A Dutch oven has a long history behind it and a very rich one. It was treasured in the 18th and 19th centuries that it became a prized inheritance and wills often state who inherits it. As a matter of fact, the mother of President George Washington, Mary Ball Washington, stated in her will that half of her “iron kitchen furniture” goes to her grandson and the other half to a granddaughter. Several Dutch ovens were among those given to her granddaughter.
The Dutch oven has been used for cooking for hundreds of years. It is a thick-walled cooking pot, usually made from cast iron, with a tight-fitting lid. Aside from the kitchen, the Dutch oven has also found its way as a great cooking vessel for camping.
Dutch immigrants to the United States had pioneered its use which then spread to other parts of the young country. It was a favourite to use for explorers because of its versatility and durability.
Over time and prolonged use, the design used in the American colonies began to transform from the original. The famous Dutch oven became shallower, and legs were thus added to hold it over the coals. Then a flange was also added to the lid to keep the coals on the lid and out of what’s cooking.
Dutch Oven on the Camp Fire
The camping, cowboy, or Dutch chuckwagon oven is designed for camping. It has three legs, a wire bail handle as well as a slightly curved in and rimmed cover. The design of the cover allows for the hot coals to be put on top of it as well as under the pot. Putting hot coals on the cover delivers a more uniform internal heat copying what an oven does.
Most Dutch ovens are made from bare cast iron, though there are others made from aluminium. They are best for long and slow cooking such as when you are cooking stews and casseroles as well as roasting. The old style lipped cast iron Dutch oven can even be used just like a true baking oven for bread, cakes, pizzas and even pies.
However, make sure that you clean your Dutch oven properly after each use. Clean with boiling water and brush using very little soap. After drying, spray a thin coating of oil to prevent it from rusting. Then store it in a dry and clean area with its lid slightly open to allow air circulation. With proper care and storage, a Dutch oven will continue to help you come up with mouth-watering dishes at the camp fire for decades.
Top 6 Dutch Oven Recipes To Get You Started
Chicken Pot Pie
- Two large chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
- Two large cans mixed vegetables (make sure it has potatoes)
- One can cream of chicken soup
- One can cream of mushroom soup
- One can of refrigerated biscuits
Mix the chicken, mixed vegetables including the liquid, and the cans of soups. Put the mixture in a Dutch oven and warm over coals, but do not boil. When warm, put the biscuits on top of the chicken and veggies mixture and cover. Place several coals on the cover. After 15 minutes, check it. Cook this for about 30 minutes or when the biscuits are cooked.
Chili Mac Dutch Oven Recipe
- 1 pound hamburger
- One medium onion, chopped
- Two cans of Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with chillies, do not drain
- 1 ½ cups elbow macaroni (or your pasta of choice)
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat the Dutch oven to about 350 degrees. Once it is hot enough, put in the hamburger and onion. Cook this uncovered while constantly stirring until the meat is well browned. Stir in the undrained cans of diced tomatoes with chillies, water and pasta. Bring this to a boil. After boiling, reduce heat to about 250 degrees, replace lid, and let simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender. Sprinkle cheese before serving.
Apple Dump Cake
- One sticks butter
- One 32-ounce jar applesauce
- 1 Betty Crocker gingerbread mix, mixed according to directions
- Cool whip or whipped cream
Melt butter in the Dutch oven. Dump in the applesauce. Mix the gingerbread mix according to package directions, then pour it on the butter-applesauce mixture and cover. Make sure that the Dutch oven is on top of hot coal and not flames. Check once in a while. Baking time is about 20 minutes and remove from the hot coals once the cake feels springy in the centre.
You can also replace applesauce with cherry pie filling and gingerbread mix with chocolate fudge cake mix for Black Forest Dump Cake.
Oven Fried Chicken
- Chicken pieces of your choice (boneless chicken breasts, wings, etc.)
- Cooking oil
- Salt, pepper, paprika
Heat oil in the hot Dutch oven. Meanwhile, mix Bisquick, salt, pepper, and paprika in a brown pepper bag. Put the chicken pieces inside and shake until well coated. Once the oil is hot enough, arrange chicken pieces and cook until done.
- 2 pounds sausages or kielbasa sausages
- One red bell pepper
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2/3 cup chopped celery
- 1 ½ cups water
- Two cans stewed tomatoes
- 4 tbsps olive oil
- ½ cup sliced green olives
- Two packages Spanish rice mix
- ¼ cayenne pepper
Cut the sausages into ½-inch thick and dice the bell pepper. Heat Dutch oven over coals and sauté pepper, onion, and celery in olive oil. Then combine all remaining ingredients in the Dutch oven, replace lid, and bring to a boil. After which, place the Dutch oven over low heat (about four coals) while placing 8 or so coals on the lid. Simmer until rice is cooked.
Burger, Beans and Biscuits
- 2 pounds lean hamburger
- Two 2-pound cans of baked beans
- 1 cup of your favourite BBQ sauce
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup mustard
- One small onion, chopped
- Bisquick mixes for 12 biscuits
Brown the hamburger in the Dutch oven. Stir in the baked beans, BBQ sauce, ketchup, mustard, and onion. Mix well and cover. Cook on low heat (about 275 degrees) for 10-15 minutes. While cooking, prepare Bisquick mix to make 12 biscuits. Check the Dutch oven and stir the burgers and beans. Completely cover the top of the mixture with the biscuits you prepared. Sprinkle cheese over this and replace the cover.
Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until the biscuits is done.
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