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Stirrin' the Pot / Re: Traveling with Dutch Ovens
« Last post by DeShawn on June 13, 2016, 09:52:34 PM »
Good grief! I forgot to post that a couple of years ago, I took a dutch oven on a multi-day canoe trip down the Green River in Utah. We were who-knows-how-far from civilization, and yet we were feasting like kings. A hearty meal from a black pot tastes better and better the farther you get from the daily rat race.
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Desserts / Death By Chocolate
« Last post by DeShawn on June 13, 2016, 09:47:57 PM »
Wow. This is my new favorite chocolate dessert in a dutch oven. It rich, decadent, and pretty easy to put together. I modified the recipe a little bit--the original recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of instant coffee granules and a dash of cayenne pepper. I don't use coffee, so I omitted that, and I forgot the cayenne. Even without those two ingredients, this was killer.

The best part is the nice crunch of the heath bar on top. Gooey, chocolaty with a caramel-toffee crunch on top? Yes please!

Ingredients
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix.
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 small (3.9 oz) box chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 jar (12-oz) hot fudge ice cream topping
  • 6 full-sized Heath bars, crushed

Preparation
Mix together the cake mix, oil, eggs, and water. Stir in the instant pudding mix, half of the chocolate chips, and the crushed pecans.

Pour into a greased 12-inch dutch oven. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the top of the unbaked mix. Cover and bake with 10 briquettes bottom heat and 14 briquettes top heat for 40 minutes or until the cake is set and springs back when touched lightly. Rotate the oven and lid 90 degrees in opposite directions every 10-15 minutes.

Remove the lid and let the cake cool for 5 minutes. While the cake is cooling, heat the hot fudge sauce until the sauce is runny. Poke holes in the top of the cake with chopsticks or with the back of a wooden spoon. Pour the hot fudge sauce onto the cake and spread it evenly. Sprinkle with the crushed Heath bars.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Serves 10.
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Desserts / Caramel Cobbler
« Last post by DeShawn on May 20, 2016, 11:28:02 PM »
This recipe is a little bit different. Many thanks to my friend, Lynette, who gave me the recipe that they call "Sunday Pudding" in her home. It's a recipe that translated easily to dutch oven cooking, and honestly, tastes a bit like a caramel cobbler. But it's unique enough that you really should try it! If you're like me, you'll have found a new comfort food.

I wanted to make sure I was cooking the right amount in a 12-inch dutch oven, because the recipe is made in a 9 x 13 pan. I figured I'd get a rough idea if I just calculated the number of square inches in each. 9 x 13 = 117 square inches. pi x 6" squared is approximately 113 square inches, a difference of only about 3.5%. So for all intents and purposes, a 12-inch dutch oven and a 9 x 13 pan are equivalent!

Ingredients
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 heaping teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup cold water

Preparation
Place a 12-inch dutch oven over a full spread of briquettes. Add the first three ingredients and bring to a boil. This will be a very thin, watery mixture.

Meanwhile, mix together the rest of the ingredients. Drop by spoonfuls evenly over the boiling mixture. It should cover most of the area of the dutch oven.

Cover and bake with 10 briquettes bottom heat and 16-18 briquettes top heat for 30-45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the syrup is reduced and bubbly.

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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Main Dishes / Cheesy Green Chile Chicken and Rice
« Last post by DeShawn on May 20, 2016, 11:13:08 PM »
Finally... FINALLY a new recipe! I made this today for another team activity. This one is EASY, and has great flavor. For quicker preparation, skip the step of browning the chicken and simply nestle the raw chicken pieces into the dutch oven when the recipe says to nestle the chicken pieces back into the dutch oven.

A note about poblano peppers--these are often mis-labeled as pasilla peppers here in Utah, and I hear it's the same in many places in the western United States. It's a mild, dark green pepper that has a LOT of flavor. Wikipedia has a little more information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasilla

Ingredients
  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, each cut into 3 or 4 pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 3-4 poblano peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 18-oz can green chile enchilada sauce or salsa verde
  • 2 1/4 cups long grain rice
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cliantro
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 8-oz package Mexican 3-cheese blend

Preparation
Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch dutch oven over a full spread of briquettes. Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the dutch oven and cook until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes per side. Don't over-crowd the dutch oven. You will likely have to do this in 2 batches. The chicken will not be cooked all the way through, it will just need to get some color. Remove the chicken from the dutch oven and set aside.

Add the onion and poblano pepper and saute until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute another minute. Add the cumin, enchilada sauce, chicken broth and rice.

Bring to a boil, then nestle the chicken back in the dutch oven. Cover and bake with 10 briquettes bottom heat and 16-18 briquettes top heat from 70-80 minutes or until the rice is tender. Stir in the chopped cilantro and spinach and season with additional salt to taste. Add the cheese, cover, and bake until the cheese is bubbly.
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Desserts / Country Apple Dumplings
« Last post by DeShawn on November 11, 2014, 09:56:24 AM »
Hal Shearer contributed this recipe. He made it on Halloween for us at work. We didn't know if we should call these Apple Dewmplings or Mountain Dewmplings or what. This is simple and quite good.

