Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dutch Oven Chicken and Dumplings

I’ve been cooking a lot in my dutch ovens lately.  I did my world-famous pumpkin pie, and some breads and chicken things. I haven’t been writing about it, however.  That’s mostly because I’ve been doing repeats of recipes that I’d already written up and posted.  And, since I hadn’t really made any significant changes or updates to the ingredients or the process, I didn’t feel any real urgency to write them up.

Also, I’ve been in a lot of personal stress of late, but that’s not something to deal with here.

So, between those two issues, I haven’t really posted here as much as I’d like, but this week, I got really excited and thought to do something new.  I started flipping through recipe books earlier in the week, like I used to do, looking for something new and challenging.  I wanted to try something I’ve never done before.  One thought was Greek Dolmades.  I’d really like to try those, but I’d need to find a source for the grape leaves.  I know they’re out there in SLC and Provo, but I just haven’t had the chance to look for them yet. 

I ended up coming across a recipe from the Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook.  I found a recipe for Chicken and Dumplings.  Not only have I never cooked it, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever eaten it before.  I know that’s weird.  It’s about as American as American cuisine gets.  But I just don’t remember it.  So, I was kinda up against something that I was really unfamiliar with.

There are a lot of steps to this process, so it’s not a simple or basic dutching dish, but it is a complete one-pot meal:  veggies, meat, dairy, and bread all in one.  All you need is a cup of iced Diet Dr Pepper, and your table is complete!

Dutch Oven Chicken and Dumplings

12” Dutch Oven
Initial steps: 20 + coals below
Final step: ~12-15 coals below, 12-15 coals above

  • 10-12 chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper

  • 4 tsp oil

  • 4-6 green onions
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 4-6 carrots
  • 3-4 stalks, celery
  • 2 med onion
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • More salt

  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 6 Tbsp AP Flour

  • 4-6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 bag frozen green peas
  • 3 bay leaves
  • The cooked chicken thighs, shredded or chopped

  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 5-6 tablespoons reserved chicken fat.
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped thyme
  • 1 handful fresh chopped parsley

It all started by firing up some coals and heating up some oil in my 12” Dutch oven.  While that was starting and heating, I opened up the thawed thighs and seasoned them pretty liberally with Kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper.  You could use breasts, but much of the flavor of this dish comes from the chicken fat that gets rendered out of the thighs.

The first actual cooking step is to put the thighs on the heat and fry them up.  I put the lid on, because they cooked better with the trapped heat.  I turned them once during the process.

While they were cooking, I sliced and chopped up all of the ingredients in the second set.

I removed the cooked thighs, and put them in a bowl to cool.  The recipe book said to remove the skin.  I decided not to, but in the end, decided that was a bad choice.  Having the skin in the soup wasn’t as appetizing as I thought it would be.

I drained off and reserved most of the fat that had been rendered out of the thighs.  I added the veggies to what remained in the dutch oven, and cooked them, stirring.  Next time I make this, I would hold off adding the flour, however, and let the veggies brown a bit.  Then, I’d add the lemon juice and scrape up any fond from the bottom of the dutch oven with a wooden spatula.  Then, add in the flour, and stir it up to coat the veggies in a sort of a semi-roux.  Also, while the veggies were cooking, I cut the chicken from the bones and shredded the meat.

Finally, I added the next set of ingredients, the liquids and the chicken, and brought it up to a simmer.  While that was heating up, I mixed up the ingredients of the last set, for the dumpling dough.

As it approached a boil, I added the herbs, and also added any more salt and pepper to season it all to taste.   Then, I stirred it all up and got the dumpling dough.  I dropped it in, a heaping tablespoon at a time, all around the Dutch oven.  I put on the lid, and then put on the upper coals.  The lower coals is really just an estimate.  Throughout the cooking process, I was adding more coals to the chimney so I’d have a running supply of hot coals.  Once the dumplings were in, I cooked the whole thing for about another half hour or so.  I only checked it once during the cooking, then again when it was all done.

I was afraid that the dumplings would be soggy.  Like I said before, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  But, in the end, it was delicious.  The dumplings swelled up as they cooked, like biscuits do, and the stew was delicious.  The dumplings were rich with chicken flavor, from both the stew and the chicken fat added in.  There was plenty to share and extra for lunches this week.


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: "The Third Time", Halloween and Cub Scouts,
Utah County Disabilities

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My Strange Dutch Oven Weekend

I did a lot of dutch ovening this weekend, and it was all under kind of unusual circumstances.  The best laid plans of mice and men, etc...  Everything changed up.

On Saturday, our church men’s group (the Elder’s Quorum, for those of you who understand Mo’ Speak) hosted a dutch oven cookout activity in the park.  I was in charge of planning it and pulling it off.  The idea was to have us all gather in the early afternoon, and do some cooking.  I’d be there to show how to do it, if the members were feeling unsure.  Then, at about 5 or 6, we’d all eat what we’d all cooked.

The turnout was terrible.  There were quite a few guys who had told me they were going to show up and cook along with us, but only one came (
That's Richard, in the picture).  Later on, my wife joined us, as did one other guy and his kids.

I was pretty bummed, but I still had a good time cooking.  I did a spicy turkey (a small one) and some no-knead bread.  I added basil, oregano, and cilantro to the dough, and it made for a delicious flavor.  The other Elder that came over and cooked made a chocolate and marshmallow pudding.  Really, great food.  Too bad so few were there to sample it.

