Dutch Oven Recipes And Tips

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When buying a cast iron Dutch oven, whether new or used, look carefully at these important areas:

  • Legs: Does the oven you are looking at have three good legs? Only buy a Dutch oven with legs, also called a camp oven. Some are manufactured with flat bottoms and are far more difficult to use while camping and are best suited for use in an inside kitchen. The legs should be long enough to provide clearance to the briquettes and lid handle that will be under the oven.
  • Fit: Does the lid fit well? The lid should lie flush with the lip of the oven all the way around, with no significant gaps. A good seal also helps with successful cooking.
  • Lip: Does the lid have a lip? The lid should have a lip all around the outer edge to keep the ash from the charcoal from making its way into your food.
  • Consistency: Does the thickness of the walls appear to be consistent. There will be some inconsistencies. However, an area that is substantially thicker or thinner (more than 15%) than the surrounding areas will produce hot or cold spots during cooking and cooling. This variation in thickness will also make the oven much more likely to crack or warp. Pay special attention to the bottom and the lid.
  • Handle: Does the lid have a handle? A securely attached loop handle will make lifting and rotating the lid much easier.
  • Bail: Does the Dutch oven have a wire bail handle attached to the oven itself. It should be easily movable and strong enough to use for carrying or hanging a heavy pot full of stew without difficulty.
  • Finish: Does the Dutch oven have heavy pitting? Look for an oven with very little pitting. Heavy pitting will make it difficult for the seasoning to adhere.
  • Lodge is just one of several manufacturers that have a consistent quality across their product line. If these areas pass inspection, you’ve got a good Dutch oven. Take it home and start having fun.

Preparing to Use and Care of Your Dutch Oven

Seasoning your oven:

Once you have a Dutch oven, it must be cured or seasoned (some new ovens are now available pre-seasoned). This process will keep your oven from rusting and produce an interior coating that will prevent food from sticking. The process is actually quite simple. If you have an old rusty oven, scrub it well and use a fine-grade sandpaper, a brass wheel or steel wool to clean up and expose the entire surface, inside and out. Once the metal is exposed, or if you are curing a new oven, follow the following procedure:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350°. Place a layer of aluminum foil on the bottom rack of your oven to catch any drops of the oil that may drip off of your Dutch oven that will be applied in step 4.
  2. Wash the entire Dutch oven well with hot soapy water (this is the only time you should use soap). This will remove the waxy coating from a new oven and any fine metal dust remaining in an old reconditioned one.
  3. Dry the Dutch oven completely. Heat your Dutch oven, upside down, in the oven in your home).
  4. While the Dutch oven is hot, take a small amount of oil or shortening (only use good quality oil or shortening), and while wearing oven mitts or heavy leather gloves, use a clean cotton cloth or paper towel to wipe the entire surface well, inside and out, to coat it with the shortening or oil.
  5. When the Dutch oven is coated, heat it to 350° for an hour. If you do this in your house, expect some smoke.
  6. If this is the initial seasoning, apply an additional coating of oil.
  7. After an hour of heating, turn off your oven and let the Dutch oven cool slowly. Do not try to force the cooling of a cast iron Dutch oven or skillet, unless you want to risk cracking or warping.
  8. The Dutch oven will start turning a dark brown or black during the seasoning process and will continue with each time used.
  9. This initial grill; start a hot fire, set the oiled oven on the grate, put the lid on and let the coals burn out. If using a gas grill; preheat to at least 400°F, set the oiled oven on the grate, close the lid and leave it on for at least 2 hours.
  10. Once you have your oven cured, it is ready for cooking. However, after each subsequent use and cleaning, you maintain and strengthen the cure by wiping a very light coat of oil or shortening over the dry, warm oven. Do not use too much or a rancid smell may develop.

CARING FOR THE DUTCH OVEN

Cleaning your Dutch oven is an easy two-step process. First, you need to remove the food from the oven. Using a plastic or wooden scraper remove as much as possible. Fill the oven with warm clean water and heat until almost boiling. Using a plastic scrubber or a course sponge gently break loose food and wipe away. DO NOT USE SOAP. After all the food has been removed rinse with clean water. Allow the oven to air dry. Second, heat oven over the fire until just hot to the touch. Apply a thin coating of oil to the inside of the oven and the underside of the lid. You will not need to oil the outside unless there are signs of rust beginning to form. It is important to never use soap with your Dutch oven. It will need to be re-seasoned if you use soap. It would be a good idea to pack a plastic scrubber in a Zip-lock bag and keep it stored in your Dutch oven or chuck box to use exclusively with your oven.

