Sometime it's pretty difficult to know what to write about; after all there's just so much to write about when it comes to cooking. However, the last few years I have written about campfire cooking, but I have to admit I was pretty limited to foil packets and some smores. I was asked what I knew about Dutch oven cooking? I do have a Dutch oven, but I have only used it in my regular oven, when I was asked about it again recently and again I had to admit I had no recipes for one. It was then someone told me Dan Koch was an expert in this kind of cooking and because I felt I knew Don and Kay well enough I would get some information.
The one thing I didn't know was that anything you bake in your oven can be baked, or cooked in a Dutch oven. The foods you can cook are endless-like you can make pizza, muffins, potatoes, chicken, pot roasts and even desserts. Also it is important that you select a good pot with a good lid and handle. The lid should have a lip on the top so it can hold the coals or charcoal while cooking, this lid is important if you actually going to bake in the oven. I didn't realize that most of the heat actually comes from the lid.
Don says successful Dutch oven cooking requires some knowledge of heat and flame. The cook must be able to judge the heat and adjust to the situation by adding or removing some of the coals. A high heat is usually not used. A good thing to remember is that a Dutch oven holds a lot of heat in the sides and lid. To bake in a Dutch oven you put some coals under the oven and more coals on top. I think this could be quite tricky to get the right amount of charcoal. If you are uncertain about this start with 4 to 6 coals under the oven and 12 to 15 on top. To estimate the heat of the Dutch oven place your hand over the coals on the lid and count; one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three--remove your hand when it is uncomfortable. One is hot, two is moderate, three is low heat.
Something I found interesting - you can stack Dutch ovens on top of one another to save heat and coals and to cook more food at the same time. It seems to me cooking in a oven is easy, but it is really easy when you think ahead. You may want to brown meat at home before cooking it in the oven. Another good idea is to prepare dry mixture in zip-lock bags ahead of time. Write mixing directions in the bag and use the bag as a disposable mixing bag. Speaking to Don I found out that buying a good cast-iron Dutch oven is important and they can be found in any sport store and he especially likes The Lodge brand and most come with directions and recipes. Also every camping store have books or pamphlets filled with tips and recipes. My favorite would be a pot roast or a cobbler.
CAMPER'S PEACH COBBLER
2 cans (30 oz.) of sliced
1 box of cake mix-yellow
1/2 cup sugar
1 dash cinnamon
1 egg (optimal)
1 stick of marginal
1 cup juice and water to
make 1 cup
Put the fruit in the bottom of a warm Dutch oven. Dump the cake mix, sugar, cinnamon and liquid in a plastic bag or pot and mix. If it is sticky dough add a little more water. Pour over the fruit. Drop pats of margarine on top of the mixture. Bake on moderate heat with plenty of coals on top for about 40 minutes. Adjust cooking and water as necessary.
"Ladies-to me I would keep this Dutch oven cooking as a "macho" thing."