Dutch Oven

Category Archive Dutch Oven

Recipe: Black Pot Lasagna

This is the recipe that I used for our main dish entry in the Eighth Annual Klondike Dutch Oven Cook-Off today. It’s a slight modification of the Black Pot Lasagna recipe that appeared in the Winter 2008 edition of the Dutch Oven News, the quarterly newsletter of the International Dutch Oven Society.

I tend to like Italian dishes with more spices than are usually called for.  I’ve made references to the original quantities for those that don’t like the amount of spice.

Characteristics

Tried: Yes
Camp Friendly: With Preparation
Yield: 8 or more servings
Ovens Needed: One 12″ dutch oven

Ingredients

1¼ pound Hot Italian sausage cut into bite-sized pieces. The original says “sweet Italian sausage links”.
1¼ pound ground chuck
1 onion, chopped. I like sweet onions like Walla Walla.
5 cloves garlic, chopped. The original calls for three.
3+ tsp oregano, fresh from garden preferred. The original calls for 2 tsp.
2 tbl basil, from garden preferred. The original calls for 1 tsp.
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
6 Roma tomatoes, diced. (Original calls for one 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano. I use tomatoes and extra spices as listed here.)
2 15 oz cans of tomato sauce
1 6 oz can of tomato paste
1½ cups small curd cottage cheese
5 oz grated parmigianino–reggiano cheese
2 tsp chopped parsley. (Original calls for 4 tsp.)
2 large eggs
~½ package oven-ready lasagna noodles
2 pounds shredded mozzarella cheese

Preparation

  1. Cook meat, onion, and garlic until meat is done and onions are clear. Drain.
  2. Add oregano, basil, salt, pepper, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste.
  3. Bring to boil then let simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Beat eggs lightly in separate bowl.
  5. Add cottage cheese, parmigianino, and parsley. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Spoon ⅓ of the meat sauce into bottom of 12″ dutch oven.
  7. Cover the sauce with lasagna noodles. With the dutch oven being round, I break them up slightly to fill in the spaces.
  8. Spread half of the cheese mixture over the noodles.
  9. Cover with just under half of the mozzarella.
  10. Spread another ⅓ of the meat sauce for the next layer.
  11. Repeat noodle layer.
  12. Spread the remaining half of the cheese mixture over the noodles.
  13. Cover with just under half of the mozzarella.
  14. Spread final ⅓ of the meat sauce on top.
  15. Top with final thin layer of mozzarella.

Cooking

Cook at 350°F for 30-45 minutes until hot and bubbly. You can use ⅔ timing if you want the cheese on the top to brown slightly.

Serving

Let stand 10 minutes or so before serving. If you don’t let it cool and set a little, it’ll be a mess trying to scoop it out.

Notes

  • As always, please be aware that these are my personal notes. I may be verbose in places to remind myself of particular points on chemistry or methodology.

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Dutch Oven Recipe: Garlic Herb Stuffed Crust Pizza

What will command the attention of the kids faster than a pizza with a spiced cheese-stuffed crust? No more left over crusts piled on the plate… they’ll eat every bit.

There are scores of pizza recipes out there. This is the one that has evolved in our house to the point where the kids look forward to homemade pizza more than delivery.

Updates

20 March 2009
  • Fixed sauce ingredient list. I hope nobody really put a cup of water in the pizza sauce! Sorry!
  • Increased the amount of dough for thin vs. thick crust pizza.

Characteristics

Tried: Yes
Camp Friendly: Advanced skills (raising yeast dough)
Yield: Two 12″ thin crust pizzas
Ovens Needed: Two 12″ dutch oven

Crust Ingredients

Thin Crust Thick Crust
1 cup 1½ cups warm water
1 tbsp 1½ tbsp yeast
1 tsp 1½ tsp sugar
2-½ cups 3-3/4 cups flour
1 tsp 1½ tsp salt
½ tsp ½ tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp 4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp 2 tsp basil
½ pound ½ pound block of mozzarella cheese, not semicircle or non-block shape (I buy one-pound blocks and save half until the next pizza.)

Sauce Ingredients

1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
½ tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
½ tsp garlic salt

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Topping Ingredients

With toppings, let your imagination go wild. The only constant that we count on is a pound of cheese and a 6 or 8 ounce bag of sliced pepperoni.

The following ingredient list is typical for our house, where we ordinarily make a double pepperoni pizza, and a multi-item pizza.