Then, on Sunday, I had planned on cooking dinner for my father-in-law.  I’d pretty much decided on doing a dinner-in-a-pumpkin, but he injured his back and was immobile, so he couldn’t come over.  I decided to do it anyway, and it turned out great. 

I’ve been working on an overall outline for a cookbook on yeast breads in a dutch oven, and I’m very excited about it.  I’ve started writing some of the parts, and I’ll be posting them here as they come.  Stay tuned for that!


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: Working on The Third Time, A Big LDS Game,
Free Speech?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Baking Bread in a Dutch Oven

Andy, over at the Back Porch Gourmet asked me recently for advice about bread baking.  I was pretty excited about the question. I’ve thought for a long time it would be cool to write a dutch oven bread cookbook.  I decided to use his question as the impetus to get that started.  I wrote out an overview document to get started. At about 3500 words, it's way too long for a blog post. You can find it here.


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: Chapter and Verse LDS Game, Making LDS Music isn't always easy!,

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bread and Beef, Revisited

Yesterday, I had a great dutch oven day.  A triumph, even.  Two dishes, both of which have been, in the past, difficult, came out perfectly.  And, not only were the delicious, but I was able to learn what I did right this time, and why they failed last time!

The first to be finished was a loaf of bread.  It was, quite possibly, the best loaf of bread I’ve ever baked.  A delicious, rich-tasting crumb, with a soft, browned crust.  I was very pleased. I plan to write about it, especially since my friend, Andy, asked about breads.  That one will be put on the Black Pot as a separate article, coming soon.

Today, I’ll talk about the other dish, a roast beef. 

A long time ago, I figured out that there are two ways to cook roast beef so that you don’t have to chew it forever to be able to swallow it.  One way is to cook it medium to medium rare, so that it’s still a bit pink and juicy.  I like my steaks that way, so it would stand to reason that I also like my roasts that way.  I’ve been able to pull off this kind of roast before.

The other way to cook it is to roast it “low and slow” (meaning at a low temperature, for a long time), and to overcook it.  You keep it on the heat until the meat becomes so tender that it falls apart under your fork, and you hardly need a knife to eat it.  I’ve tried this before, but until today, I’ve not been able to succeed.

So, this time it worked.  I essentially followed the instructions and the recipe spelled out in that blog entry.  The only real difference in the recipe was that I didn’t use the bacon.  It tasted fine without it.  I also used a little less black pepper in the glaze.  Well, that, and the veggies were different.  I just used what I had on hand, which was pretty much the same.

There were some differences in my process, however.

First of all, I made sure that the meat was completely thawed from the beginning. That meant the time spent cooking was spent cooking and not melting the meat. I also made sure that I let the beef sit with the salt and pepper for a bit longer.

I made sure that I kept the coals to a minimum.  I kept it hot, but not too hot.  There was a pretty steady breeze out, so I had to replace them often.  The coal counts of 8-10 below and 10-12 on top were pretty accurate to what I was trying to maintain.  I cooked it a total of about 5 to 5 1/2 hours.  It reached an internal temperature of “well-done” after about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  Toward the end I started testing it by seeing how easily I could pry apart the meat fibers with a pair of forks.

I didn’t add any veggies or herbs until about the third hour.  I just poured them around the meat.  I left the meat on the metal bottom of the oven.  I don’t know if that made any difference at all, considering the relatively low heat.

I mixed up the glaze (like I said, a little lighter on the pepper, and also a little heavier on the honey), and, about an hour out to “done”, I started basting it on the top of the meat every 15 minutes or so.  It really added a sweet and sharp depth to the flavor of the meat.

About 15 minutes out to my projected “done” time, I started ladling off the liquid stock at the bottom of the pot to make a gravy.  There really wasn’t much liquid to use.  In retrospect, I don’t really think the meat needed the extra moisture nor flavor of a gravy.  Still, I made some, and it didn’t taste bad.

When I pulled it off the coals, I set it on the table, and we spent a good 15 to 20 minutes gathering and setting the table.  That allowed the meat to rest and the juices to re-distribute.  The residual heat also cooked it just a little bit more.

Finally, when we were all gathered, and the prayer said, I went to serve it and it just fell apart under the fork.  I had brought out a knife to cut it and serve it, but I didn’t use it.  My kids raved about it.  Really, the glaze and the long, slow cook made all the difference.


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: Long, Long Time, The Seekers (LDS Scripture Mastery Game),

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dutch Oven Braised Chicken

I found this one in a cookbook of mine, and I really liked the appeal of it.  It looked a little bit fancier than just roasting up a bird, so I thought I’d give it a try.  As always, I tweaked up the recipe a little bit, based on my experience long ago of making tomato soup from scratch. 

This one’s a two-step process.  You first cook the bird and the veggies in the dutch oven with the liquid, and let the tomatoes dissolve.

Then, you carve the bird and puree the liquid with a little thickener to make the sauce.  Serve it up, together.

And, then, the next day, I had enough leftover chicken bits and sauce to make a delicious thick soup.  It really was a versatile meal.

Dutch Oven Braised Chicken

12” deep dutch oven
10-12 coals below
12-14 coals above

Serves 8, 475 Calories per serving

  • 1 whole chicken
  • Salt
  • cayenne
  • Black Pepper

  • 4-5 stalks celery, chopped
  • 4-5 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced
  • 1-2 onions, diced
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, coarsely minced, or sliced

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • liberal shakes of parsley
  • liberal shakes of cilantro

  • 2-3 tablespoons flour

So, I started off with the chicken, thawed completely, of course.  I’ve had problems with cooking chickens and turkeys that were still frozen.  I coated it with kosher salt, coarse ground black pepper, and some pretty liberal sprinkles of ground cayenne.  Next time, I’ll probably lighten up on the cayenne.  I don’t mind hot, but in this case, it started to overpower the other flavors.  I rubbed all that onto the chicken, and set it in the deep dutch oven to allow the seasonings to absorb a bit.

