There are several tools you will need to begin cooking in your Dutch oven.
- Lid lifter and/or long-handled tongue and groove pliers
- 16” or longer tongs
- Charcoal chimney starter (optional but almost a must-have)
- Newspaper and/or lighter fluid
- Long handled spoon
- Vegetable oil and applying clothes or paper towels
- Bricks for lid cooking
When cooking in your Dutch oven it must be on a flat surface clear of dried weeds, grass, etc. This is where a Dutch oven table is nice but not necessary. An inexpensive item to cook on is a 12” square concrete stepping stone. Get two so you have one for the charcoal chimney. After the briquettes are hot, what comes next? You will need to place the hot coals (they are ready to use when they have a white ash on part of them) evenly spaced around in a circle the size of the Dutch oven. Place the top coals evenly spaced on the lid. Use the tongs to do this.
Each recipe tells you how many briquettes to use. The basic rule is this. If it is a 10” oven, use 20 coals, 12” oven use 24 coals, etc. Just double the diameter of your oven and that is the amount of coals you will need to cook with. This equals about 350 degrees. For a cooler oven (like with granola) use less, for a hotter oven (like with rolls) use more. When baking you need twice as many coals on the top as you have on the bottom. This is because heat rises, therefore more heat is needed on the top.
With your Dutch oven you can fry, bake, boil, or use the lid as a griddle. Anything you cook in your kitchen oven or on the stove top, you can cook with a Dutch oven!
I would like to share our story about how we came up with recipes using only food storage items. My husband Archie decided we needed to write a book about cooking food storage in Dutch ovens. We had cooked many different foods in Dutch ovens: biscuits and gravy, upside-down cakes, cobblers, chicken with rice, beef stew, rolls, and even Chicken Cordon Bleu. But we didn’t have any recipes using just dried and canned food, since that is what we had stored. In an emergency there would probably be no fresh meats, no fresh vegetables or fruit, no fresh milk products, and no frozen microwave meals if the power was out and we could not get food from the store.
We were pretty good at Dutch oven cooking, but I had never used just food storage items to cook with, and had never even thought of cooking food storage in Dutch ovens.
That is when I got to work. I wanted to have recipes that we were used to, so I got out some of my favorite recipes and modified them to use only food storage items. Here are some very basic recipes to get you started. I hope you like them!
10” or larger Dutch oven, 8 or 9 inch round or square pan; serves 9
24 – 26 briquettes; 10 on bottom, 14- 16 on top; pre-heat 5 minutes; bake 30 minutes
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vinegar (white or apple cider)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup water
1/3 cup oil
Stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix the vinegar, vanilla and water together and then add to the dry ingredients. Add the oil and mix well until smooth and creamy, about one minute. Grease and flour pan, pour batter in pan. Place pan on foil ring and cook around 30 minutes. (check after 20 minutes). Cake is done when it has pulled away from sides of pan.
Use white flour in place of whole wheat
Use melted butter in place of oil. Dust top of cooked cake with powdered sugar
24 briquettes: 8 on bottom, 16 on top; cook 1 hour
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole wheat flour
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1 cup dried bananas, broken into very small pieces, soaked until tender, and drained
½ cup oil
¼ cup reconstituted powdered milk
1 tsp. vanilla
Lightly grease loaf pan. Mix dry ingredients (first 5) together. Cream together remaining ingredients, then add wet ingredients to dry. Mix well. Pour batter into pan. Bake on foil ring for 1 hour. Check for doneness. Cook until done (bread has pulled slightly away from sides). Do not add more briquets.
Replace whole wheat flour with white flour
Replace oil with butter or butter flavored shortening. Replace ½ of sugar with brown sugar. Add walnuts.
Note: You might say, “Banana Bread out of dried bananas?” Yes, this works really well. It is better the next day too, since the banana flavor has had time to permeate the whole loaf. Enjoy this one!
One of my favorites on a cold day is Chicken Noodle soup. Here is my version:
Chicken Noodle Soup
10” or larger Dutch oven; serves 6
20-25 briquettes, all on bottom; cook 30 – 40 minutes
5 cups water
2 cups egg noodles
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. dried onion
3 chicken bouillon cubes
1-3 Tbsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
Bring 5 cups of water to boil over all the briquets in your Dutch oven. Add all ingredients, making sure chicken is broken up into pieces. When soup boils again remove half of coals and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until noodles are tender.
Add 1 tsp. celery powder or 1 Tbsp. dried celery
1 Tbsp. dried carrots
1 can chicken, liquid too
Note: This soup has lots of noodles. If you like more broth, just cut back on the noodles or add more water and bouillon. Enjoy this with a slice of whole-wheat bread.
For more information and to order Archie and Linda’s book, visit their website, Just Dutch It.
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