Monday, April 10, 2006

Dutch Treat

I had the privilege of judging a Dutch Oven Cook-Off this weekend and I have to tell you that if you’ve never cooked with a Dutch Oven you’re missing quite a treat.

Dutch Oven cooking is an adventure. First, you have to understand that anything you can cook in a regular oven can be cooked in a Dutch Oven. The only challenge is how.

This weekend I tasted the following:

Pork ribs
Beef stew
Chicken stew
Texas chili
Lemon cake
Peach cobbler
Apple cobbler
And baked bread

All cooked in a Dutch Oven.

For those of you not familiar with this cast iron marvel let me say that the Dutch Oven can serve as both stew pot and oven. You an apply heat both above and below.

The Dutch Oven is a cast iron pot on legs with a lipped top. The legs allow the oven to be placed on a bed of coals and the lipped top allows coals to be placed on top. In general, a Dutch Oven will maintain an internal temperature of 350 degrees F (Mark 4) with coals placed above and below.

Why would anyone cook in a Dutch Oven? Well, for a start you do this outdoors. If you’re not an outdoors person then there’s no point! Cook indoors and enjoy! But, if you’re the outdoors type and enjoy camping then the Dutch Oven is the cook’s tool of choice for any recipe.

So, which recipes won the competition?

Standing Pork Ribs with Mango Sauce
Fresh Bread with melted butter
Apple cobbler with cinnamon crunch topping


Beef stew with dumplings
Cucumber and tomato salad
Lemon cake with raspberry glaze

I’ve already signed up for next year as Head Judge. Can you blame me?


Anonymous said...

And all this time I thought a Dutch Oven was only when you farted in bed and held the covers over someone's face.

Anonymous said...

My dad cooks things, casseroles mostly, in a Dutch Oven ... but he places it in the conventional oven. I never realized they were utilized with wood fire or charcoal.

Sandra said...

Sounds you need an Assistant to the Head Judge? I'm volunteering!

meg said...

I'm scared of "cucumber and tomato salad" cooked in a Dutch oven. Don't need no D.O. to make vegetal slime.

That said, I love my D.O., even though I can barely pick it up when it loaded up with grub.

KatieLauren said...

Ok soooo sorry for this being the first time I comment but I agree with the first comment, I heard the words "Dutch Oven" and I squealed like a little girl... I really at this point in my life should grow up!!!!

stinky said...

On an Outward Bound trip 8 years ago I sat on a rock on the edge of Moosehead Lake and ate fresh bread baked in a dutch oven. After a week of GORP and instant oatmeal, that bread appeared like a miracle and tasted heavenly. Thanks for bringing the memory back with your post.

Antique Mommy said...

Dutch ovens are great for camping, but hiking? Not so much.

Tom said...

Miles from anywhere and Sierra Nevada gold miners chili from a dutch oven is heaven, and if your lucky, cornbread to go with it. mmm

Anonymous said...

Hey Bill,

I'm with Antique Mommy on this one. Here I am in NZ carrying my entire life on my back, and the mere idea of even trying to pack enough food to put in a Dutch Oven while someone else schleps the oven itself makes me quake.

So, it must be car camping where the Dutch Oven comes into play. Or when you are sharing a sleeping bag with someone. The giggle-worthy Dutch Oven is much more my camping style. =)


Willem said...

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