While that was happening, I lit up some coals and started chopping the veggies.  These were all just scattered all around the chicken.  Then, I added the juice, the stock, and the herbs sprinkled on top.

I had a really, really tough time getting coals lit.  My wife had bought a bargain brand, and they would NOT light and turn white, no matter what I tried.  I did finally get them going, but it took me about an hour to get enough to get started.  Lesson learned:  Stick with brands you know.  My favorite is Kingsford...

The rest of the cooking process was pretty simple.  Just keep hot coals on it, until the internal temperature reaches 165.  There wasn’t much else to that.  The liquid simmered the veggies down and seasoned the meat, and it was all great.  I tasted it a time or two, but I felt it was all pretty balanced, except maybe too much heat, as I mentioned before.

Once the meat was done, I brought it in, and pulled the chicken out of the dutch oven.  That’s not always easy for me, because I like to serve straight out of the dutch.  It’s like it connects in my mind that this delicious meal came out of the dutch oven instead of my stove, and I feel like I’ve accomplished a greater challenge. 

Or something like that.

Anyway, I tented the chicken with some aluminum foil to rest, and I scooped up some of the veggies with a slotted spoon.  These, I reserved as a garnish.  Then, I ladled out most of the remaining liquid into my blender.  Yes, I used an electric appliance.  Sue me.  I added just a bit of flour as thickener and pulsed it up, then pureed it.

I carved up the chicken and put it onto a serving tray, then as a final touch, poured the puree on top and added the veggie bits on the side.  It looked really, really good, and tasted very gourmet as well.  I was quite pleased with myself!  Smug, even...


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: Long Long Time 

Friday, August 6, 2010

Buying a Dutch Oven to Cook a Turkey

Warning:  Shameless Affiliate Promotion Ahead

I just got an email from someone asking about buying a dutch oven to cook a turkey.  There are a lot of options, and which you’ll end up using depends a lot on what you want to do, especially how big a turkey you want to cook.

My first thought is to get a deep 14” dutch oven.  It’s surprising, but that can actually cook a pretty big bird, if that’s what you want to do.  I have two 14” deep dutch ovens, from some minor name brand.  My preference is to cook turkey hens in them (which are usually around 10-14 lbs).  That gives you plenty of room around the bird for air circulation and some veggies, like potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, etc...

I have, however, also used them at times to cook bigger birds, even up to 22 lbs.  Once, when cooking a big one, I had to give it CPR to get the lid to close, but it works.

The Amazon link, here, is a spot where you can buy one, and yes, if you do, I’ll make a commission.  The picture in the link is a generic dutch oven, and doesn't really show the size of the 14".  I hope that all comes across as legal disclosure instead of begging.  But then, again, I’m not above a little begging.

There are some additional options for cooking large turkeys.  One is the Maca oval dutch ovens. This link is not an affiliate, link, BTW.  These are really nice and huge.  They are heavy.  I’ve used one before, because I was cooking for all of my wife’s family at Christmas.  I had to borrow it, and I’m really glad I did.  It worked really well, and I’m grateful to the trusting soul that loaned it to me.  It will cook a really, really large turkey.

Another option is the Camp Chef Ultimate Turkey Roaster.  This is also not an affiliate link.  This is kind of an oddity in the dutch oven world.  It turns the turkey on it’s end, rather than resting on its back, as usual.  It’s like having two big pots, and you’re stacking one on top of the other.  I’ve never used one, but I’ve seen people do it, and I’ve seen them cook 20+ lb turkeys in it.

So, all three options work with large turkeys, although the Maca and the Camp Chef UDO would probably work better.

After all of my experiences cooking turkey, I think the way I’ll do it from now on, honestly is to stick to smaller birds in my 14”.  I think the smaller turkeys are juicier and tastier.  Alton Brown, of the show “Good Eats” on Food Network agrees with me. That is also not an affiliate link.  He says that the bigger turkeys are raised in small cages, pumped with hormones or other chemicals, and can barely stand to support their own weight. 

If I’m cooking for a crowd, like my in-laws, I can do two 14 lbers, cook them with different, unique seasonings and flavors, and actually have more meat than one 22 lber with one flavor.  Or, I can do one turkey and one ham.  With two 14” dutch ovens, I have more flexibility and better meat.  Win-win!

So, once again, we have a $75 answer to a $10 question.  By the way, here’s a link to my best turkey in a dutch oven recipes


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 Spiritual Epiphany

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dutch Oven Berried Chicken, Part II

Last Sunday, I tried the berried chicken again, and this time I tried it as I wrote it, not like I did it the first time! 


Even at that I made a few changes.  And would also suggest a few more changes...  I can never leave well enough alone, right?  It drives my poor wife crazy.

One of the changes was to add the potatoes.  I had originally thought to put the chicken on my big steamer trivet in the dutch oven, so the juices would run down below.  But then, I thought of adding a layer of potatoes on the bottom of the dutch oven, and setting the chicken on top of that.  It was a great idea, as the potatoes absorbed much of the flavor from the spice rub and the chicken juices.

