Picking and Choosing-part two

By Keith Fisher

You will remember last time, when we started our discussion about choosing the right Dutch oven for you. I started writing the second half today, and discovered I had 1100 words. I decided you'd probably fall asleep reading it, so I think I'll change my plans. Will it be okay if we split the subject up into brief reviews of each manufacturer, and talk about materials in another blog? We learned how to choose quality last time, but remember you get what you pay for.

Did you get a chance to go to the store and look at Dutch ovens? Did you check out the ringing sound cast iron makes? Interesting isn’t it? Keep in mind that with some types of Dutch ovens you won’t be able to perform that test. It works on what we call a camp oven, because a camp oven has a bail. What is a camp oven? Read on . . .

First off, the term Dutch oven is relative. Many types of heavy pots can lovingly be called a Dutch oven. Some are cast iron with an enamel coating, and some are made of clay. Many of them can be used in camp but for purposes of clarity, the camp oven is what most camp cooks talk about.

By definition, the camp oven is a cast metal pot with a bail, a flanged lid, and three or more legs attached to the bottom. The legs keep the pot off the coals. The bail is for pouring from the pot and for ease in carrying it. The flanged lid is useful to keep coals from sliding off.

Now, as I said above, there are many types of ovens that can be used in camping. Any pot (or pan for that matter) can be used on a fire. It can be held off the coals by employing a spider, or trivet—basically, portable legs of some kind. Three rocks can work, but it’s unstable and I wouldn’t recommend it. A makeshift flange can be fashioned from tinfoil around the edge of the lid and the bail can be replaced with a pair of hot-pads, or a good pair of leather gloves.

There are many types of camp ovens on the market, and many hand-made varieties. Over the next few months we’ll talk about a few. But for now, here’s a cool recipe for you.

Beef Enchiladas
14-inch, 12-inch, Dutch ovens

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef

  • 1 medium white onion

  • 1 1/2 pkgs flour tortillas

  • 1 1/2 pkgs taco seasoning

  • 2 large cans enchilada sauce

  • Shredded cheese

Dice onion. In 12-inch Dutch oven over bottom heat only, brown hamburger and onions. Set aside and keep warm. Invert a 14-inch Dutch oven lid and place on a trivet over 25-30 hot coals and heat tortillas one at a time both sides. When heated put meat mixture, and a little cheese on the tortilla. Then fold the ends in and using your little finger, keep the ends tucked while rolling the tortilla. Place rolled tortilla into the 14-inch Dutch oven that has a thin layer of sauce covering the bottom. Roll the enchilada in the sauce and place against one edge of the oven. Continue this process until oven is filled. Pour the rest of the sauce and meat over all and cover with cheese. Put the lid on the oven and bake with 10 coals on the bottom and 18 coals on top until the contents bubble and the cheese is melted.

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Nichole Giles said...

Holy Moley, that looks so yummy Keith! I'm going to try that recipe.

You always have the best ideas. By the way, jump on over to my blog at www.nicholegiles.blogspot.com. You've been tagged.


Shirley Bahlmann said...

Ooo, I want to try your recipe, but I want you to cook it for me!