Roses in Forest Grove, Oregon

Roses in Forest Grove, Oregon

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Time to cook!

One last thing you WILL need for your Dutch Oven cooking is actually VERY important...

You are going to need an ash bucket and scoop! While shopping at Sportsman's Warehouse, I found a metal scoop, or shovel (small sized) but didn't find a metal ash bucket. Both MUST be metal! The "spent" charcoal you take away from your oven (replacing it with fresh hot charcoal) will still be hot and will melt right through plastic.

OK so... here's the first recipe I made. It's from a book called 101 things to do with a Dutch Oven. I have added a couple of personal notes at the end of the recipe)

White Chili

Dutch Oven size: 12-inch

1 pound dry white beans
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 medium onion, diced
4 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
2 tablespoons salt
8 to 10 cups water (plus enough to cover the beans)
2 cans (6.5 oz each) chunk chicken
2 cans (4 oz each) diced green chiles
1 container (16oz) sour cream

Rinse beans, cover with water and set aside. Melt butter in dutch oven using 10 coals on the bottom. Add onion and cook until translucent. Drain beans and add to onion with bouillon, salt and 8 cups water. Cover and cook 2-3 hours, or until beans are tender, using 30-40 coals on the bottom only. Add chicken and chiles and cook 30 minutes more. Add sour cream and simmer until serving time. Check water level often and add more water as needed. Remove enough coals to achieve simmer. Makes 12-14 servings.

NOTES:  I was a bit intimidated to use dry beans, and I actually put them to soak a couple of hours before cooking time. They could have been a bit more tender, but for my first time it turned out pretty good! I also found it odd that coals were only used on the bottom, but the recipe only needed to simmer, and coals aren't needed on the top for that. I put too much water in, so mine was more of a soup than a chile. I think next time I'll start with 7-8 cups and keep an eye on the water level.

Next time... I'll post a new recipe I'm cooking this week!

If you want to join other Dutch Oven cookers, look for a group in your area! Mine is called
Central Oregon Dutch Oven Society.  There may be a small yearly cost for you to join in your area.  The CODOS fee is minimal, and it covers all the charcoal needed for our monthly D.O.G. That stands for Dutch Oven Gathering. DOGS are fun to attend, as you get to socialize with other enthusiasts, as well as eat wonderful foods prepared the "old fashioned" way! I encourage you to find a group, club, or what ever it's called in your area! Many members are very willing to share their recipes. The recipe  I'm making this week is from a CODOS member and it sounds perfect for our Church summer camp fire night!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Well howdy!

Today we'll discuss cast iron care.  Taking good care of your cast iron will ensure you have it around for MANY years.

Most cast iron products come "pre-seasoned" from the factory. This means it's not "really" necessary to season it before you start cooking in it.

What I'm about to tell you is steps to maintain the seasoning, and keeping your cast iron in good shape.

After you've used your cast iron for cooking...

LET IT COOL DOWN! Wipe any food remnants out of the pot/pan. If there is food stuck on, DO NOT... I repeat... DO NOT use anything like steel wool to scrub. You can purchase plastic scrapers, OR you can sprinkle salt in the pan to act as an abrasive to get the stuck food off. Use really warm water to wash the cast iron

Next, let it dry. Thoroughly. There are several things people use to "condition" the cast iron after it's been washed. Some use Pam or some brand of spray. Both Lodge and Camp Chef sell a conditioner. Some use crisco, or liquid vegetable oil.  I use either crisco or a spray. This basically "coats" the cast iron and keeps the nice black color. I do this after EVERY use, inside and out.

If the Cast Iron becomes dull looking, wash and dry it, and put a thicker coat of whatever you condition it with. THEN... place in in your home oven at 400 degrees. BE AWARE that the cast iron will smoke as the seasoning "bakes in" to the cast iron. I haven't had to do this yet, but I've read that around 45 min. is good. Open windows, turn on your over the stove fan. CAREFULLY remove from oven and allow to completely cool.

Store your cast iron in a dry, clean area, (don't forget to condition it first) It will be ready for use next time you are ready to cook in it!

Avoid locations that have a wide fluctuation in temperatures.

Next time... we'll start cooking!