Another change I would recommend is to not use ALL of the spice rub when coating the chicken.  It was too strong, especially in the salt and the black pepper.  Mix it to those proportions, and then use about 2/3 of it.

I also used the minced mint idea in the berry sauce, as well as just a few good shakes of cinnamon.  Oh, and I used apple juice concentrate instead of pineapple, so it didn’t need the honey for the sweetener. 

The end result, however, was stunning, for my taste.  It’s one of the best things I think I’ve ever cooked.  The sweet of the berries blended beautifully with the spice of the chicken.  The berries even mellowed the over-spiciness a bit.  Not cooking them together was a smart move.  The two flavor blends were much more distinct this way, yet they still combined. 

My family, however, wasn’t so impressed as I was.  They weren’t UN-impressed, either, but my son was a bit nervous to try the berry sauce.  And even though my wife liked the berries, she loved the chicken plain, and was scarfing down the potatoes like there was no tomorrow.


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: All About Us Mormons, New Song: "The Chapel",

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dutch Oven Swirled Bread Redux

I did an experiment this weekend, one that worked really well.  OK, actually I did two, but I’ll save the other one for another post.

One of the problems I’ve had with baking bread is religious.  My church isn’t allowing me to bake bread. 

Now, before that freaks anyone out, let me explain.  It’s not so much my church as my church schedule.  I can hear a collective sigh of relief.  I love writing for shock value... 

See, with church happening right in the middle of the day, it’s tricky to time the mixing, kneading, rising, shaping, proofing, and, finally, baking and eating in spots where I can still go to church in the middle of it all.  It kinda became obvious when I went up to the hospital to visit Jodi and Jake this weekend.  I wanted to make bread, and we were going to attend church up at the hospital.  There was no way I was going to be able to mix up the bread and let it raise while I made the hour-long trip, attended a short church service, visited with my family, and then made the hour long trek back home.  I would have come home to a deflated, over-risen mess.

So, I thought to myself, “Hey, self, you’ve made bread and left it in the fridge for an overnight rise, right?”

Yeah, so....?

“Well, why not mix the dough, knead it, and then set it in the fridge for a 6-7 hour rise?  Cold temperatures slow down the yeast.” I thought this over while my self continued, “That way, you could go to church and be with your family, and then come home to nicely risen bread.  If it’s not risen enough, you could always pull it out and let it rise as it comes up to room temperature anyway.”

It was one of the few times when my self was actually making sense.  So, I decided to listen to him.  I really wanted to make my old swirled bread again, since it had been so long since I had.  I gathered up the ingredients and gave it a try, with my new procedure in mind.

Just so you don’t have to look it up again, I’m copying and pasting the ingredients from before, since I didn’t change them.

Dutch Oven Swirled Bread

12" Dutch Oven
10 coals below, 19-20 coals above

  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 4-5 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  •  ¼ cup oil
  • 1 heaping Tbsp Cocoa
  • 1 heaping Tbsp Coffee or Coffee substitute (I used Pero)
  • 2 Tbsp Molasses
  • 1-2 cups Flour, for the kneading
  • 1 egg
  • Poppy seeds (or other garnish)

I started with all of the ingredients in the first set.  I got the water very hot, then added the honey, and finally the yeast.  Adding the honey cools the temperature of the water to a range where the yeast will start, but not get killed.

After about ten minutes or so, I added in the flour, then all of the remaining ingredients in that set.  I mixed it all up with a trusty wooden spoon, and dumped it onto a floured table top. 

With a pastry knife, I cut it in half, and set one half aside.  In the remaining half, I made a little well and poured in the the molasses, the cocoa, and the Pero.  I began kneading it, sprinkling it with flour as I needed, to get it to the smooth, and satiny feel of well kneaded dough.  I used fresh King Arthur bread flour, and it came to a windowpane pretty quickly.  It also turned a beautiful rich brown from all of the additives.

I sprayed my mixing bowl with oil and put the doughball in one side of it, spraying it also with oil.  Then, I kneaded up the other half of the dough, without an additional additives.  It kneaded faster.  I put it in the bowl next to the dark half, also spraying it with oil.  I covered the two halves with cellophane and put them in the fridge.

Then I went off to church with my family, for some spiritual bread.

When I got home, I opened the fridge, not quite sure what I would see.  But it was beautiful!  Two well risen dough balls, side by side in the now-full bowl.  Just ready to be shaped and baked!

Pulling them apart was easy.  There was a little that stuck together, but I didn’t figure that was a big deal.  I floured up the table and started with the light dough.  I spread it out into a rectangle (or close to it) without stretching it too thin.  I wanted it fairly even, not like a pizza dough that’s thin in the middle with big lumps on the sides.  Then I stretched out the dark half. 

I layered the two together, with no flour or oil in-between, and rolled it up. I curled it around and placed it into my oiled dutch oven.  I set it aside to proof.  As the proofing neared completion, I did a quick egg wash, sliced the top, and sprinkled on some poppy seeds.

All along this process, by the way, I had started the coals, and gotten the lid pre-heating like I spell out in this post .  I put the bread on the coals and baked it for about an hour, turning every 15-20 minutes.  When I hit the right temperature, I pulled it off and let it cool  It was sooooo goood!  I think the extra raising time even enhanced the flavor.


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: Writing a Blog Post, Tenth and Main, Immigration

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dutch Oven Berried Chicken

My first encounter with combining fruit and poultry was at a sandwich shop that sold a turkey sandwich with raspberry jam.  I was skeptical, but my wife raved about it, so I tried it.  In a single bite, I was convinced.  Yum!

