking to bring joy to a family routine.
“I load up a sheet pan with bowls, spoons, and toppings, and take it out to the Kettle,” she explains. “We get away from [electronic] screens and get outside, and it’s so low maintenance, so fun. It’s my version of a sheet pan supper.” She’s a self-professed topping fanatic, from different types of greens and cheeses for tacos, to all the perfect accoutrements for grits, which might include freshly chopped green onion or creamy pimento cheese. Taking all that Kettle side gives each member of the family the chance to customize their bowl.
Some nights it’s grits or chili on the Side Kick, and other times it’s something easy or fresh-caught atop the Grill in a cast iron skillet, but as her children, Caldwell, 9, and Granger, 13, got into the action by the fire, they have developed an expert method for the perfect fireside dessert -- s'mores -- no matter the main dish.
“The lip of the Kettle is the perfect size to hold a graham cracker,” Libba says. “So my boys start there.” Then they lay a piece of chocolate atop each cracker, which allows it to warm ad get just the slightest bit gooey as a marshmallow roasts. When the whole thing comes together with a perfectly charred topping, it’s all the same temperature, no hard piece of chocolate in between the cracker and marshmallow. “It’s a little thing, having that chocolate and cracker warm, but it makes for game-changing smores.” And being a little messy is part of the fun.
"For evening meals, I usually cook indoors and put the pot on the Side Kick to keep warm and serve, but you can certainly be more adventurous and cook everything over the fire, which I often do for weekend brunch" says Libba.
In short, a SIF Kettle in the backyard has given the Osborne home some sanity throughout the past year. “Your house can start to feel super small, and when you’re outside with your feet up by the fire with an easy meal, it’s hard not to be relaxed.” Especially if they’re s’mores on the menu!
Quarantine Sidekick Chili
Chicken Chili with Garbanzo Beans
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium Vidalia onion, chopped
1 whole Vidalia onion, skin removed and top and bottom trimmed
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs. ground chicken (or turkey)
3 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. dried oregano
⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 - 28 oz. can of diced San Marzano tomatoes
1 - 28 oz. can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
2 c. chicken broth
1 tsp. sugar
1 can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
tortilla chips or (good ol’) Fritos
- Heat the oil.
- Add the chopped onion and red bell pepper and cook until soft.
- Add the garlic and cook until soft.
- Add the ground chicken, chili powder, cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, oregano, cayenne pepper, and salt. Cook until chicken is cooked.
- Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and sugar.
- Add in the whole onion (sounds crazy but this provides so much flavor).
- Bring to a boil and then simmer for about an hour with a lid cracked open to let a little steam escape.
- Add in the beans and simmer for an additional 30-45 minutes.
- Remove the whole onion and serve warm.
Our Favorite Grits
Cook’s note: This recipe is based on the Luquire family’s recipe on the back of their packaging. They make and bottle their family’s recipe for Creole and have a great recipe for the creamiest grits around!
2 ½ c. water
1 tsp. salt
1 ½ c. Half and half or whole milk
1 c. stoneground grits
2 tablespoons salted butter (when I’m making these for supper I use 2 tbsp. of Banner Butter Garlic Herb Butter)
chopped chives or scallions
- Mix all ingredients in a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Using either a sheet pan or another larger sauce pan, make a double boiler situation and place the grits pot into the another pan and add water.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 40 minutes.
- Stir often.
- Add milk to thin as needed, and serve immediately.