1 pound shredded mozzarella
1 8-oz. bag of pepperoni
½ pound hot Italian-style sausage, cooked
½ bell pepper
8 or 10 black olives, sliced
2 or 3 sliced mushrooms

Crust Preparation

  1. Mix warm water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Mix flour, salt, basil, garlic powder, and olive oil together. Be sure to crush the basil leaves between your fingers before adding.
  3. Work the oil into the flour until it has a consistent texture.
  4. Add yeast mixture.
  5. Knead bread for five or ten minutes.
  6. Set in a warm oven to rise for approximately one hour.
  7. Punch down dough.
  8. Divide into two equal halves.
  9. Roll out until approximately 2 inches greater diameter than dutch oven, about 14″. This overlap will be used to stuff the crust.
  10. Coat the bottom and side of the dutch over with a very thin layer of olive oil.
  11. Place the dough in the dutch oven.

    Stuffing the Crust

  12. Slice the block of mozzarella lengthwise, about ½” wide. Cut this slice lengthwise into thirds. The result should be a long piece of cheese with a square cross section, roughly ½” per side.
  13. Lay the pieces of cheese end to end on top of the dough, around the edge. The extra dough will lay on top of the cheese, hiding it.
  14. Pick up the cheese slightly and neatly tuck the dough underneath. I use a slight rolling motion.
  15. Cover the dutch oven again, and set aside in a warm place for ten minutes. (This is where I prepare the sauce and toppings.

Sauce Preparation

Easy peasy…

  1. Mix all ingredients together. Be sure to crush the basil leaves between your fingers before adding.

Final Preparation

  1. Evenly spread half of the sauce on one of the pizzas.
  2. Place toppings on pizza.
  3. WARNING!
    When you sprinkle the cheese on the pizza, ensure that all of it is inside of the stuffed cheese rim. If any cheese melts and touches the side of the dutch oven, it will stick terribly and make removal more difficult.
    WARNING!

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Commentary: Cheese on Top or Underneath?

This is personal preference. Experiment to determine whether you like to put the shredded cheese

  1. on top of the sauce, laying out the other toppings on top of the cheese in an aesthetically-pleasing manner, or
  2. last — on top of everything.

Personally, I like to put the cheese on top of the pepperoni pizza because some pepperonis have a tendency to curl. Turkey pepperoni that’s been in the refrigerator is notorious for this.

On the other hand, I find cheese underneath is more aesthetically pleasing with other toppings. You can play with making patterns or designs so it looks nice.

The verdict is suus quique… each to his own.

Cooking

Cook at 400°F for 30 minutes using ⅔ timing.

If you cook in dutch ovens in a conventional oven, leave the lids off. I also stack them in the oven by putting a cooling rack on top of the lower dutch oven, and placing the upper dutch oven on the cooling rack.

Some people suggest cooking with the dutch oven upside down. In other words, prepare the crust on the lid, then putting the oven on top (upside down). Unless you have a fancy dutch oven lid with its own legs, you’ll need to set the lid on a trivet to keep the whole assembly from tipping over.

The advantage to doing this is that you don’t have to monkey with getting the pizza out of the dutch oven. I’ve not tried this, personally.

Serving

If you cook this at home, cook in a cast iron skillet since the edges of an ordinary dutch oven are a little tall for easy extraction. With a dutch oven, I work a fork under one edge, then (using gloves) tip the dutch oven to let the pizza slide out onto a pizza pan or other large cutting surface to slice the pizza. After slicing, I slide the pizza to a cooling rack.

Others suggest leaving in the cast iron to keep it hot as people come back for more.

Notes

  • As always, please be aware that these are my personal notes. I may be verbose in places to remind myself of particular points on chemistry or methodology.
  • Raising bread is not hard, but the conditions are a little tricky. It’s like the three bears.
    1. Not too hot. The dough will gelatinize, meaning it will be hot and start to become a little runny, like a batter. Yeast doesn’t like it too hot either.
    2. Not too cold. The yeast won’t thrive, eat the sugar, produce CO₂, and cause the dough to rise.
    3. Just right. About 90°F or so. A very warm room.

    Yes, I’ve made all the mistakes and lived to tell the tale.

  • This recipe makes for a thin crust pizza. I’m experimenting to adjust the recipe upwards for a thicker crust pizza.
  • Be careful rolling out the dough evenly. If it’s uneven, there will be thin spots or holes in the crust. This makes a mess.