So, then I saw this recipe for raspberry baked chicken over at Dutch Oven Madness, and it really intrigued me.  She said she didn’t like her result, however, and I wasn’t sure why at first. The recipe drew me in, however, and made me want to experiment with it.  I thought that one of the reasons why it might not have had a good flavor, as she said, was that all there was to it was chicken and sweet.  I thought that there needed to be some savory flavors to add a bit to the chicken, then the sweet and tang of the berries would be another layer of flavor.  I did some web research and got some ideas of how to expand it.  A couple of recipes used some spices and the berries as a marinade.  That sounded kinda interesting.

My results were good, but not great.  I liked the taste, and so did my friends, but it didn’t look as great as I’d hoped.  The berry marinade ended up as a purple/brown soupy sauce.  I also wasn’t blown away by it.  It wasn’t as “Wow!” as I’d hoped.  They all had seconds, so that was a good sign. 

Still, I think that had I done it differently, it would have tasted better.  Instead of adding all the ingredients to the marinade, and cooking the chicken, I think I’d make the chicken separate from the berry sauce, and then serve them together.  I think that would make the savory and the sweet more distinct. Another thing I think I’ll do differently is to make sure that the chicken is fully thawed and patted dry.  There was a lot of liquid still in the chicken, and so the berry sauce ended up too runny, and I had to thicken it with some cornstarch.  I was hoping it would be more of a glaze, and that didn’t work.

So, now I’m faced with the dilemma:  Do I write it up as I did it, or as I would like to do it next time?  Hmmm...

I think I’ll do the latter, this time.

Dutch Oven Berried Chicken

12” Dutch Oven
10 coals below
14 coals above

10” Dutch Oven
12-14 coals below

  • 3-4 lbs chicken breast (I used frozen)

  • ~1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ~1 Tbsp Kosher Salt
  • ~1 Tbsp Pepper
  • ~1 Tbsp Paprika
  • ~ 1 tsp dry mustard
  • ~ 1 tsp chili powder
  • ~ 2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 cup blueberries + some extra
  • 1 cup raspberries + some extra
  • 1 cup blackberries + some extra
  • 1/2 can of pineapple juice concentrate
  •  1/4 cup honey

Start off with the chicken meat.  Since I used frozen chicken pieces, I’d recommend thawing them completely, draining them, and patting them dry in paper towels.  Then, mix up the other ingredients.  When I did this, I was guessing at amounts.  I’m basically creating a rub, so you could even use a pre-packaged meat/grilling seasoning.  I kept mixing at about these proportions, tasting with my finger along the way.  If you want more of one thing or another, you can adjust it.

Then, coat the meat in in the rub (I used a plastic ziplock baggie to shake it all up), then put it all in the fridge for a few hours.

Get the coals ready, and give your dutch oven a quick spritz of spray oil.  Then spread the chicken pieces over the bottom of the oven.  Put those on the coals to bake.

Toni, over at Dutch Oven Madness, just used raspberries, I used a mix of berries because the first store I visited didn’t have any raspberries.  I did finally find some, though, so I just decided to mix it all in.   I added all of the berries and the juice concentrate into a bowl and mashed it all up together.  After tasting it, I felt like it needed a bit more sweet in with the sour, so I added some honey. Another thought I had, however, later on, was to use apple juice concentrate instead of pineapple. 

At this point, I would do it differently than what I actually did.  Instead of blending the berries with the chicken and baking, I’d put the berry mix alone into my 10” dutch oven and put it on the coals to simmer and reduce.

As the chicken nears done, and the sauce is good and thick, I’d stir some full, raw berries into the sauce, so they’d just have enough time to come up to temperature (but not really “cook”) before serving over the baked and seasoned chicken.  I wonder how some chopped fresh mint leaves would taste in that sauce....  Hmmmm...

Now, in my mind, that sounds like it would look and taste much yummier than what I got (notice I didn’t take any pictures this time...  I will next time!).  Like I said, it was good, but not as good as it should or could have been.

So, many thanks to Toni for the inspiration and the motivation to try something new!  To experiment!  That’s what helps me to learn.

Note from Mark:  I tried this one again a few weeks later.  Here's the result!


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

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dutch Oven Resources on the Web

There are a lot of really good websites out on the ‘net to help out Dutch Oven Chefs, both for beginners and the more experienced.  I really enjoy going out and finding new sites, and especially reading more and more posts and recipes.  I’ve met some really cool people, both face-to-face, and out on the web.

Here are just some of the other wonderful Dutch Oven recipes and resource websites.  Visit them!


Recipe Sites

Buying Gear


General Resources

If you want to include your site in this list, just email me, and link to me!


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

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dutch Oven Pumpkin Cheesecake

I don’t do many desserts.  I don’t know why.  I love to make them, and I love to eat them.  But for some reason, I end up cooking more main dishes and breads. 

But today, our family was having a barbecue, and I was asked to dutch oven up some dessert.  I’d been wanting to try a cheesecake for some time.  After a bit of research, I decided on a pumpkin cheesecake recipe I’d found.

I’m not too sure how it turned out.  To my taste, it was bland.  I’m not sure I can fault the recipe, though, as I’d had some troubles with the prep and cooking.  So, you can learn from my mistakes when you try it out for yourself.