Ingredients
  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
  • 2 10-oz cans refrigerated crescent roll dough
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 12 fluid ounces Mountain Dew

Preparation
Cut each apple into 8 wedges and set aside. Separate the crescent roll dough into triangles. Roll each apple wedge in crescent roll dough starting at the smallest end. Pinch to seal and place in a 12-inch dutch oven.
Melt the butter and stir in the sugar and cinnamon. Pour over the apple dumplings. Pour Mountain Dew over the dumplings.
Bake with 10 briquettes bottom heat and 14-16 briquettes top heat for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown.

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Desserts / Turtle Cake
« Last post by DeShawn on November 07, 2014, 11:08:37 PM »
This is a great way to dress up a chocolate cake mix. It's rich moist, and delicious.

Ingredients
  • 1 18.25-ounce German Chocolate Cake Mix,
  • 14 oz individually-wrapped caramels
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 1-oz squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk

Preparation
Prepare the cake mix according to the package directions. Pour a little less than half of the prepared cake mix into a well-oiled 12-inch dutch oven. Bake with 6-7 briquettes bottom heat and 14 briquettes top heat for about 15 minutes or until the top of the cake appears to be set.

While the cake is baking, stack a 10-inch dutch oven on top of the 12-inch oven. Add the caramels, evaporated milk, and 3/4 cup butter and stir until the caramels are melted and the mixture is well-blended.

Remove the 12-inch dutch oven from the heat and remove the lid from the 12-inch oven, retaining the briquettes in place on the lid. Sprinkle the chocolate chips and chopped pecans over the top of the cake. Pour the caramel mixture from the 10-inch dutch oven over the pecans and chocolate chips. Spread the remaining cake mix over the top of the caramel mixture. Place the lid back on the 12-inch dutch oven and continue baking for 20 minutes or until the cake is fully baked and springs back when lightly touched. Remove the oven from the heat and let cool with the lid off (or ajar if you're outdoors) while preparing the frosting.

To make the frosting, wipe the 10-inch oven clean with a paper towel. Place over a few briquettes and add the 2 Tablespoons butter and the unsweetened chocolate.  Stir until they are melted. Remove from the heat and add the corn syrup, vanilla, confectioner's sugar and milk. Mix until smooth.
Frost the top of the cake with the frosting and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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Stirrin' the Pot / New York Times on Briquettes
« Last post by DeShawn on September 29, 2014, 07:30:23 AM »
It's a good read.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/magazine/who-made-that-charcoal-briquette.html?_r=0

I had always thought Henry Ford had invented charcoal briquettes, but apparently, he got the idea from the inventor, a scientist at the University of Oregon.
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Stirrin' the Pot / DeShawn DOG
« Last post by DeShawn on September 21, 2014, 12:12:14 PM »
Yesterday was fun. I invited four other cast iron cooks to join me in the first ever DeShawn DOG. It will happen again. I'm keeping them small and low-key for now. Maybe I'll get brave enough to invite more participants in the future. Two of the cooks couldn't come, so we ended up with three of us who cooked five dishes, and all of them turned out very well.

Additionally, I re-seasoned my 12-inch deep dutch oven, which now has a deep black patina that is better than the one it had when I pulled it out of the box. l love seasoning cast iron on my grill outdoors. It works great and it doesn't smell up the whole house!
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Tips and Tricks / Re: Cleaning a Dutch Oven
« Last post by DeShawn on September 21, 2014, 12:05:47 PM »
I'm pretty sure that I've been leaving too much oil on my ovens when I put them away. Not a LOT too much, but too much nonetheless.

This year, I have acquired two new Lodge cast iron skillets, and I'm been having a ball cooking with them indoors. We didn't have anywhere to store these two new pieces of "cast iron furniture" as Mary Ball Washington called them. I bought an Enclume rack (http://www.enclume.com/ProductCatalog/tabid/106/ProdID/34/Default.aspx)  to hang them on and I installed it in my pantry high above the door. It was wasted space anyway.

Then my wife noticed a drip or two on the pantry floor. Since then, when re-seasoning my cast iron skillets for storage, I'll clean them, wipe them with vegetable oil, and then I'll use dray paper towels to wipe off as much oil as I can. I've noticed that the seasoning on my skillets is becoming harder and smoother--a definite sign that I'm doing something right.

I believe that by leaving a tiny bit too much oil on my dutch ovens, I'm not encouraging this same harder, smoother patina to form. I'm not leaving enough oil to pool, but my ovens are a bit too shiny, and sometimes, had I not left a paper towel in the bottom of the oven, oil might have pooled. So recently, I've been doing the same thing to my dutch ovens that I have with my skillets, and I believe it's made a difference.
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Main Dishes / Beef and Bean Chili
« Last post by DeShawn on September 19, 2014, 10:27:44 AM »
Another chili recipe for your fall tailgating pleasure.

Ingredients
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 lbs stew beef, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 16-oz cans hot chili beans
  • 2 16-oz cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 16-oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 6-oz can Italian seasoned tomato paste
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp crushed oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Preparation
Preheat olive oil in a 12-inch dutch oven over a full spread of briquettes until it shimmers. Add half of the stew meat and sear until it is dark brown on all sides. Remove and brown the other half of the stew meat. Remove some of the briquettes if the oven is running too hot.

Return all of the meat to the oven and add the diced onion. Cook and stir until the onion begins to be translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients to the dutch oven and stir well.

Cover and simmer with 5-6 briquettes bottom heat and 8-10 briquettes top heat for 3-4 hours, refreshing briquettes every hour.

Serve with sour cream, grated cheese, freshly chopped onions, and any other desired toppings.
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