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Dutch Oven Jordan River Mud Cake

June 28th, 2007 by Halli

by Ryan and Kegan Stucki

1 chocolate cake mix

Start 24-26 briquettes. Prepare cake mix according to package instructions. Pour into foil-lined 12” Dutch oven. Set aside.

½ c cocoa
1 c white sugar
1 c brown sugar

Mix cocoa and sugars. Sprinkle over top of cake mix.

2 c hot water
2 t vanilla

Combine hot water and vanilla. Pour over top of sugar mixture. Replace Dutch oven lid, and bake with 10 coals on the bottom and 14 on top, for about 40 minutes. When 5 minutes are remaining, sprinkle chocolate chips over top, and replace lid until melted. Serve with whipped topping or ice cream. And get out of the way for folks wanting seconds!

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Dutch Oven Pop-Up Pizza Casserole

June 28th, 2007 by Halli

2 lbs lean ground beef
6-8 c grated mozzarella cheese
30-oz spaghetti sauce
2 c milk
2 T vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 c flour
1/8 – ¼ c grated Parmesan cheese

Start 30-35 briquettes. Preheat Dutch oven for 5 minutes. While hamburger is browning in the Dutch oven, mix topping in a small bowl by combining eggs, oil, milk, and flour until well-blended and smooth. After hamburger is browned, remove from oven and drain. Replace hamburger in oven and add spaghetti sauce. Cover with mozzarella cheese. Pour topping over all, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Put lid on Dutch oven, and bake with 12 briquettes on the bottom and 14-15 on top. Cook for 45-65 minutes. Check only after 45 minutes.

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Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls/Sticky Buns

June 28th, 2007 by Halli

1 pkg brown sugar
3 rolls Pillsbury cinnamon rolls
chopped pecans
1 pt half and half

Place 1/2 – 1 c of brown sugar in the bottom of a 12″ Dutch oven. Sprinkle chopped pecans over the sugar. Open and place 2.5-3 rolls of Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in a single layer over brown sugar and pecans. Rolls will fit snugly to edge of oven. Pour 1 pint half-and-half over all. Bake for 30-45 minutes with 10 briquettes on the bottom and 14 on the top. Rolls are done when they swell up and begin to brown. You’ll think you’ve died and gone to sticky-bun heaven!

Posted in Dutch Oven, Recipes | 4 Comments »

Seasoning Your Dutch Oven

November 12th, 2006 by Halli

An aluminum Dutch oven usually does not require any initial treatment except washing in hot, soapy water. However, some brands may come with a factory-applied wax coating that must be removed. If the coating is very heavy, place the Dutch oven in a gas barbecue, upside down with the lid leaning against the pot, set the temperature to medium, and close the lid. If you must use an indoor electric oven, open your house doors and windows, and heat in a 350F oven. When the Dutch oven stops smoking, turn off the heat and allow to cool. Be sure to wash and dry before using.

When you bring home a cast iron Dutch oven, you will find it also coated with a layer of protective wax to prevent rusting. If the wax is so thick you can scrape it off with your fingernail, burn it off by the same method as described for the aluminum oven. If it is not extremely thick, scour the Dutch oven well with an abrasive pad, using soap and hot water. Then rinse and dry. Regardless of the method you used to remove the wax coating, now coat the Dutch oven inside and out with white Crisco shortening or vegetable oil. With an indoor electric oven, heat your Dutch oven to 400F for 30-45 minutes, or until it stops smoking. If you are able to use a gas barbecue, heat your Dutch oven on the medium setting for 20-30 minutes, or until the oven stops smoking. You can tell the oven is properly seasoned if it has turned dark amber to black, and has a satin sheen to it. If it still looks essentially as it did when you opened the box, repeat the process. If the Dutch oven feels sticky, reheat until it stops smoking.

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Miscellaneous Dutch Oven Tips

November 9th, 2006 by Halli

A Dutch oven is a very versatile cooking pot. You can turn over the lid, place it directly on the coals, and use it for a frying pan. You can heat oil in the oven and deep fry onion rings, scones, etc. And with both the pot and the lid, you can bake, roast, boil, brown, etc., etc.

To minimize the clean up, you can line your Dutch oven with heavy-duty, extra-wide aluminum foil. There will usually be some food that leaks onto the oven, but it will usually not be baked on, and clean up will be quick and easy.