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Successful Pizza Experiment



We’ve been experimenting with pizza in the dutch ovens. I hope to have the recipe up soon, but we’re not yet ready to release it. There are some things to tune. Update: Our recipe may be found here

 

Here are some photos, however, of last Sunday’s two successful pizzas with crusts stuffed with cheese and garlic.

Sausage, pepperoni, olives, green pepper pizza cooked in a 12 dutch oven.

The traditional double pepperoni pizza, cooked in a 12" dutch oven.

Chilly DOG

We attended our first DOG (dutch oven gathering) on 4 October 2008. A DOG is basically a dutch oven club meeting. People get together to cook, eat, and have a good time.

Today’s DOG was a combination of three different clubs to do some community service cleaning up a park, with the dutch oven club providing breakfast for everybody. The weather was very cold and rainy, but for the most part people still got out, picked up trash, and had a good time.

Here’s a 52-second video of some of the cooking.

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I’m Dreaming of a Black (Pot) Christmas

We had a wild hair and cooked Christmas dinner in dutch ovens. Overall it was great.

  • Potato Rolls
  • Turkey Roast
  • Roast Carrots
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Stuffing
  • Gravy
  • Salad
  • Peach Pie

What Went Well

The turkey roast was a three-pound thing in a net. A sauce of oil, garlic, blackened seasoning and a little cayenne pepper went over the top. An army of baby carrots stood guard. Cooked at 300°F until the cooking thermometer beeped at 170°F. Put it another place, which read 135°F, and waited for it to beep again. After checking other spots, the pot was moved inside to wait for the other dishes. The turkey roast came out very nice.

The drippings were sparse, but made a killer gravy.

The first batch of potato rolls came out perfect. Not as much flour was used so they weren’t as dry as we’ve done before. Golden brown tops made for great presentation.

Lessons Learned

  • Charcoal is unreliable when it gets small — it starts out as less heat, but cools down dramatically (including going out). The second batch of rolls came out barely cooked, and thus salvageable.
  • I finally gave in to the fact that we could use another 12″ dutch oven so everything can be cooked simultaneously.
  • We forgot to butter the sides of the pot for the rolls, so they stuck a little.
  • The pie crust was salty. This reminded me why I usually skip salt in a lot of recipes.
  • I have no idea what I’m doing with pies. I wonder if there’s an evening class on pies. There’s a long list of failures; for example, we couldn’t get it out of the pot without destroying it, so we served it in the pot. I’ve watch expert level cooks work pies. Mine was the pastry rendition of Frankenstein’s monster.
peach pie turkey roast potato rolls

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Cooking White Rice in a Dutch Oven

We finally made some good rice in a dutch oven today. I was a little disheartened by previous failures, but I knew that it could be done because the Japanese have been cooking rice over a fire for centuries.

Heat! You want heat! I have a 10″ cast iron pot with a lid. It’s not a “camp” dutch oven (with the legs and a rim around the edge of the lid). I set the pot on a wire trivet with charcoal packed underneath. If you have a dutch oven, it’s more convenient. Today all the dutch ovens were being used to cook other things.

  1. Put two cups of water in the pot.
  2. Bring the water to a boil. Be patient, as it make take a while.
  3. After the water is boiling, add one cup of rice.
  4. Bring to a boil again, then remove all the charcoal except a ring.
  5. Cook until done.

If the water isn’t hot enough at the beginning, the rice will turn to mush with a hard core — really gross.

Note that we cook with the short grain Japanese rice, which turns out a little sticky. It’s perfect for using chopsticks. I’ve not cooked the “fluffy” American long-grain rice for over a decade, so I can’t comment on that.

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Dutch Oven Recipe: Japanese Curry #1

Japanese Curry
While curry may not be a native Japanese dish, the Japanese have adopted it and given it their own flair. There’s no “standard” curry. People use it as a gravy base to which they’ll add many things: corn, potatoes, carrots, onions, you name it. They will put it on rice, udon (noodles), or bread. In this spirit, you can use this recipe as a base. Play with it. Experiment. Have fun with it.

Note that meat is optional. I prefer a good curry without meat. If the curry needs meat to taste good, it’s not a good curry… in my opinion.

2008-12-21 Update: I reworked this article slightly, including altering the recipe.

