Tag Archives: Dollywood

Making sorghum at Dollywood and Apple, Sausage and Sauerkraut Slow Cooker Stew at home

Apple, Sausage and Sauerkraut Slow Cooker Stew (before cooking) at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.comI’m not much for roller coasters after getting sick many years ago at both Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland. (Never again!) So while the Brandcation gals were riding the Wild Eagle (and being filmed by the Discovery Channel), I was busy nerding out over the food at Dollywood as well as the folk art and crafts.

There’s a section of Dollywood called Craftsman's Valley that’s perfect for anyone who isn’t into the rides, has time between music shows to take a stroll, and has already visited the Chasing Rainbows Museum, or the Southern Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame. (I did all the above and had a great time.)

My foodie favorite was the Grist Mill where they grind meal and flour for sale. I also enjoyed watching the woodcarvers, blacksmiths, glass blowers and more practice their trade before the Brandcation group met for lunch at Granny Ogle’s Ham N Beans. There we dined on Southern favorites like greens, corn bread and shredded pork. Yum!

Corn bread at Dollywood from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

However, the cool discovery I made – even the PR person hadn’t seen it yet – was the sorghum making demonstration in The Village. Sorghum syrup is a sweetener made from pressing sorghum cane. The old fashion way is to feed the cane into a mill that is powered by a horse. The day I was there, they had a four-month-old colt tied up to the mama horse. This way mama could teach her baby how to run the mill. It was fascinating and the baby was darling.

Pressing the sorghum cane at Dollywood from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

The sorghum cane juice is then boiled into a thick syrup that tastes like a cross between honey and molasses. I bought a small container of it at one of the Dollywood stores and wish I bought more because it’s delicious! I hope I can find some here in Georgia, but if not, I may just have to drive back up to Pigeon Forge and buy a gallon or two!

Cooking with sorghum – Apple, Sausage and Sauerkraut Slow Cooker Stew

You can use sorghum in any recipe that calls for agave, honey, molasses or maple syrup. It’s very thick, so you may have to make adjustments by adding a little water or juice to your recipe. I used it in a slow cooker recipe I used to make all the time. I’ve since lost the clipping from the Denver Post, but found a recipe that’s close but without the potatoes. I healthed it up by using chicken apple sausage and using half veggie broth and half apple juice. I also tried to use organic ingredients since I didn’t peel the apples and potatoes.

How to make sorghum syrup at Dollywood from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

This was a big hit with my son Nathan who adores sauerkraut and thinks chicken sausage – unlike other forms of chicken – is yummy. My daughter Lucie just ate the sausage, which is odd because she loves pickles. Darn kids!

Apple, Sausage and Sauerkraut Slow Cooker Stew (before cooking) at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

Apple, Sausage and Sauerkraut Slow Cooker Stew

Based on Corbin Lee’s recipe at Recipe.com

Ingredients

  • 1 (32 ounce) jar sauerkraut (Claussen is our favorite brand)
  • 24 ounces (2 packages) sweet apple chicken sausage, sliced into 1’’ pieces
  • 4 small organic granny smith apples, cored and cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 pound baby potatoes (leave whole)
  • 1/4 cup sorghum syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

Directions

  1. Pour sauerkraut – juice and all – into your 6 quart or larger slow cooker or Crock-Pot.
  2. Add the cut up sausage, apples and whole baby potatoes to the crock.
  3. Add the sorghum, salt, pepper, juice and broth.
  4. Cover and cook on high 4 hours, or low 6-7 hours.
  5. Stir before serving.
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 7 Hours
Total Time: 7 Hours 15 Minutes
Servings: Serves 4 to 6 with lots of leftovers
  • Serving size: 1/4 to 1/6 of recipe

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Disclosure: The Brandcation bloggers received special discounts and passes to many of the attractions we visited. All experiences and opinions expressed here are my own.

Dealing with food sensitivities and allergies at Dollywood

gluten free cookieAs a community leader at Udi’s Gluten Free, a mom to a daughter with allergies, and someone who deals with food sensitivities, I was excited to learn about Dollywood’s Start Fresh program. During my recent Brandcation trip to Dolly Parton’s theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, our group had the chance to meet with food team member, Cecil Page, during lunch at Granny Ogle’s Ham N’ Beans, who told us all about the program they developed with the help of FANN (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network). The program has been in place over two years and as far as I know it’s unique to Dollywood.

How Start Fresh works

When you arrive to any of Dollywood’s restaurants or eateries, talk with the manager to let him or her know what allergies and food sensitivities you and your family is dealing with. There’s no need to call ahead, though you can contact the Foods Department at 865-428-9428 if you so choose.

The manager and his or her team will make sure that your table is cleaned, sanitized and as free as possible from any allergens. They’ll also make sure you’re seated away from the kitchen so you don’t get a whiff of anything you may be allergic to, like fish.

The manager will then present you with a yellow binder (yellow is the color assigned to anything Start Fresh related) that contains the list of ingredients of all the menu items. This way you can decide what you feel comfortable ordering for yourself or your child.

Once your order is placed, it’s assigned to a cook who will prepare your meal from start to finish and will not cook up anyone else’s order until after you are done. The first thing he or she will do is clean and sanitize their work area and put on a fresh area. Then he or she will break open a Fresh Start pack containing everything they need to prepare and serve your meal (utensils, cutting board, knife, spoons, etc.) The cook will then prepare the meal to your specifications and deliver it personally to your table. It’s like having your own personal chef!

The cooks go through the special one week Start Fresh program after going through a regular culinary course at the Dollywood. Only those who pass the Start Fresh program can cook for allergy affected guests. So while other theme parks and restaurants serve up allergen free food, this is probably one of the few that understand about allergen contamination.

Dollywood restaurants also offer vegetarian, diabetic and gluten free menu options. I was pleasantly surprised to find packaged gluten free cookies at the Spotlight Bakery. And if you’re traveling with kids with allergies or you have food sensitivities yourself, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy dining at Dollywood can be!

For more information about the park, admission and hours, go to dollywood.com. You can also connect with Dollywood on Facebook and @Dollywood.

Eating gluten free when traveling

The Udi’s Gluten Free Community offers lots of great info and tips about traveling while gluten free:

How do you deal with food allergies and sensitivities when traveling?

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Disclosure: The Brandcation bloggers received special discounts and passes to many of the attractions we visited. All experiences and opinions expressed here are my own.

As a Udi's Gluten Free Community Leader I'm compensated for my time and efforts on their behalf.

Dollywood food! #brandcation #wordlesswednesday

gourmet apples

parfait

apple pie

fruit and cream pies

sticky buns

For more information about Dollywood, visit dollywood.com. You can also connect with Dollywood on Facebook and @Dollywood.

______________________
Disclosure: The Brandcation bloggers received special discounts and passes to many of the attractions we visited. All experiences and opinions expressed here are my own.