Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dutch Oven Greek Meatballs

This recipe is included in my Dutch oven cookbook, "Around the World in a Dutch Oven".

I actually made these a few weeks ago.  Jodi had bought me some ground lamb, and I’d been eager to try it.  I actually had struggled with trying to figure out what to do with it.  I’d looked all over the intarwebb looking for ideas, and finally found something I could adapt.

I leaned some things doing it.  In the end, it tasted good, but had a little edge of a burned flavor.  So, next time, I’m going to make some adjustments to the process.

Dutch Oven Greek Meatballs

12” dutch oven
15-18 coals below

  • 4 slices white bread, torn into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, diced and minced
  • A bundle of fresh mint, chopped, without the stems
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground lamb
  • 4 eggs

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging

  • Olive oil for frying

After getting some coals started, I started preparing the ingredients.  I tore the bread apart and put that in a bowl with the milk to soak.  I chopped up the garlic and the onions.  Finally, I added everything in that first set into a big bowl and stirred it all up.  I made sure it was all blended by mushing it together with my fingers.  I formed the mis into meatballs, about an inch to an inch and a half in diameter.

Then, I got the dutch oven on the coals, with a little bit of oil on the bottom. I let that heat up, but not too much, as I discovered.  I dredged the meatballs in the flour and dropped them into the dutch oven to start cooking.

Here’s where I would start doing it a little bit differently.  I would keep the heat a little more moderate, so that the meatballs cooked a little more slowly.  I turned them with some cooking tongs, from time to time.  I actually had to cook them in a couple of batches, because there wasn’t room in one dutch oven for them.  I put a few coals under a second 12” dutch oven (maybe 6-8 coals) and used it, with the lid on, as a warmer for the ones that were done.

Somewhere during the cooking of the second half of these, I put some rice on in my 8” dutch oven.  I put about a cup of rice in with about 2 cups of turkey broth.  I put that over about 10 coals. When it started steaming out the from under the lid, I let it cook for another ten minutes, then pulled it off and let it sit, covered for ten more.

While all this cooking was happening, I had an intriguing thought, to make a pan sauce out of all that delicious, crusty fond that had been building up on the bottom of the dutch oven.  So, once all of the meatballs were warming in the other oven, I set to making it in the original frying oven.  First, I poured in about a half cup of water, and about a lemon’s worth of juice.  It immediately began sizzling.  I took a wooden spoon and started scraping up the bits off the bottom of the dutch oven.  The acid in the lemon juice helped that significantly.  It only took a minute or two before all that crusty stuff was swimming in a bubbling broth.

I put in a bit of flour, shaking it in a little at a time, while stirring and whisking, to thicken it up.  Soon it was ready.  I put the meatballs from the warming pot back into the sauce, stirred it up, and served it over the rice.

It was delicious, except, as I said, for the slightly burned flavor.  I’m not sure if that edge came from the fond in the sauce or from the meatballs themselves.  It could have been either one.  But in either case, I think cooking it a little bit lower in heat would have done the trick.

From my dutch oven table to yours, here's more of what to cook in a dutch oven!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dutch Oven Books

As I've been busy preparing various recipes and bits of text for the books that are coming, and working with the publisher, I thought it would be cool to share some of the other dutch oven books that Cedar Fort (under various imprints) has published.  There are a few of these that, as I'd mentioned before, I actually own, and have used, even long before I was found by the publishers.

I've seen a few of the others, too.  The ones I own (the Matt Pelton books) are great books, and I'd encourage you to give them all a look-over!

Disclaimer and Disclosure of shameless self-promotion:  These are affiliate links.  If you click on any of these links and buy a book, not only do you make me money (a small bit), but you also show the publisher that my readers are a force to be reckoned with!  In other words, you'll get a great book, I'll make a little coin, and my cred with the folks at Cedar Fort goes up.  Win - Win!

