Delicious, Healthful Recipes and Tips for Preparing Food in a Dutch Oven

Summer eatin’ is simply the best. It’s that time of year when we have access to a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables, when we’re able to sip refreshing lemonade to cool off from the heat, and when we can enjoy some outdoor cooking!

One way to prepare food in the great outdoors is by using a Dutch oven. A Dutch oven is a thick-walled ceramic, clay, or cast iron pot with a tightly fitted lid. It’s traditionally used atop burning charcoal.

Maybe this is a little out of your comfort zone? No need to be intimidated, though. Local and self-proclaimed “Dutch Diva”, Terry Bell, has given us several tips and tricks of the trade. She has over 38 years of experience creating tasty treats from a Dutch oven.

  • You don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment for Dutch oven cooking. You can cook on bricks, pavers, or even firm/solid dirt.
  • “Season” your Dutch oven (if it did not come pre-seasoned) by coating the inside with vegetable oil, baking for an hour at 300 degree Fs, and repeating the process. This coats your oven to prevent rust and corrosion as well as creates a non-stick cooking surface for an easier clean-up.
  • Start with recipes that have high moisture content such as soups or stews to help avoid burning the food.
  • The charcoal is hot enough and ready for cooking when it has a nice white edge to it.
  • Watch the weather. If it’s too windy, your charcoal may blow out so it’s best to keep an eye on it.

For the full story on Dutch oven cooking (and more yummy recipes), check out our summer issue of Here’s To Your Health magazine. You can also try several mouthwatering recipes, courtesy of Terry Bell, below.

Blueberry Biscuits

2 C flour
2 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
Dash salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ C butter
¾ C buttermilk
1 C fresh blueberries
½ C raw sugar

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Mix in the buttermilk and gently fold in the blueberries.  Form dough into biscuits and place in a well-greased 10” Dutch oven with sides touching.  Sprinkle tops with raw sugar.  Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 15 to 20 minutes using 12 coals on the top and 10 coals on the bottom.

Lasagna

1 lb. Italian sausage, cooked and drained
1 lb. lean ground beef, cooked and drained
Large jar of your favorite flavor of prepared spaghetti sauce
2 large cans petite diced tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped
½ C burgundy wine
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. dry Italian seasoning
2 lbs. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 C shredded parmesan cheese
Lasagna noodles (can use “no bake” or regular – both work just fine)

Combine sausage, ground beef, spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, garlic, onion, burgundy wine, garlic salt and Italian seasoning.  Simmer for ½ hour to allow flavors to combine.  Grease the bottom of a 14” shallow Dutch oven.   Spoon a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of the oven.  Layer ingredients starting with noodles, sauce, mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese, ending with parmesan cheese on the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour using 14 coals on the bottom and 14 coals on the top.

Lemon Ginger Apple Crisp

6 C granny smith apples, peeled and sliced
½ C brown sugar
2 T flour
2 T lemon juice
1 t freshly grated lemon peel
½ t ground ginger

Topping:

¼ C quick oats
¼ C brown sugar
2 T flour
¼ C butter
¼ C chopped pecans (optional)

Combine apples, ½ C brown sugar, 2 T flour, lemon juice, lemon peel and ginger in a bowl.  Toss to coat apples thoroughly.  Place apple mixture in a well-greased 12” Dutch oven.

Mix together oats, ¼ C brown sugar and 2 T flour.  Cut in ¼ C butter until mixture is crumbly.  Mix in pecans if desired.  Sprinkle topping over apple mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 1 hour or until apples are soft and topping is golden brown.

Coals:  Use 12 coals on the bottom and 18 on the top.  More top heat is necessary to brown the topping mixture.

Notes:  One of Randy’s favorite desserts is apple crisp, especially with a big mound of vanilla ice cream.  This is an interesting variation and the ginger really gives it a unique flavor.