Dutch Oven Recipes
The Dutch Oven is very much a part of American history and folklore. Made from cast iron, they are strong, heavy and retain and distribute heat much better than most modern day cooking utensils. Ideal for long, slow cooking, our colonial forefathers would use them to simmer many of their meals in the fireplace, and, during the period of westward expansion, the pioneers would bury them in a bed of coals, leaving them to stew till later in the day.
Modern day Dutch Ovens are basically unchanged in design and manufacture. There are two types of American Dutch Ovens in modern day use; flat bottomed with a slightly rounded top, for use on the stove top and in the oven, and three legged flat topped, for outdoor use on a bed of charcoal or over a fire. The flat top of the three legged version, also known as a "Camp Oven" has a lip to hold charcoal easier than the round topped and can also be inverted and used as a griddle.
The South African "Potjiekos" are very similar to our three legged Dutch Ovens though they vary slightly by incorporating a rounded top with a lip and having curved, bulging sides (as opposed to the flat sided American version) and thus more resemble the "pot belly" image from folklore. Visit the Web Site of our great friends, 3 Men With Nothing Better to Do for very interesting historical information and outstanding Potjiekos recipes.
Slice potatoes 1/4 inch thin or less. Sprinkle with a small amount of garlic salt (the cheeses will provide a good amount of salt).
Saute onions (and any jalapeno peppers you may want to add) in 4 tablespoons margarine until soft. Blend in flour and make a light colored roux (add 2 more tablespoons margarine if roux is too thick). When roux is a light golden color add milk, bring to a light boil, and simmer until somewhat thickened.
Rub the inside of the 12 inch Dutch oven with more margarine. Mix in potatoes and cheeses then then sprinkle bread crumbs over the top.
Bake approximately 30-40 minutes using 10-12 coals under the Dutch Oven and approximately 25 coals on top. (approximately 400°F).
Don't even bother trying to knead the dough by hand! It works much better with a food processor or mixer. With metal blade in food processor, add all other dry ingredients to work bowl, turn on and slowly pour yeast mixture in through spout. Process for about 60 seconds. Dough should be only slightly sticky.
Put in a lightly greased bowl in a warm area and allow to rise 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Punch down and allow to rise again for about additional 30 minutes.
Lightly grease the Dutch Oven with olive oil then sprinkle the bottom lightly with corn meal. Roll the dough into a circle and cover the bottom of the Dutch Oven building up a lip around the edges to prevent any overflow or melting cheese to seep down the sides and under the dough. Spray the edges and dough lip with olive oil spray, this will help crisp and brown the exposed dough lip.
Now it's time to add your favorite toppings. Our current favorites are:
The latter two are added during the last five minutes, just enough to heat the mussels through and to melt the Cotija.
Using a 12 inch Dutch Oven place 6 briquettes underneath and approximately 20 briquettes on top (approximately 400° F) for 20-25 minutes. In a 8 inch Dutch Oven use 4 underneath and 12 on top.
Combine all spices and fry in oil or ghee (clarified butter) over a low fire (do not scorch). Mix with meat in Dutch Oven with approximately 8 briquettes underneath and 15 briquettes on top, cook for one hour. Add tomatoes or tomato sauce, lemon juice and green chilis. Adjust liquid with water and cook over low heat approximately one hour. During last 20 minutes add sliced mushrooms and cook until tender.
CHEATERS SHORTCUT: If you can't locate the right spices, use about 4 TBS of Curry Paste. Curry paste is basically the above spices roasted and preserved in oil. It won't be the same but it'll still be good in it's own way. NEVER use curry powder as it consists primarily of tumeric and does not have the depth of flavor found in curry paste.
Cut beef into approximate one inch cubes, sprinkle with Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning, put in non-reactive container or plastic bag and pour in wine. Allow to sit overnight.
When ready to start cooking light approximately 30 charcoal briquettes. In the Dutch Oven, on the stove or over a charcoal fire, saute onions in olive oil until limp then add garlic and saute for a while. Add remaining ingredients to the pot and place over 8 or 9 charcoal briquettes, place lid on top and cover with approximately 15 briquettes. Cook for 3 hours or longer, until beef is tender to the fork.
Mix 18 ounce box of yellow cake mix according to the box directions. Ignite charcoal briquettes. Line a 12 inch Dutch oven with heavy-duty aluminum foil (this will help you invert the cake when it is finished). When coals are ready, place 6 briquettes under the Dutch oven then melt butter and mix with brown sugar in foil lined Dutch oven. Place pineapple rings on bottom, mix crushed pineapple with cake mix and pour into Dutch oven. Gently mix the ingredients so that the pineapple rings stay on the bottom and some of the butter mixture is incorporated (you want at least half to stay on the bottom to caramelize). Place lid on the Dutch oven with 6 briquettes underneath and 15 briquettes on top. Cook for 35-40 minutes, rotating the oven and lid 1/4 turns in opposite directions at 10 minute intervals. When finished, remove from coals and allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Then carefully remove cake, in foil liner, place plate on top and invert. When you remove the foil you should have a wonderfully caramelized top with browned pineapple rings.
NOTE: For cooking times over an hour additional charcoal may be necessary. Either have another batch ready to go after about an hour and a half or, at about an hour, place unlit briquettes next to those on and under the oven to ignite them.
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