Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Guardian Service Backyard Tandoori

We were spared the scorching temperatures that socked most of the nation last month, but yesterday's warmer weather drove us out of doors rather than face heating up the kitchen for dinner. Our improvised meal was not only memorably delicious, but a solid adaptive use of Guardian Service cookware—a Pan-Asian Fusion meal undreamed of by the cookware's designers, yet one that honors their tenets of nutrition and economy in our common pursuit of "Good Health, Pleasure and Profit."

This method is inspired by tandoori* cooking, though instead of a clay oven, we use a portable 14 1/2" charcoal grill and our Guardian Service Casserole unit. When the coals are hot, the Casserole unit builds up a head of steam, gently cooking the vegetables at the grill's center, while the meat is grilled on the perimeter. The seared meat is then added to the mix. As the fire cools, it finishes the meal at the perfect low temperature required for "waterless cooking" with Guardian Service Ware.

Guardian Service Backyard Tandoori
(Five basic steps. Try any combination of vegetables and/or meats.)
  1. Marinate the meat or fowl.
  2. Layer the vegetables in the Casserole unit according to cooking time required—fibrous vegetables (carrots, celery, turnips, parsnips) in a "basket" layer (the bottom and sides), starchier vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes) to the center and the juicier, more delicate vegetables, which require little to no cooking, on top (tomatoes, onions, cauliflower, peppers).
  3. Place the covered unit over a small amount of charcoal (12-15 briquettes) in the center of the grill.
  4. Grill the meat: place the pieces of marinated meat around the outside edge of the grill, searing the outside edges until brown. (We use the Guardian Service Economy Trio trivet to prevent grill marks from burning into the Casserole, but it's not a necessity).
  5. As the meat browns, place each seared piece into the Casserole along with any remaining marinade and cover. Finishing cooking for 30 minutes.

Note the color retention in the vegetables (and thus nutritional retention) from start to finish. The low, constant, contained heat of the waterless cooking method creates an incredibly nutritious meal and works wonders with inexpensive cuts of meat and any variety of vegetables and sauces.

Andrew improvised a Chicken Masala Tandoori last night employing the above method (carrots, sweet potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, cauliflower, jalapeño peppers, scallions, basil and chicken thighs marinated in Masala Sauce  with sesame oil, juice of half a lemon, juice of half an orange, salt and pepper). Served withbread and chutney. Bon Appétit!

Chef Andrew. Not only does he cook an outstanding meal, but he suffers this dopey apron. And he's kinda cute too... I guess he can stick around.
*A true tandoor is made of clay and is used throughout India, the Middle East and Central Asia and employs high temperature cooking in a cylindrical clay oven or a grill. Andrew combined the grilled, smoked effects of tandoori cooking, with the slow, low heat requirements of Guardian Service Ware.
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Stretch the fuel economy even further? As dinner was served, we placed a carafe of water over the remaining coals, enough fuel to bring it to a boil and brew a pot of Guardian Service Coffee (with dessert accents of fennel and cinnamon added to the grounds).


  1. i just picked up the small roaster at Goodwill for $4. with the lid! haven't heard of guardian service but a google search led me to you so thanks! i've spent the last hours perusing your blog and it is delightful. i look forward to using your tips to start cooking~

  2. Thanks! We're glad you found the blog useful and hope the cooking tips help you learn the basics of "waterless cooking." First and foremost: remember to keep the heat LOW for almost everything you cook; Medium heat for a few minutes, until lid is warm to touch, then turn it down to Low and let the residual heat and pressure (those domed lids create a gentle pressure–cooker effect) do the cooking.

    We're always amazed by the versatility, durability and economy of this defunct line of cookware...if well-cared for, it's indestructible and consequently still turns up in thrift shops and estate sales.

    Fewer people may be cooking, but those of us who do like reliable, efficient, well-crafted tools that stand up to daily use. And... in a small way, cooking with these implements reduces consumption (of both energy and manufacturing) while honoring an esthetic of craftsmanship and durability rather than the "planned obsolescence" of most modern manufacturing.

  3. Thank you for your information on using Guardian Service on a campfire! I have a ton of it in my attic and was wondering if I could use it when we go camping instead of having to buy cast iron pots and pans.