Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Fun Dutch Oven Demo!

Tonight, Brendon and I did a demo for our ward's Relief Society Enrichment Night. If you don't know what that is, then you're probably not Mormon and it doesn't really matter. Suffice it to say it's the women's organization of the church. And they asked me to come demonstrate Dutch Oven cooking. I did my old standby of chicken, onions, and potatoes.

I asked if Brendon could come along, and he did. So, we did a short 20 minute demo where we poured all the ingredients into a 12" deep dutch oven while we joked back and forth, and then while the ladies went to some other classes, we put it on the coals to cook. After the evening was done, they all came back and sampled.

I prepared a handout with the recipe and instructions, which I just thought I'd include here:

Dutch Oven Potatoes and Chicken

This is one of the most flexible meals you could ever cook. The ingredients can adjust to whatever you have on hand, and that can include the spices and flavorings. You can prepare it in stages or you can do it as a “dump meal”, where you just dump everything in the dutch oven and cook it. It's kinda like a good jazz tune. It comes out different every time I cook it.

Today, we're going herbal, and we're going to make it simple. The recipe here is made for about 4-6 people, and can be done in a standard 12” dutch Oven

Basic Meats and Veggies:

  • A few tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2-3 medium to large onions, sliced
  • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3-4 potatoes, quartered and sliced
  • 2-3 carrots, sliced
  • 3-4 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 2-3 sweet peppers, sliced
  • About a half pound of bacon, cooked crispy

Flavorings (herbal-style):

  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
  • Liberal shakes of:
    • Parsley
    • Rosemary
    • Oregano
  • A few shakes (about a teaspoon or so) balsamic vinegar.
  • And, of course, salt and pepper


Start by lighting about 25-30 coals. While those are getting glowing and hot, you can slice up your ingredients. Put everything into the dutch oven, and put on the lid. Make a ring of about 8-10 coals and set the dutch oven on top. Put about 16-18 coals on top. Leave a few coals aside. After about 10-15 minutes, put about ten or so fresh coals on those. They'll get lit, and by the time the coals on the dutch oven have burned down, they'll be ready to be replenished. Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so, until the chicken and the veggies are done.

Here are a few other suggestions for flavoring combinations:

Some Like it Hot

  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, sliced. If you don't like it really hot, you can seed and core them first, or use less
  • A few shakes of cayenne pepper, chili powder, or Louisiana-style hot sauce (tabasco)
  • A few shakes of paprika
  • About ½ of fresh chopped cilantro
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • And, of course, salt and pepper

Or, just pour in your favorite salsa

Springtime Lemon

  • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup fresh chopped parsley
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1-2 lemons
  • And, of course, salt and pepper

Kick it Up a Notch

Some suggestions: Cook the bacon in the dutch oven over 15-20 coals, then remove most of the grease. Sauté the onions and garlic first in the bacon grease, until they're translucent and sweet. Then add the remaining ingredients, and cook as above.

After you take the dutch oven off the coals, but a few minutes before serving, coat the food with a layer of appropriate shredded cheese. Let the dutch oven's residual heat melt it. For the herbal flavorings, I'd choose a mozarella. For the hot version, cheddar or colby jack. With the lemon style, I'd crumble up a handful of feta onto the plate as it's being served.


  1. Mark, I'm a novice dutch oven "chief", and have a question about your procedure. In your description, you say "After about 10-15 minutes, put about ten or so fresh coals on those." In practice, how do you do this? What pattern are you using for the initial set of coals? Are they in a tight bunch around the rim, so that the new coals will just sit on top of the old ones?

  2. Sorry, that does need clarification. These are not coals that are on the oven, but extras that are set aside. They keep burning, and then you stack more fresh coals on top of them. The old coals light the new coals, which you use to replenish the ones on and under the oven.

  3. Wow! So it was you that I expounded my theory on Sour Dough Bread to as you and your son were busy kneading your respective doughs. Guess you have better luck than I do with sour dough without adding yeast. I did taste your sour dough and it was great. Didn't get back in time to taste your son's pizza. Nor did I get there for any chicken soup. I got caught up in the auction and spent more than I thought I should.

  4. I just got the dutch oven itch on a camping trip. I wanted a basic chicken and potatoes recipe and so I want to cook this. I'm planning on just doing it in my back yard though. I can't wait to try more of your recipes.

  5. I made this basic chicken and potato recipe and my family could NOT believe how wonderful it was! As a newbie, I certainly appreciate your recipes and blog!



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