It probably comes as no surprise to any of you that I love to dutch oven in the summertime.
I have this perfect rusted out portable fire pit that makes the perfect dutch oven cooking spot in my backyard.
It’s even MORE fun to dutch oven out in the wilderness.
Well… sometimes. One time I signed myself up to be the head chef, sous chef and cook for an elk hunting party up high in the Uinta Mountains for EIGHT DAYS.
It actually worked out pretty well. Until I was the only one in camp, cooking stew for the hunting party when they arrived. After dark. With coyotes howling in the (not so far) distance. In bear country.
It’s cool, though. I had a dog with me. She was ferocious. She could have totally like, bitten the head off of a lizard or squirrel or something. A small squirrel. Okay. A chipmunk.
Good ol’ Roxy. She would have gone to the depths of Hell to protect me from those chipmunks. Too bad the critters I worried about were a couple hundred pounds larger than that.
As you can see we all survived and I didn’t even have to fight off a bear Revenant style.
Good thing, too because then you wouldn’t have this recipe today!
If you have never even attempted to dutch oven, it really is super fun! There are a few tricks of the trade, and some specialized equipment for it, but once you’re set up you can make pretty much anything in these bad boys.
These are all the supplies I use when I dutch oven:
A cast iron dutch oven (obviously)
A bag of charcoal briquettes (I usually just buy the cheapest bag from Walmart. I can get a big bag for around $6)
My camp chef & propane attached
A charcoal chimney starter (I got mine from Cal Ranch for about $10 ish)
A pair of tongs
Heavy duty dutch oven gloves
A lid lifter
A muffin tin (to rest the lid on when you have to take it off)
Others might add lighter fluid to the list, but I have found it unnecessary when I use my portable camp chef.
Next time I dutch oven I’ll be sure to take some pictures of the process, but for now I’m just going to have to try to explain it all to you. There are many different kinds of dutch ovens, but the ones I am referring to in this post are made of cast iron, are shallow as opposed to deep and have three little legs sticking out the bottom. These dutch ovens are most commonly used for outdoor cooking.
FIRST AND FOREMOST: before we even begin the actual cooking process, you need to make sure you dutch oven is seasoned. Check out this article: http://www.wikihow.com/Season-a-Dutch-Oven for a step by step process. Mostly because I don’t want to type it all out ;). When seasoned and cared for properly after each use, the dutch oven will eventually become non-stick.
NOW ON TO THE FUN STUFF!
My first step is to mix up whatever ingredients I will be putting in my dutch oven. In this instance, it is this gorgeous beautiful delicious summery cobbler. I line my dutch oven with aluminum foil (this cobbler can be sticky!) before pouring the fruit and cobbler topping into the dutch oven.
Next I head outside with my lighter, chimney starter, and bag of briquettes and determine how many briquettes I need to light.
To determine the number of briquettes, you need to know the size of your dutch oven and what temperature your food needs to be cooked at. Some recipes will tell you how many briquettes need to be placed underneath the oven and how many need to be placed on the lid, but many things like wind and cooler weather can effect the actual temperature so it’s nice to have a good rule of thumb and adjust for whatever conditions you might be cooking in. As a rule of thumb for myself, I take the size of my dutch oven, times it by 2 and place 2/3 of the briquettes on the lid and the remainder on the bottom to reach an oven temperature of 350° F. So, when I’m baking in my 12 inch dutch oven I end up with: 12 x 2 = 24 briquettes. 2/3 of 24 is 16. 16 briquettes go on the lid and the remaining 8 briquettes go underneath.
For a 10 inch dutch oven: 10 x 2 = 20. 2/3 of 20 = 13. The remaining 7 go on underneath.
For a 14 inch dutch oven: 14 x 2 = 28. 2/3 of 28 = 19. The remaining 9 go underneath.
So on and so forth. Betcha didn’t know you had to be a genius to dutch oven.
To light 24 briquettes for my 12 inch dutch oven, I pour 24 of them directly into the charcoal chimney starter. I place the filled chimney starter on my camp chef and light my camp chef using my lighter. Turn the heat up high and after a couple of minutes you will see your briquettes starting to turn grey instead of black. That’s a good indication that they have been “activated” and can be used to heat your dutch oven.
I carefully (I mean, these things are on fire ya know) place 8 briquettes on a flat surface evenly spaced out approximately the same circumference as my dutch oven with 3 or 4 in the middle of the circle. Then I put my dutch oven on top of the 8 briquettes and (CAREFULLY!) pour the remaining 16 briquettes onto the lid of my oven.
Then you wait. Once you start being able to smell your cobbler, it is almost done. Then your neighbors are going to be banging your door down for some cobbler and you get an instant party.
Unless you hate your neighbors. In that case you can just torture them with the smell and not invite them over.
Make sure to use your broom to brush off any ash that has accumulated on the lid before lifting it. Ash in your food really isn’t that appetizing. I mean… not a deal breaker. But you know…
When it’s time to take the lid off, use your lid lifter (because the handle on these things will be blazing hot!) and set the lid down on a muffin tin that is flipped upside down. It’s just nice and more hygienic to not have to set your lid down on the gross ground.
If this is your first attempt at making anything in your Dutch Oven, this cobbler is a fantastic place to start! Cobblers can be very forgiving, and this one is tasty as all get out.
- For use in a shallow 12 inch Dutch oven. For deeper dutch ovens, double the fruit mixture but keep the topping the same.
- 2-2 1/2 pounds fresh peaches, peeled and cut into eighths.
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, washed hulled and quartered
- 2 cups fresh blueberries, washed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup corn meal (either coarse or fine)
- 1/4 cup dry milk powder
- 4 Tablespoons sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 1/2 cups cold water or milk (omit dry milk powder if using fresh milk)
- Place all of your cut up fruit in to a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and salt and sprinkle over top of the fruit. Mix together with a large spoon or spatula and let sit until the juices have released from the fruit.
- Add flour, corn meal, dry milk powder (if planning to use water - can also omit and use milk later), sugar, baking powder and salt to a large bowl and whisk until combined.
- Drop the pats of cold butter onto the mixture and using a pastry cutter or your hands cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add cold water (or milk if you didn't use milk powder) and whisk until combined.
- Pour fruit mixture into an aluminum lined dutch oven. Pour topping over fruit mixture until fruit is all almost completely covered. Replace lid on dutch oven and use 16 coals on top and 8 underneath. Bake for about 30 minutes until the juices from the fruit are bubbling and the top is a light golden brown.
- Serve warm with whipped cream
Believe it or not, cobblers are NOT photogenic AT ALL. Kind of like me in Jr. High.
You like what you see? Here are some other recipes you might enjoy!