Thursday, October 2, 2014

In Praise of the Dutch Oven

Ranch cook, early 20th Century, cooking with two dutch ovens. This photo has appeared here before, on a t thread about the speed of cooking.

Dutch ovens are the greatest cooking implement of all time.  If a person had only one cooking implement, it would have to be a cast iron dutch oven.  They'll do everything.

Dutch oven being used as a frying pan, with green peppers, onions and venison, cooked on an outdoor gas range.  Seasoned with seasoning salt, a great easy meal

They make, for example, a great frying pan of the high walled variety, much like that high walled type of frying pan called a "chicken fryer".  Indeed, in the country of their origin, the Netherlands, a type of evolved dutch oven, the braadpan, is mostly used as a frying pan.

Potatoes with skin on, being fried in a dutch oven.

Dutch ovens also make a fine pie tin, and make for excellent pies, if you adjust your cooking time properly. And by properly, we mean double the time.

Clean dutch oven, about to be used as a pie tin.

Pie crust in dutch oven.

Apples in pie shell, prepared in accordance with the recipe found in Patrick McManus' book, Watchyougot Stew.  Bottle of Wyoming Whiskey in the background, for the secret ingrediant.
Secret ingredient being poured in, 1.5 shot   Why Wyoming Whiskey?  Well, nobody here likes bourbon and the secret recipe calls for whiskey. We've always used Irish whiskey, but as we had this, and nobody likes bourbon, we used it.
Pie crust on top of pie.

Three slices, because, as Mr. Nighlinger allows in the Cowboys, you need two for steam, and one "because your Momma did it that way."

Finished pie.

In some English speaking countries, dutch ovens are called casserole dishes, and they can be used for a similar purpose.  Here we have a cast iron enameled dutch oven used in that fashion for what we call an apple cobbler, but which is probably more correctly something else.

Bread bottom, prepared to the Bisquick shortbread recipe, but omitting the sugar.

Bread filling in bottom of pan.

Apple mixture on top of shortbread dough, made exactly to the same recipe as the pie filling.

Shortbread topping, covering apples.

Nearly fnished.

Finished cobbler.

Not surprisingly, they also make a great oven for cooking bread and biscuits, or in a campfire.

 Dutch oven biscuits.

Bread being placed in dutch oven. Sheepherders bread, which is a simple soda bread, is cooked in this fashion and is very good.


Rich said...

I'd have never thought of making a pie in a dutch oven.

I like to make cornbread in a dutch oven, just make sure you heat up the dutch oven (or iron skillet) before you pour your batter into it.

And, if you have a covered dutch oven you can make a halfway decent loaf of bread without a lot of work.

The basic recipe I use (I usually add some oil or fat) is at:

Jenny Bennett said...

My goodness, both the pie and the shortbread version look mouthwatering good. My mom taught me the virtues of a Dutch oven. Great topic!

Pat and Marcus said...

I always use a cast iron frying pan for corn bread.

When I do, I always use butter for the pan. I put it on the range, and turn it up just enough to melt a couple table spoons of butter, and poor the batter in on top. The ony exception is if I make a dish with ground meet and corn, and poor the cornbread batter over the top and bake it, which I do occasionally. In that case, I use the dutch oven.

Here too, I truly don't know why anyone would use anything other than a cast iron implement for corn bread.