Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive April 2006:
We went camping during Spring Break last week. A family who camped next to us for two days cooked all their meals in a cast iron dutch oven. It was so neat! They made chili, scones, and enchiladas among other things.
We own a cast iron dutch oven that you can cook outdoors with (the type with the cast iron lid with the lip to hold the coals on top and the little feet on the bottom), but we have never used it unless you count collecting dust in the garage as "using" it. I would love to give dutch oven cooking a try on our next camping trip. Has anyone here ever used a dutch oven to cook over coals? Any tried and true outdoor dutch oven recipes or cookbooks you recommend? TIA
WE almost exclusive dutch oven cook when we camp. The real secret is to use it and use it and get it well seasoned.
Some basic info. You need to start your charcoal, we use one of those big cans (think green beans at a school). We fill it with charcoal and then a few firestarters. When the charcoals are grey you toss them on the oven, takes about 20-30 minutes.
You put more coals on top than on bottom, each coal puts off about 15 degrees of heat. In general I put 15 on top and 10 on bottom give or take (that cooks at 375). You checkerboard the top and then put them in a circle on the bottom. Toss your ingredients in a viola, about an hour later you have food.
So what do we cook?? Breakfast. Toss some hash browns, some precooked meat (bacon, etc) about a dozen eggs and some cheese. You can eat as is, or you can serve with tortillas and picante.
We tend to do a light lunch, so no dutch oven.
For dinner, we have done chicken and dumplings, and type of soup or stew. But most we use it for dessert. Put a good dollop of oil in the bottom, toss in 2 cans of peaches, with syrup (or whatever fruit), then add a cake mix, straight from the box, dollop the top with slices of butter (10 or so). Then cook. It is the best peach cobbler. We have two, we typically stack them so dinner is all done. Clean up is great, one pot to clean. When the food is gone, we top pour water in it and put it back on the coals.
Also during breakfast as you are cooking coals, we have a kettle that we put on top so we can have boiling water for tea (or coffee).
Thanks so much, Kaye! Dh and I really want to give dutch oven cooking a try! I have, and regularly use, cast iron skillets and my indoor cast iron dutch oven (glass lid) in my kitchen, but have never used one outdoors with coals and it looked so neat!
BTW, the cobbler sounds really yummy! We will definitely give that recipe a try.
When I was camping with Girl Scouts years ago, we made a cake. A little oil to cover the pan, mix the cake mix with water and oil like it says on the box but you don't have to use a mixer, just stir until moist. Pour it in the dutch oven. Then dump a can of cherries in the middle. Close it up and cook about 45 minutes. It was great. I let the girls do it all but put the dutch oven in the fire. They were very proud of themselves.