Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Dutch Oven Turkey

We did one of our Thanksgiving celebrations early this year.  My father came into town from Indiana, and since that doesn't happen very often, we decided to invite over my sister and her husband and call it a holiday.

The turkey I did was unique for two reasons.  One, I brined it the night before.  I've never done that before with a turkey, and I was really pleased with the results.  Two, it was a pretty large bird, and I cooked it in our 14" deep dutch oven.  I was initially skeptical that I would be able to do it.  Previously, I'd only done a 16 lb turkey in it, and I thought that was the maximum. 

The turkey did fit, but in order to be able to fit the lid on, I had to do CPR on the turkey and crunch it up a little.  That also meant I didn't stuff it.  That also meant that I didn't do any veggies around the turkey like I usually do.

The Brine

  • 1lb salt
  • 1lb brown sugar
  • lots of water

The night before, I made up this mix.  I started with some hot tap water (maybe a couple of quarts) and dissolved the salt and sugar.  I let that cool.  I put the thawed turkey into a big storage tub that I had cleaned really well, and poured cold water around it, ending with the salt/sugar water.  I also put in some ice, though that wasn't probably necessary.  I put that whole thing, with the lid on, in my garage.  It was supposed to be down in the 30's all night, so I was reasonably assured of its safety.

The next day, About 4-5 hours before dinner time, I started up some coals.  I mixed up an herbal rub, kinda like what I did that first year (see below), and basted that over the top of the bird.  I usually stick it all over with a knife to make holes in the skin for the baste to seep through. 

Then I put it on the coals, and roasted it for a very long time.  In roasting, I try to maintain an equal amount of heat from the bottom and the top.  The rest of the time was spent cooking the other dishes and maintaining the heat.

I like the extra zing that the the brining gave the turkey meat.  It really added to it.  It was a bit subtle, but it made a difference on my palate...

So, here's a reference list to the other times I've done a dutch oven turkey.  There are quite a few variations in the seasonings and the approach.  You tell me if you use any of them this Thanksgiving or Christmas, and let me know how it goes!

And here's some informative articles

And don't forget to make some stock and soup after its all done!

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: The Armor of God - Mormon Games, Making Money From a Blog,

Monday, November 9, 2009

Dutch Oven Baked Ziti (Penne)

A few weeks ago, as we were preparing for the dutch oven gathering, Brendon and I began searching for dishes to cook.  He and I had been watching America's Test Kitchen, and they had a recipe for a baked ziti pasta dish that you made in one skillet. 

Welllllll, then, we can do it in a dutch oven, right?  That was Brendon's choice. So, we figured out how to turn it into a dutch oven recipe of the highest caliber!

If you've watched the video in yesterday's entry, you saw Brendon working on it, and you saw the results. 

We made it again yesterday, but we did it in the regular oven, indoors.  So, this time, I'm going to give you a combination of the two recipes.  The changes we did for the indoor version, with the instructions for doing it as a dutch oven recipe.  The description is sort of a combination of what Brendon did both days.  I served primarily in an advisory role.  Really.

Dutch Oven Baked Ziti

12" dutch oven

15-20 coals below, then
8-10 coals below, and 18-22 above

  • 1 Tsp oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper  (We actually went more toward the 1 tsp...)
  • 1 lb ground meat (we used turkey)

  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 3 Cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 lb ziti pasta (we actually cheated and used penne)
  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 1 pint carton cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • liberal doses of basil, oregano, parsley
  • liberal dose of black pepper
  • 1 medium package of shredded mozarella

  • Feta, crumbled, for serving

First of all, Brendon got some coals going, and then chopped up the garlic and the onion.  While that was happening, the oil was getting hot in the dutch oven.  When he dropped in the onions and garlic, we could hear the sizzle, and smell the aroma!  The red peppers went in, too.  Those got sauteed.  When done, we added the meat to brown.

Once the meat had browned, Brendon opened up the can of tomatoes, and poured them in (you can see him doing that at the start of the video).  He added the other ingredients.  It looks like it will be really runny with all that water, but that and the tomato juice cooks the pasta.  And honestly, we wanted to be authentic and use ziti pasta, but the penne was just sitting there.  And I'll always pick up a penne...

Ok, sorry about that...

He closed the lid, and still using bottom heat, cooked the pasta for about 20 minutes, until it was "al dente".  It was yummy to taste test, too.  Just like it said on the show, cooking the pasta in the sauce does two things:  One, it infuses the pasta with the tomato and onion/garlic flavors, and Two, the starch from the pasta thickens the sauce just a little.  It's got this symbiotic thing goin' on...

Once the pasta was cooked, we pulled it off the coals.  Brendon added the ingredients of the third set, and stirred it, and then smothered it in mozarella.  At that point, we put it back on a ring of coals.  It wasn't that cold out, so we kept the bottom coals pretty few.  Remember that the ingredients are already cooked.  We want the cream to come up to temperature, and the herbs to spread the flavor, but mostly we want the mozarella to melt and brown.  So, that's why we went so heavy on top coals.

That baked for about another 20 minutes or so, just to get a good bronze goin' on the cheese.  Then he pulled it off, let it cool a bit, and served it with crumbled feta.  Yum, yum, yum...

...And I've gotta say, I'm proud of the little man for trying such a challenging dutch oven recipe and pulling it off so well. 

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.

Brendon Covers the DOG!

Here's the video that Brendon and I made of the Dutch Oven Gathering (DOG) this weekend! He did most of the videography and the narration, and I edited it.

His Baked Ziti was one of the biggest hits of the event! There was a lot of other great food there, too, including the BBQ ribs, and the Jambalalya! I'll have our recipes posted up over the next few days. In the meantime, enjoy the video!