Dutch Oven Pumpkin Cheesecake

12” Dutch Oven
10-12 coals below
18-22 coals above

    * 1 pouch of graham crackers
    * 2 sticks butter, melted
    * 1/2 bag chocolate chips

    * 4x 8 Oz packages of cream cheese
    * 1 1/2 cups sugar

    * 1 29 Oz can of Pumpkin Puree
    * 2 tsp Cinnamon
    * 1 tsp Nutmeg
    * 1 tsp Ginger
    * 1/2 tsp salt
    * 4 eggs

    * 1/2 bag chocolate chips

First of all, I lit up some coals.  While that was getting going, I started out making the crust.  I ground up the graham crackers in a bowl, and stirred them in with the butter.  Actually, I used chocolate graham crackers.  I sprayed the inside of the dutch oven with oil spray, and then smoothed the crackers across the bottom to form a crust.  I sprinkled half of the bag of chocolate chips.

Then, in a bowl, I combined the cream cheese and the sugar, stirring it up with a big spoon.  I tried using a pastry cutter, but it didn’t really make it easier.  Then, I stirred in the can of pumpkin.  While I was mixing that, I added the spices and the eggs.

When that was all mixed in, as well as I could, I poured it in on top of the crust, and then topped it off with the rest of the chocolate chips.

Then, I put it on the coals.  It took a long time to cook, and there are a couple of reasons why.  One is that I didn’t take into account the time it takes to heat up the dutch oven.  So, I was anticipating about a 45 minute cook time, and it took much, much longer. 

Another problem was that I spent some of the cooking time inside, not paying attention, and at one point the breeze burned out most of the coals, and I had to scramble to reheat the oven. 

I think that next time I do this, I’ll pay more attention.  I might also add more spices and sugar, because the ending flavor just wasn’t there.


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

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Quick Farmer's Market Pasta

I've been feeling like I've been in a slump with my dutch ovening lately. I've enjoyed it, like always, but I haven't been cooking any new stuff. I've been going back and cooking things from my repertoire, rather than learning new recipes.

The lamb I did last weekend was one attempt to break out of the rut.  And earlier this week, I was watching Tyler Florence do a show on Food Network.  He cooked up this pasta with all fresh ingredients, and including artichoke hearts and zucchini.  He also stepped through the process of cutting open the artichoke.  I was enthralled!  An ingredient I had never tried, and a new technique!

As my son says, "Ew, learning in the summer..."

So, I bought the ingredients, and then finally had a chance to actually make it today.  The results were great!  I would alter it a bit for the size of the dutch oven, so it will read different than the original.

Quick Farmer's Market Pasta
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Serves 6, ~600 calories per serving.

2x 12" dutch ovens, 20 coals underneath
1x 10" dutch oven, 15-20 coals underneath

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 3-5 cloves fresh garlic, sliced
  • 3 pints cherry tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • lemon juice to taste

  • 3/4 pound turkey sausage, mild italian style
  • 2 to 3 small zucchini, sliced 
  • 2 fresh globe artichokes, trimmed to the hearts, cut into quarters

  • 1 pound penne pasta

I started out by lighting up a lot of coals.  I was going to be cooking three dutch ovens, so I'd need a lot.  It would all be bottom heat.  I put the olive oil in one of the 12" dutch ovens, and got it on an even spread of coals.

While that was heating up, I peeled and chopped up the garlic.  I tossed the garlic and the tomatoes into the dutch oven to begin sauteeing.  Now, there's a lot more oil in the dutch oven than you normally need to sautee, but that will all become a part of the sauce.

I set another 12" dutch oven over some coals, with just a little oil in the bottom, and put in the sausage.  With normal sausage, you don't need oil, but this was chicken sausage, which has much less natural fat.  This is tricky.  You'll be multi-tasking between the dutch ovens.

The third dutch oven was the 10", which I filled almost to the top with water.  A little salt in it, too, and on the coals, covered, to boil.

Next, I cut the zucchini into thin slices.  When the sausage was well-browned, I added in the zucchini, stirring it up.  Then, I sliced up the artichokes.  It's difficult to describe the process of cutting them.  There are youtube videos that describe the process, but none of them were exactly what Tyler showed.  Still, this video is close, and gets the same result.  I did what I remembered in the Food Network show, but next time, I'd trim the 'choke a bit closer, as this video shows.

So, I sliced them into quarters and added them to the sausage and the zucchini.  I put the lid on, to trap the heat and cook the 'choke a bit quicker.

Meantime, the tomatoes were pretty well cooked, so I smashed them up and stirred them into the oil.  I added the salt, the pepper, the lemon juice, and the honey, and stirred it all up.  I let it simmer for a while, uncovered.

By this time, the water was boiling, and I added the pasta.  As the artichoke and the zucchini cooked, I added the tomatoes. 

Soon, the pasta was al dente, the sauce and the veggies all were nicely simmered down, and it was ready to serve!  It was yummy!  The artichoke was a little wooden, but I think that's because I didn't trim the outer leaves close enough. 


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: What Do We Know?, The Chapel 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Moroccan Lamb Tagine in the Dutch Oven

For the last few weeks, now, I've been eager to try something new, something exotic.  A lot of the dishes I've been cooking lately have been remakes of past dishes.  That's good, I get to learn how to do them again, and make changes that make them better.  But I need to reach out and stretch from time to time, too, or I get stale.

And I was feeling a little stale.

Jodi had bought some lamb chops, and she was hoping that I'd do something with them.  I dove in, and searched out a whole bunch of lamb ideas, from a whole bunch of cuisines and nationalities.  In the end, this one won out, from Morocco.

