Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Newest Dutch Oven Challenge

A few weeks ago, I posted up a new Dutch Oven challenge for Andy, and anyone else that wanted to join in.  The ingredients for this one were:

  • Meat: Beef
  • Veggie/fruit: Leeks/scallions/green onions
  • Spice: Cinnamon

So, last weekend, I undertook the challenge.  The process confused me, and in many ways, until I actually did it, I wasn't sure what I was going to do.  In my mind, I was going to make the beef and the onions, and then do a dairy-based sauce with nutmeg and cinnamon.  My main confusion was in how to handle the roux for the sauce.  In the end, the process I chose worked, but I might do it differently if I ever do this one again.

By the way, if any of you out there can come up with a good name for this dish, let me know, 'cause I'm stumped.  For now, it's...

That One Dish that Mark Made for the Dutch Oven Challenge

12" Dutch Oven

A lot of coals under (for the first steps)
10 coals below
16 coals above (for the final steps)

  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 2-3 tbsp flour

  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 3 scallions/green onions, chopped
  • salt

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • pepper

  • 2 large potatoes, quartered and sliced
  • 1 sweet pepper, diced

  • ~2 cups milk
  • nutmeg
  • cinnamon
  • more flour, if necessary, to thicken

I started out by making the roux out of equal parts of oil and flour in the open dutch oven, on bottom heat only.  For some reason, my coals were very slow lighting that day, and so it took quite a while to make even the blondest of a blonde roux.  It was also pretty runny. 

Once that had cooked a bit, and browned just a little, I added the second set of ingredients, to sautee.  I wasn't sure how well it would sautee with the roux still in the pot, but Alton did it once, and it seemed to work, so I guess it was OK.  This was a large part of my aforementioned confusion.

Once the onions were translucent, I added the ground beef and let that brown.

When the beef was pretty much cooked through, and all stirred up, I added the potatoes and sweet peppers.  At this point, I covered the dutch oven and set up the coals for baking/roasting, with top and bottom heat, as listed above.  I let the potatoes cook a bit, stirring things up occasionally.

When I could see that the potatoes were starting to cook, but not done (maybe just a bit firmer than "al dente"), I poured in the milk.  I didn't measure it, but rather just guestimated.  I poured it in until it came up to "halfway" covering the meat and potatoes.  In other words, there was enough milk that I could see it rising as I poured, but the level of the milk was nowhere near the top of the food.  I stirred in the nutmeg and the cinnamon, and let that cook and simmer some more, covered, until the potatoes were done.

I did add just a little more flour for a bit of thickening, but it didn't need much.  In retrospect, I'd probably do more roux at the beginning.

I Served it up on two slices of the artisan bread I'd made the day before, following this Dutch Oven bread recipe.  The tangy bread and the meat made a magnificent combination.

The taste was delicious, and my son pronounced it "Amazing".  I'd say this challenge was a success.  Any other takers?!


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

Mark's Other Blog Posts: A Performance for LDS Youth!


  1. Looks good! I'm still good on my end of the challenge, we buy groceries a month at a time, so I'm waiting for approval from the Treasury department. I'll answer the call!


  2. I was playing with Beer braised short ribs on my days off. Need to keep a closer eye here for next week :)



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