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Friendship" Fish Soup in a Dutch Oven

I have some good friends across the street.  They're a young couple, and he's a techie and a graphic designer.  He's been working on a website that looks really great called absoluteblastcaps.com, and he's been asking me for some SEO help and advice.

Now, sometime last summer (or it might have been last spring), he went fishing and gave me some of the fish he'd caught.  He also made me some fish soup.  Man, it was delicious!  It was a mess to eat, though, because the fish was just cut up into chunks.  It was gutted and scaled, but not filleted.  So, you're eating the broth and the veggies with a spoon, an you're pulling the fish meat off the bones with your fingers, and it's a mess.  Really, if you eat this stuff, you'll want to be with good friends, because it's a mess.  Did I mention that?

So, because of that, and since it's his recipe and method, and since he gave me the fish, and since I invited him and his wife over to sample it tonight, I'm calling it "Friendship Fish Soup".

"Friendship" Fish Soup in a Dutch Oven

12" Dutch Oven
20-24 coals below

  • 4-6 cups water
  • 2-3 medium fish
  • 4-5 medium onions, sliced
  • 4-5 stalks celery, sliced
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 small-medium zuchinni, quartered and sliced
  • 4-5 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1-2 green peppers, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, cored, seeded, and sliced
  • Bay leaves
  • Basil
  • ~1/4 cup lemon juice, to taste
  • ~1 Tbsp Salt, to taste
  • Pepper to taste

This is really an easy dutch oven recipe to make.  You slice up the veggies, you cut up the fish, you put it on the coals and you cook it.

Like I said, earlier, he gave me the fish last spring, so I gutted, scaled, cleaned them and then froze them.  I just got them out in the early afternoon and let them thaw.  I cut off the tails, and then cut the fish into 4 2-inch chunks.  I put that in the dutch oven, bones, skin and all.  I put in all the other ingredients, and put it on the coals, covered with the lid. 

Really, you can do this with whatever veggies you've got on hand.  I went really heavy on the onions, because I like a soup that's got some good veggie substance to it.  Potatoes would have been another good one to add.  Noodles or rice would have also worked.  I like keeping the broth pretty clear, though, because you're gonna be sticking your fingers in it...

Every fifteen minutes or so, I'd check it and taste the broth.  Add salt, pepper, and the seasonings you like as you would.  I think I'd have added a bit more jalapeno, or only cored half the jalapeno I added, so there would've been a bit more heat.

I thought about going with some poultry stock to start with, instead of water, but I finally figured that we'd be making a great fish and veggie stock, so I just used water.

I really liked it.  My wife wasn't as enthused by it, and didn't like the idea of picking fish bones out of her soup, so she only had the veggies.  Still, we had a great time visiting with our friends, and I really like the recipe.  Every once in a while, I make something that I like, even though hardly anyone else will. 

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: LDS Music Connecting, Mormons and Digg.com,5 Years of SOHOMan

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dutch Oven Apple French Toast Dessert

So, last time, when I posted that I wanted to try out your dutch oven recipes, I got one from Reid Rust.  I've been a bit slow trying it out, but I did it tonight, and it was great!  Here's what Reid sent me:


I really enjoy your blog.  Thanks much!

Here’s a recipe for you. 

I kind of invented this one by combining cobbler and French toast recipes.  I call this one Apple French Toast Casserole.  It makes a great sweet breakfast or dessert.

2 large cans (or 3 regular) apple pie filling.
1 stick butter  (Squeeze Parkay makes this real easy while camping.)
1 cup brown sugar
2 granny smith apples diced.
1 loaf thickly sliced French bread.  Sourdough works well, too.
1 pint whipping cream
8 eggs
2 tbl spoons vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon

The night before….
Lay out French bread to dry.  This helps with absorbing the custard the next day.
Combine beaten eggs, whipping cream, vanilla, and cinnamon and let rest in refrigerator overnight so the custard mixture can age and set up. 


Lay out slices French bread in a baking pan and pour egg custard mixture over the bread.  Turn the bread slices to insure they are completely coated.  If you give it time, the bread will absorb all of the egg custard.  This is what you want.

In the dutch oven place ½ stick butter  diced across the bottom.  No need to melt, just spread it out.
Empty the cans of apply pie filling into the bottom of the dutch oven. 
Sprinkle ½ cup of the brown sugar over the apple pie filling.
Now begin layering the well soaked bread.  Between each layer spread a little of the diced apples, a sprinkling of brown sugar and a little diced butter.  Finish up the last layer with the remaining diced apple, butter, and brown sugar.  If there is any custard mixture left, you can pour it over the top for extra goodness.

Baked with 12 coals on the bottom and 12 coals on the top for 45 minutes.  After 45 minutes check to insure the egg custard (French toast) has set.   If additional cooking time is needed, reduce the number of coal on the lid to keep the top from burning.

Serve as is or with maple syrup or ice cream.
Reid Rust


Now, I did it pretty much just as Reid explained it, here.  I often like to tweak up recipes, and make them "my own".  This dutch oven recipe didn't need much tweaking.  I didn't let the bread or the egg mixture sit overnight, though.  I set it all up in the morning and cooked it at about 5:00 PM.  It still turned out great. 

By the way, even though it was a tasty dessert, I'm definintely NOT filing this one in the "Healthy Recipes" category!  Lots of sugar, here...  Lots of calories.  Still, it was yummmmy...

Thanks, Reid!

Mark has discovered a love of Dutch Oven Cooking. Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his MoBoy blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: 7 Years of LDS Pop Culture, A Home Business Twitter Primer, Some Old LDS Music Songs


Related Posts with Thumbnails