Do not allow water to stand in or around your Dutch oven. Rust can develop through the best “seasoning.” Using soap on your Dutch oven will cause it to impregnate the pores of the metal and taint the flavor of your meals. If soap is used the oven should go through the complete seasoning process again. Do not pour cold liquid into a hot Dutch oven. This will cause the oven to crack.

DUTCH OVEN COOKING

FRYING, BOILING, — The heat should all come from the bottom. Place coals under the oven as needed.

BAKING — The heat will usually be more from the top than the bottom. Use a 3 : 1 lid to bottom ratio for placing your coals. Check often and remove or replace coals as needed.

ROASTING — The heat source should be equally balanced between the top and bottom. Use a 1 : 1 lid to bottom ratio.

STEWING, SIMMERING — The majority of the heat should come from the bottom. Use a 4 : 1 bottom to lid ratio.

Dutch Oven Pizza
Ingredients
  • Canned biscuits
  • Prepared pizza or spaghetti sauce
  • Pizza fixings- pepperoni sausage, mushrooms, etc.
  • Grated mozzarella cheese
  • Pam spray
Instructions
  1. Line Dutch oven with foil making sure there are no air pockets.
  2. Spray with Pam
  3. Make a pizza crust by pressing biscuits onto the bottom of the Dutch oven.
  4. Spoon sauce over crust and top with desired fixings and cheese, Bake in the Dutch oven for 10 — 15 minutes or until done.
  5. Check often to prevent burning
Sausage Balls
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. Jimmy Dean sausage
  • 1 lb. cheddar cheese — grated
  • 3 c.  Bisquick
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl mix all ingredients together with your hands. When thoroughly mixed form into walnut sized balls.
  2. Bake in a Dutch oven for 10 — 15 minutes or until done. The uncooked sausage balls can be made ahead and frozen.
Dutch Oven Quiche
Ingredients
  • 1- pound bacon or sausage
  • 3 ⁄4-cup chopped onion
  • 3 ⁄4-cup sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 ⁄2-cup chopped green pepper
  • 11 ⁄2-cups grated cheese
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 11 ⁄2-cups Bisquick
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 ⁄4-teaspoon salt
  • 1 ⁄2-teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut bacon into small pieces and brown.
  2. Add the onion, mushrooms and green pepper and cook until onions are clear. Remove from heat, drain and cool.
  3. Sprinkle into greased Dutch oven.
  4. Sprinkle cheese over the bacon mixture.
  5. Mix, with a wire whisk, in a medium bowl: Bisquick, milk, eggs, salt, and pepper. Pour over the cheese, bacon, onions, etc. Do not stir.
  6. Bake at 350° for 30–35 minutes or until top is golden and the toothpick comes out clean. Let stand without lid for 5 minutes.
  7. Cut into wedges to serve.
  8. The quiche can also be made with spinach and Swiss or Feta cheese.
Tortilla Pizza
Ingredients
  • Large flour tortillas
  • Prepared pizza or spaghetti sauce
  • Pizza fixing’s
  • Grated mozzarella cheese
  • Pam spray
Instructions
  1. Line Dutch oven with foil and spray with Pam.
  2. Place a large flour tortilla in oven and spoon on sauce.
  3. Top with desired fixings and cheese.
  4. Bake in the Dutch oven for 5 — 10 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and sauce is bubbling.

French Style Roast Beef
Ingredients
  • 3 lb Boneless chuck or rolled rump roast 6 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 water
  • 2 med. onions quartered
  • 2 med. stalks celery cut into 1" pieces 1 tsp salt
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 1 large clove  garlic
  • 4 med. carrots cut into quarters
  • 2 med. turnips cut into quarters
Instructions
  1. Place beef roast, salt, thyme, clove, peppercorns, bay leaf and garlic in Dutch oven, add water.
  2. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer covered for 2–1/2 hours. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Cover and simmer until beef and vegetables are tender, about 30 min.
  4. Remove beef and vegetables. Cut beef into 1/4" slices.
  5. Strain broth and serve with beef and vegetables.
Beef Pot Roast
Ingredients
  • 3 –4 lb rump roast or pot roast
  • 3 medium potatoes pared and halved
  • 3 medium carrots cut into 2" pieces
  • 2 medium onions  halved
  • 1 tsp  salt
  • 1/4 tsp  pepper
  • 1/2 c water or beef broth
Instructions
  1. Brown roast in oven on all sides in small amount of oil.
  2. Remove meat, salt, and pepper. Place half of the vegetables in bottom of the oven, return meat to oven and add remaining vegetables and liquid.
  3. Cover and cook at 300 for 3–5 hours depending upon the size of roast and degree of done desired.
  4. Remove meat and vegetables carefully and place on serving platter.

Roger Keyserling


Dutch Oven Recipes And Tips was originally published in eCom Tips on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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