When you can actually smell your dish as you walk near the hot oven, your dish is probably done, even if your watch or timer says it hasn’t been long enough. When you lift the lid to check for doneness or to stir, use care to keep coals and especially ash from falling off the lid onto the food. Though “activated charcoal” is reputed to aid digestion, it doesn’t look very tempting on top of the cobbler or chicken dish! Likewise, be careful where you set the lid while tending to the dish. It will pick up sand or dirt, which will be transferred to the food.

When you’ve finished the cooking stage and have served your guests, remove the food from the oven as soon as possible, and don’t store food in it, unless it is an aluminum oven. In a cast iron oven, the result will be rust. Do allow the oven to cool by itself, and never pour cold water in a hot oven, or hot water in a very cold oven, as the oven may crack.

Remember that if the weather outside prevents charcoal or gas cooker preparation, just pop your Dutch oven in your indoor electric oven. The Dutch oven legs will just fit between the rails of your oven racks. Set your temperature to 350F, or other specified temperature (you can use a similar conventional oven recipe for guidance) and bake for the appropriate length of time. There are both cast iron and aluminum Dutch ovens made specially for indoor ovens, which are minus the legs and the flange on the lid.

If you are into emergency preparedness, as I am, keep a Dutch oven, supplies and ingredients for easy meals handy. Even canned stew will taste great heated in a Dutch oven. Don’t forget to practice your skills during times of less stress!

I love to use mixes for cakes and corn bread, and to open cans for casseroles and cobblers, to minimize food prep time. For me, the fun comes in the cooking. However, many Dutch oven cooks are into gourmet cooking and love to concentrate on multiple courses and elegant presentation. Pick your style (or a combination suiting your taste) and have fun. And remember, for your own safety, never eat food prepared by a skinny Dutch oven cook!

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Other Dutch oven equipment

November 9th, 2006 by Halli

As with almost any popular pursuit, it is possible to spend a lot of money accessorizing your Dutch ovens. You really just need equipment that gets the job done, so if you have a pair of pliers around the house, and there is no safety issue, you probably don’t need an expensive lid-lifter. Many of these items can be found in a dollar store. Use your imagination! Here is a short list of items and/or functions you will need when you cook in a Dutch oven.

  • Matches
  • Charcoal chimney
  • Newspaper or other fire starter
  • Lid lifter/pliers
  • Heavy gloves
  • Lid stand
  • Long tongs
  • Metal table or other surface
  • Coal scraper, like a putty knife
  • The usual cooking utensils

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Briquettes and Heat Control for Dutch Ovens

November 9th, 2006 by Halli

If you’re not using your Dutch oven in an indoor electric oven, on a gas grill, or over wood coals from your campfire, you are probably using briquettes. There are many brands available, but most Dutch oven cooks agree that Kingsford makes the most consistent product that yields the best results.

Many if not most Dutch oven dishes are cooked at 350F. To achieve that temperature, use the “Rule of Two”, by taking the size in inches of your Dutch oven and subtracting 2 for the number of coals placed under the oven. Take the size of the oven and add 2 for the number of coals placed on the lid. In other words, for a 12” Dutch oven, you put 10 coals under the oven, and 14 on the top to achieve a temperature of 350F. For higher or lower temperatures, add or subtract coals. When in doubt, it is generally better to use too few briquettes than too many!

For baking breads, cakes, etc., you can use the “Rule of Four”. From the size of the Dutch oven subtract 4 to get the number of coals to place under the oven. Add 4 to the size of the oven to get the number of coals to place on the lid.

Briquettes can be started in a variety of ways. My favorite method is with a charcoal chimney. Just be sure you don’t buy one with a “drop-out” bottom. You generally are going to want to pour out the burning coals rather than leave them heaped in one location under the chimney. Just stuff 1-2 pages of newspaper in the bottom of the chimney, place the desired number of briquettes (plus a few) in the top, and light the paper. It usually takes 15-20 minutes for the charcoal to start. You can tell it’s started if your hand placed a few inches over the top of the chimney can feel the heat. The briquettes will be gray or have gray patches on them when they are ready to use.

There are some variables that effect the heat provided by briquettes or coals. Even a moderate breeze
can reduce the heat somewhat and if one is blowing you may wish to use a windscreen of some kind. Humidity, shade, cold weather, high altitude and cooking on soft ground can also reduce the heat. Of course, hot weather and direct sun can also increase the heat of the briquettes.

It is possible to conserve heat and briquettes by stacking Dutch ovens, when you’re cooking multiple dishes. Just be sure to put the oven containing the dish that requires the longest cooking time and the least amount of attention on the bottom.