I've not done anything from the african continent yet, in all the years I've been writing about the dutch oven.  This is my first.  Of course, it's from the mediterranean north coast of Africa, and I'm well aware that central and southern cuisines are very different.  I'll explore those someday, too.

I also tried something new, in my cooking process.  Over the years, as I've been trying to learn how to cook, I've always kept a very loose and unorganized cooking space.  This, of course, flies in the face of the concept of "Mise en Place".  This is pronounced "Mees-ah-plahz", and it means, literally, "putting in place".  There are many who refer to it as "everything in place".  It's the act of gathering together all of your ingredients and utensils, and arranging them into your working space so that you have easy access to them.

I've never done this.  I've only read about it.

But, too many times, I've run into situations where I've been in the middle of cooking a dish, and an ingredient I assumed we had plenty of was gone.  Either it was misplaced, or it was used up, or never there to begin with.  In any case, I would usually be in a situation where the time for that ingredient came and went, and I was frantically searching for it, usually while other ingredients were burning.

As I looked over this extensive list of ingredients, especially the seasonings for the marinade, I realized that the time had come to embrace mise en place, and give it a try.  It really helped.  Believe me.  I have learned my lesson.

Moroccan Lamb Tangine

This recipe makes about six servings, at about 525 Calories each.   It was done in three steps: the Marinade, the Meat, the Stew.

The Marinade

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds lamb meat, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

As I mentioned, I began last night by gathering up all of the seasonings and the meat, so everything was there and accessible.  I cubed up the lamb (from chops) and put it all in a 1 gallon ziplock baggie with the olive oil.  I gave that a shake to coat the lamb.

Then, I just added in all of the seasonings.  This is a serious whopping lot of seasonings.  I followed the recipe, and it tasted great in the end, but I also wondered to myself if all of the individual flavors of all of these seasonings just ended up lost in the mix.  Maybe it's like a symphony orchestra.  Sometimes it's the overall sound that's inspiring, not the individual instruments themselves.


Once all of those were in, I shook up the bag for about a minute, tossing it and massaging it so that it all got well coated.  I set it in the fridge to coat and absorb overnight.

The Meat

12" Dutch Oven

20-22 coals below

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • The meat mix from the previous step
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 4-5 green onions, sliced into the green stems
  • 5 carrots, sliced lengthwise into thin, short strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or minced

Even though the bad craziness of all the spices was done the night before, I decided to give mise en place another go today.  I gathered up all of the ingredients before I did anything else.

I lit up the coals, then put on the dutch oven with a bit of olive oil.  I let that heat up a little.  When I could tell that the oil was heated and shimmery, I dropped in the meat, and it began to brown.  It looked Sooooo good.  The spices were browning and searing into the meat...  Mmmm...

After about 10 minutes, I added in the onions, the garlic, the ginger, and the carrots.  I've been discovering the flavors of fresh ginger lately.  It's cool.  I stirred that occasionally and cooked it until the onions became translucent.

The Stew

20-22 coals below, a little less as it went on, to simmer

  • 1 lemon, zested
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste or sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon water (optional)

After the onions became cooked a bit, I added the first set of stew ingredients.  I used the turkey stock I had made the other night after the spicy turkey.  It was frozen, so I had to melt it.  That's probably not the best way to do it, just dropping a frozen brick into otherwise hot food.  It melted pretty quickly.  Next time, I'll melt it better, so it goes in better.

I covered it and let it come to a boil.  I let a lot of the coals die out.  I did replenish, but not as much as I might have for a roast, for example.  Once it was boiling, I wanted it to simmer.  I let it simmer for almost an hour. 

When it was close, I got out my 8" dutch oven, some more stock, and made some rice, with a little more lemon juice.

Also, as it was nearing the end of the cooking time, I also added the cornstarch (mixed with water so as not to clump) as a thickener.  I also salted it a little more to bring out the flavors.

My family loved this international incident.  My son helped himself to seconds without even asking.  It was truly a success!


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: Heavenly Father... 

Monday, June 21, 2010

Father's Day Feast

It was four years ago that my Dutch Oven adventure started.  I even have a hard time remembering the scene, now.  I seem to remember that it was June of 2006, father's day.  We were living in the basement of my in-law's home at the time, waiting the many months for the completion of construction on our home.  My wife bought me a Lodge 12" dutch oven and gave it to me.  I don't remember how I seasoned it, but I got it done and started wondering what I was going to cook in it.

I had pleasant memories of boy scout campouts and making pizza.  So, I decided to try it.  It was simple, and it worked, and I was encouraged by my first bits of success.  My kids, of course, loved it, because it had pepperoni.  I remember, I used one of those boxed pizza crust mixes, and a jar of Prego for the sauce.

From there, I started cooking pretty much every sunday, and with few exceptions that has continued through today.  It was nearly 8 months later that I began blogging my recipes. I don't see any of that changing in the near future, either.  It's been wonderful.  I've met a lot of new friends, and learned a lot of new skills.  It's been a great ride.

So, yesterday, I cooked up a feast.  My wife was surprised.  Why should I want to cook on Father's Day?  See, she looks at cooking like a chore.  I look at it like a break from my crazy week.

I started out thinking I would do a turkey, and do it with that southwestern spicy rub that I really liked.  I thought, however, that this time I'd brine it first.  So, the night before, I cleaned out one of our coolers, opened up the turkey, and put it in.  Then I covered it up with cool water, and mixed in the salt and sugar.  Actually, I mixed the salt and sugar in a separate bowl first, to make sure it dissolved right.  I left that overnight to soak and to thaw.

