Creamy Parmesan Cauliflower and Orzo with Bacon

Chopped BaconBacon.  Need I say more?  It is the ultimate flavor maker in any dish or served by itself with a fried egg.  In this dish, however, bacon is not the star of the show but plays a very important supporting role to make the cauliflower and orzo shine in the spot light.

Cauliflower in a big black pot

Thanks to Dennis’ generous gift of his cooker, I am able to boil and fry food easily and efficiently.  I love how the Mediterranean orzo turned out and wanted to try another version, this time with a recipe inspired by Melisa Rubel Jacobson from Food and Wine’s wonderful website.  Ready to boil

This recipe can be done in one or two 12-inch camp Dutch ovens and serves 10 hungry campers.


  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 pound bacon (about 5-6 strips)
  • 1 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped, dried chives
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  • 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


Fire up a big chimney of charcoal.

Wash and cut the cauliflower into bite size pieces and place in a large bowl.  Add oil to the and toss the cauliflower until all pieces are lightly coated.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour into 12-inch camp Dutch oven.  Place oven over a ring of 8-9 hot charcoals then cover the lid with hot coals.  Stir every five minutes until cauliflower is fork-tender and is starting to caramelize.  Happy CauliflowerRemove the cauliflower from the oven and set it aside.Cauliflower Sweet and Smokey

Fry bacon in the bottom of the 12-inch camp Dutch oven by placing it over a big pile of hot charcoals.  If you don’t have a vented cook station like Dennis’, you may have to remove the oven occasionally to stir up the charcoals and give them some fresh air to keep them hot.  When the bacon is crispy, remove it from the drippings, let it rest on a paper towel, then chop it up.  Add the chopped onions to the bacon drippings and sauté until they are sweet and clear, about five minutes.  Add garlic and stir for another minute.  Make a hole in the center of the onions and garlic and pour orzo in the center.  Orzo in OnionsLet it start to brown for a minute, then stir and let it brown for another minute.  Add chicken stock and chives, then stir.  Bring the stock to a boil and stir frequently to keep the orzo from sticking to the bottom of the oven.  Boiling!The orzo will be done in about 8 minutes.  I stirred it constantly and kept a close eye on the orzo toward the end, pulling the oven off of the charcoal when the chicken stock was almost gone.

Make the crunchy topping by mixing together half of the grated parmesan with the Panko bread crumbs, then stir in the olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Stir the roasted cauliflower into the orzo.  Stir in chopped bacon, cream, and the other half of the grated parmesan. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and parmesan across the top of the cauliflower.

Place lid on the oven and pile on as many hot charcoals as you can fit safely on top to brown the crunchy topping, about five minutes.

Crispy TopThis is another delicious recipe that I love and hope you do as well!   This side dish can easily become the main dish by adding smoked sausage or grilled chicken.





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