Many Dutch oven recipes require only an hour of cooking. If a longer time is required, such as for some roasts, you will need to start a new set of briquettes, clean off the ash from the first briquettes, and put on the new ones.

Remember that stews, soups, chili and other liquids require more heat, and thus more briquettes, on the bottom of the Dutch oven. Meat, vegetables and cobblers require an even distribution of heat. And cakes, breads, biscuits, cookies, etc., require most of the heat on the top of the Dutch oven, and just a little on the bottom.

A variety of surfaces can be used for cooking in a Dutch oven. The ovens can be placed on the ground, a flat metal surface of some kind, such as a garbage can lid, concrete (which may crack with the high temperatures) or almost anything non-flammable. For a few years I placed my Dutch ovens in a clean oil drain pan.

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Cleaning your Dutch oven

November 9th, 2006 by Halli

An aluminum Dutch oven may be washed with your other dishes in hot, soapy water, or even cleaned in
the dishwasher.

To clean your cast iron Dutch oven after producing a delicious meal, first scrape out the remaining food with a plastic scraper as soon as possible. Never store food in a cast iron oven. Then fill with 1 or 2 quarts of hot water and scrub with a plastic (non-abrasive) scrubber or vegetable brush. Some cooks never use soap in their cast iron ovens, others use just a few drops of soap, being careful to rinse well. Whichever method you choose, dry the oven completely immediately after washing, and coat with a very thin film of vegetable oil. Replace the lid and store in a dry place.

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Choosing a Dutch Oven

November 9th, 2006 by Halli

Dutch oven cooking is a wonderful hobby, and a delicious way to eat. It’s one “habit” that delights family and friends alike, and a terrific emergency cooking method.

Once you’ve decided to give Dutch oven cooking a try, the first question to be answered is which one to buy. Your choice is between cast iron and aluminum, in a wide variety of sizes and even styles.

Cast iron ovens are heavier, retain heat more evenly, and can withstand higher temperatures. They do require seasoning (read Seasoning Your Dutch Oven for more info), which means clean-up must be done with a little more care. The cast iron oven is the historical choice of settlers of the American West.

Aluminum ovens are lighter weight, don’t require seasoning, and are actually dishwasher safe. However, they can actually melt if too much heat is used. One cook reported that when placed over an open fire to cook stew, his aluminum Dutch oven actually melted down and the spilled stew put out the fire. However, aluminum ovens are the clear choice for river rafters, horse packers, and even some backpackers. I prefer aluminum for baking breads and cakes.

Size is also an issue, and is usually determined by the number of people to be served. By far the most common Dutch oven is a Lodge 12” cast iron, which is 6 quarts, and equivalent to a 9” X 13” baking pan for casseroles or desserts. It serves 6 – 10 people. An 8” or 10” Dutch oven (or even smaller) serve 4 – 8 people, and are also useful for heating sauces, etc. Dutch ovens measuring 14” (8 quarts) or 16” (14 quarts) are for larger crowds. Remember that the larger the cast iron oven, the greater the weight. For smaller individuals (especially women) a 14” oven filled with food can be nearly impossible to move!

Some Dutch oven styles also come in “deep” , which adds about an inch to the depth. These are typically used for roasts, turkeys, or larger quantities. Baking (of breads, cakes, cobblers, etc.) is usually done in a “regular” depth oven.

A “camp” Dutch oven has 3 legs which keep the oven above the coals used for heating the bottom. The lid has a flange, or rim, around the edge to hold coals on the top. It also has a handle for ease in lifting the oven on and off the coals or fire.

Whatever model, size or depth oven you choose, be sure to avoid irregular casting and poorly fitting lids. The lid must fit snugly on the oven to assure proper cooking or baking.

Posted in Dutch Oven | 1 Comment »

Dutch Oven Easy Barbecue Chicken

November 8th, 2006 by Halli


8 – 12 chicken breasts or other chicken pieces
Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbecue Sauce (or other favorite)

Start 25-30 briquettes. Pour a little barbecue sauce in the bottom of a 12” Dutch oven, (may be lined with foil if desired). Place one layer of chicken pieces in sauce. Cover pieces with sauce. Repeat until all chicken pieces are in oven and coated with barbecue sauce. Do not over fill oven. Place lid on oven. Put 10 coals under the Dutch oven, and 14 on top. Allow to bake for about 1 hour. Serve your chicken and rake in the compliments!

Posted in Dutch Oven, Recipes | 1 Comment »

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