I thought I would do another no-knead bread, too, so I got the dough ready and set it out to ferment through the day. 

The next afternoon, after church, I got things started.  After lighting up the coals and getting the turkey on to roast, I got the bread ready.  I didn't really do anything fancy.  I just followed the recipes as I wrote them!

I did change up the bread in a couple of ways, however.  Just after I put the dough into the hot dutch oven, I sprinkled the top with parmesan cheese.  Lightly, mind, nothing too oppressive.

Once those were cooking, I was just relaxing and keeping the coals on it.  It was a kind of windy day, so I had to keep on top of the coals and keep adding more to the pile in order to keep heat on.  But it wasn't a stressful cook at all.  The bread took about an hour, and the turkey about three.

The Bread, by the way, turned out phenomenal.  I finally got a soft crust, with big bubble holes in the crumb!  I was so thrilled with myself.

As the turkey was nearing done, I got to thinking about what to serve as a veggie.  I thought about Potatoes, and then I suddenly got this idea to do an oven full of steamed mixed veggies.  I Cut a bunch of veggies of various kinds and colors into bite-size bits.  I used snow peas, broccoli, red and yellow sweet peppers, and cauliflower.  I put them on one of those metal, fold-out steamer things, like I did with the corn a few weeks ago, and put in a few cups of water.  That went out on the coals.

When they were done, about 45 minutes later, I poured some italian dressing over them and sprinkled on some more parmesan cheese.  They were delicious and elegant.

At that point, I knew this was more than just a dinner, but a real treat, so I got out our nice dishes and we all sat down.  Turkey, veggies, and bread.  What a feast!  A great way to celebrate Father's Day, and a special Dutch Ovening Anniversary!


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: Comfort and Affliction in LDS Music

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Dutch Oven Hot Bread with Red Pepper and Garlic

It's been a long time since I did any bread.  A couple of weeks, in fact.  It's been even longer since I've done any kneaded bread.  So, today, I wanted to get my fingers in dough. 

At first, I got my sourdough start out, and refreshed it.  Usually if I want to use it, I'll have to set it out the night before, but I'd not decided on that, so I just thought I could wake it up and see.  I even crushed up a vitamin C tablet, and mixed that in, because it speeds yeast growth. In the end, it was quite frothy, but not soon enough, so I decided to use commercial yeast.

I wanted the bread to be different, too.  I looked through some of my bread books for a bread I hadn't tried yet, and most of the really cool ones were two-day recipes, so I abandoned that and decided to wing it.  I found a cool recipe online at The Fresh Loaf, but as usual, I tweaked it. 

What?  What?

I do that.

And to make matters worse, I decided on some flavorful enrichments, like crushed red pepper and minced garlic. 

The result was wonderful!  As always, I strongly recommend reading my Squidoo Lens on Breadmaking to grok my basic process for kneaded bread.  Here's my recipe:

Dutch Oven Hot Bread

~250 Cal/slice

12" shallow dutch oven

12 coals below
24-26 coals above

  • 3 tsp yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees, or just about shower hot)

  • 5-6 cups fresh bread flour (start with only 4-5)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dough enhancer (optional, but I like it)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp crushed dried red pepper

  • 1 pint buttermilk
  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 1 beaten egg for glaze
  • topping (I used kosher salt)

First, I added the yeast to the water, and set it aside to proof.  While that was happening, I was mincing the garlic and getting the red pepper ready.

Then I mixed all of the dry ingredients (in the next set).  I poured in the frothing yeast, the buttermilk, and the honey, and mixed it all up.  I dumped all of that out onto a floured countertop and started kneading.  Most recipes say to knead for 10 minutes.  I use the windowpane test spelled out in the Squidoo Lens, and I find it can take as much as double that, depending on how fresh and good the flour is.  Add more flour if it's too sticky.  You can actually add more water to the mix, too, simply by getting your hands wet and kneading more.  I had to do that today.

Once it's all kneaded, set it aside in an oiled bowl, covered, to rise.  Let it rise until it's "doubled in bulk", whatever that means.  For me, today, that meant about two hours.

When it was approaching the end of the raising, I started the coals.  As soon as I had white on a lot of the coals, I took the dutch oven lid out and set a lot of coals on it, about 25 or so.  I let the lid preheat like that.

Meanwhile, I did a quick oil spray of the inside of the dutch oven, and put the dough ball in it.  I beat up the egg, and washed it over the top, and sprinkled it with the salt.  I sliced it three times, to give it steam vents and to better allow for expansion.  I let that sit for another 20 minutes or so, to open up a bit, while the lid was preheating.

Then, I put out a ring of 12 coals, set the dutch oven on it, set the hot lid on top and marked the time.  After fifteen minutes, I turned the dutch oven and the lid, and poured some more fresh coals on the spare hot ones.  In another fifteen minutes, I turned it again, and added a few coals to the top and bottom.  I also opened up the lid and inserted the thermometer.

After 45 minutes total, it was done (internal temp of 190 F).  The crust was brown and soft, and the under crust was soft as well.  I pulled it out and set it on my cooling racks. I gave it quite a while before I sliced it, too.  Don't cut your bread too soon!  It's still cooking while it cools.

The taste was great.  The peppers gave it a little bite, and the garlic was more of a subtle addition.  You might want to add more as per your taste.  This bread is great by itself or with meat sandwiches.


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: name post, name post,


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