Characteristics

Tried: Yes
Camp Friendly: Yes with preparation
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ovens Needed: One 12″ dutch oven

Ingredients

2 tblsp butter
1 large Walla Walla (sweet) onion
2 cloves garlic (I use four)
1½ pounds pounds pork, chicken, or beef cut into small cubes. One may omit this for vegetarian style
1 package Golden Curry roux (8.4 oz)
1⅔ cups water
½ pound baby carrots, split length-wise
1 can corn, drained
2 potatoes, sliced thin
2 large green bell peppers
1 cup cottage cheese (optional)
2 cups plain yoghurt (optional)

Camp Preparation

  1. Bag #1: Finely chop garlic. Slice Onion thinly. Put into zip lock bag with butter.
  2. Bag #2: Meat. Put into zip lock bag.
  3. Bag #3: Vegetables. Put into zip lock bag.
  4. Bag #4: Cheese and yoghurt. Put into strong zip lock bag or other suitable container.

Cooking

  1. Put garlic, onion, and butter into dutch oven to start cooking. Cook until onions are transparent.
  2. Cook meat.
  3. Add water and curry roux. Heat until it starts to boil. Roux will dissolve at this point.
  4. Add other vegetables. Cook until meat is done.
  5. Add yoghurt and cheese mixture. Cook until cheese has melted, and potatoes are cooked.

Serving

Serve over white rice.

Notes

  • As always, please be aware that these are my personal notes. I may be verbose in places to remind myself of particular points on chemistry or methodology.
  • Note that the cottage cheese and plain yoghurt will tone down the spice tremendously. I used the hot curry roux, and it came out relatively mild. Yoghurt is not Japanese per se, but it does add a nice flavour.
  • There may be debate over whether this is “real” Japanese curry because it doesn’t have potatoes or corn, and it has yoghurt. I’m not going to argue. I’ve not had Japanese people protest.
  • This recipe is works for camping if you prepare ahead of time. Put things in zip-lock bags. This will reduce the mess of trying to prepare food at camp. If you camp in bear country like we do, minimizing food spillage is critical for not turning your camp ground into a bear magnet.
  • The sauce needs the mixture to be brought to a near boil. If the temperature isn’t high enough to break the chemical bonds, it’ll remain soupy. When it thickens, it should happen fairly quickly.

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The Ring Method for Charcoal Placement

Lone Star Dutch Oven Society logo
I got wind of this document called Outdoor Cooking with Dutch Ovens from the IDOS forums. It has an interesting “ring” method for estimating the amount of charcoal required for cooking. I’ll be playing with it in the future.

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Partial Success

curry and corn bread
We had a partially successful meal tonight. I switched charcoal brands today. (I wrote about “no more cheap charcoal” earlier.)

Menu

I prepared a main dish, bread, and dessert.

  • Japanese curry with pork on rice.
  • Jalapeño cheese corn bread.
  • 12″ sugar cookie.

Evaluation

Curry
The curry came out excellent. I cheated on the rice and used my Zōjirushi. I have had no successful dutch oven rice yet and chickened out.
Bread
The bread was a little overcooked. I should have checked it when I switched the bottom coals to the top (after 20 minutes), rather than waiting until after the full 30 minutes. This dutch oven has been sticking a little. It looks like time to re-treat the dutch oven.
Cookie
Failure. I was flying by the seat of my pants here. I had too much top heat and not enough bottom heat. The top was cooked to perfection but the bottom was essentially uncooked.

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Don’t Cook With Cheap Charcoal

charcoal briquette
I started dutch oven cooking with coals from a wood fire. I admit some unease at using charcoal simply because I didn’t have any real experience with it. (I grew up with the idea that when one goes camping, one makes a wood fire and cooks with the coals.)

I admit my ignorance when it comes to charcoal. It’s black lumps that makes dutch ovens portable. At first I bought the cheap (HomeLife) brand charcoal. I’ve been using it for some months and am familiar with it. I’ve read on the ‘Net that one shouldn’t use the cheap stuff, so I decided to give name brand (Kingsford) charcoal a go. I used it for the first time today. I have a one-word summary:

Wow.

This stuff lights much easier, burns hotter, burns more consistently, burns much longer… and doesn’t have the huge pieces of grit in them. I’m confident that I’ll quickly adapt to this type of charcoal, but I’m not going to go back to using the cheap charcoal given the choice.

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