Guest Author - Erik Moeller
It has been a while since I went camping so I do not get to use the Dutch oven as often as I used to. I also do not get as much exposure to others using their ovens to see if there are any new trends or thoughts about Dutch oven cooking. Through the website I asked some other users their thought and even got a couple of new recipes.
When I was doing a lot of camping the cast iron version of the Dutch oven was the preferred metal. That still appears to be the same. Aluminum has made large strides in eliminating hot spots and developing an even cooking oven, but cast iron still seems to be preferred. The one time aluminum is preferred is when you take a Dutch oven on a backpacking trip- the weight difference easily makes up for any short comings in even heat distribution.
There has also been a question about lining the Dutch oven with foil to speed cleaning or to just cook in the oven. Several people had tried using foil but have generally gotten away from it. Properly scraping, cleaning and seasoning your oven should give you good flavor without a long cleanup time. Some people put the oven over the fire until the food is burned and then scrape the residue with a wooden or sturdy plastic spoon (never use a metal utensil). Another method is to add boiling water to the oven and scrape it. Keep the oven well seasoned.
One thing that was pointed out to me was to not lose sight of some other cast iron products- like a skillet. Using the two together can give you some powerful possibilities.
One example of that is the award winning recipe for Mike Krausís Chocolate Pancakes with Fresh Fruit Compote.
Follow the directions for pancakes on the box of Bisquick or some other pancake mix.
Add to the mix powdered cocoa mix, just enough to change the color of the dry
mix to cocoa brown (about 1/4 cup per 2 cups of Pancake mix).
2 TBS sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder.
1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
Add a little extra liquid as needed to smooth out the batter.
Season a skillet and prepare pancakes.
For the Compote- this is an as much or as little as you want recipe.
Preheat the Dutch oven over the coals.
1 stick of butter
1 cup packed brown sugar. You can add more or less based on your taste.
Add the butter and brown sugar into the Dutch oven and mix together until
the butter is melted and the mixture is syrupy.
Add cut up fresh fruit. Core but do not peel the fruit with the exception of the bananas.
3-4 bananas (Peel the bananas).
Periodically stir the fruit so that it is mixed with the syrup.
Total cooking time will be about 30-45 minutes depending on the temp of your oven.
This is a taste as you go recipe. At the end you will have some fruit that
is firmer than others. This gives a nice texture difference to the final
dish. If it is not sweet enough you can always add more sugar. The bananas
usually breakdown a lot but they give a great flavor to the dish.
Then you can pour the compote on top of the pancakes and top with a little
Dutch oven cooking doesnít have to be complicated. C. Michaelís recipe for noodles:
Canned mixed vegetables
Prepare the noodles as directed (or to your personal taste); add chicken; a few minutes later, add the canned vegetables. You can use frozen or fresh vegetables depending on the environment. Cook until vegetables are done.