I've got a couple more recipes waiting in the wings, and I'll get those posted up here within a day or so.  Thanks for your patience!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nouveau Mexican dinner in the Dutch Ovens

Out here in Utah there are several chains of restaurants that do a kind of mexican/southwest/fusion/modern sorta semi-fast food.  They’re really popular.  They started off with one and have sprouted a few copycat chains as well.

This recipe is basically a copycat of their pulled pork burrito, but, as usual, I can’t quite leave well enough alone!  So, I tweaked it up to my own style.  So, I guess it’s not authentic to the restaurant, but then, it’s not exactly authentic Mexican, anyway!

It’s basically three parts:  pulled pork, beans, and rice all tucked into a flour tortilla and folded up, with some sauces you can pour on top.  I really like it, and my version, while not exactly like the restaurant, was still a really big hit with the family.

I cooked this up in pretty large quantities for all of my wife’s family on our recent travels.  We had all gathered up at Bear Lake in northern Utah to celebrate the fourth of July, and so I cooked this for all of them.  I basically doubled the recipe below.

Part I: Pulled Pork

12” Deep Dutch oven

12-15 coals below, and the same above


  • 2 lbs pork
  • 1 can regular cola
  • ¼ cup brown sugar


  • marinaded pork
  • salt
  • Pepper
  • chili powder
  • Garlic Salt

  • 1 can diced green chilis
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 can red enchilada sauce
  • 1 can regular cola

First I cooked the pork.  This was pretty straightforward.  I put the meat in a ziplock back with the cola and brown sugar and let it sit for a long time.  Were I to do this again, with better preparation, I would let it sit in a fridge overnight.

When the time came to cook the meat, I started up the coals.  I planned on a standard heat, but to cook it a very long time, to make it pull apart easier.  I discarded the marinade, and put the meat in to roast, with the seasonings.   After about an hour or so, I added the canned ingredients.  While it was cooking, I was a little bit worried about there being too much liquid.  I had originally thought it would be like a roast, but it really turned into a braise.  It turned out to be just right, after the pork was shredded.

Which was the final step.  After a second hour (and a half, actually.  Maybe three hours...), it was pretty much ready to fall apart.  I pulled it off the coals, but left it in the dutch oven.  I grabbed a couple of forks and pulled it apart, stirring the braising sauces in as it shredded.

I checked  it frequently for quality control, of course.  It was muy yummy!

In the final hour of cooking the meat, I also cooked the rice and the beans.

Part II: Black Beans

12” shallow Dutch Oven

18-20 coals below

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 large bell pepper, diced
  • 3-4 cloves minced garlic
  • Salt

  • 3 cans black beans, drained
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1-2 cups tomato juice
  • lemon juice
  • chili powder
  • Cumin

  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro

It started with sauteing the first set of ingredients.  As always, when sauteing, make sure that the pan and the oil are plenty hot before adding the ingredients.

The next set of ingredients went in next, and I just let them cook together for a while.  The beans in the can are already soft, so they basically just need to simmer with the other ingredients so all the flavors develop.  Finally, just as the dish was ready to serve, I stirred in the Cilantro.

While the beans were cooking, I also made the rice.

Part III: Rice

10” Dutch Oven

12-15 coals below

  • 1 part rice
  • 1 part chicken stock (maybe more)
  • 1 part water (maybe less)
  • 1 tsp butter
  • salt
  • 3-4 minced garlic cloves
  • Juice of 1-2 limes
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • half a bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped (stirred in before serving)

I know these measurements are a little imprecise, but they work.  I don’t recall exactly how much I used, but I think there were two cups of rice and a total of four cups of liquid.  The rest is just just flavoring.

When I make rice, I put in all the ingredients, then put it on the coals.  I watch it until steam starts venting out from under the lid, and I let it cook for 5-10 minutes more.  Then I remove it from the coals and let it sit for another 10-15 minutes, to cook more and absorb more of the boiling water.  I don’t remove the lid (if I can help it) at all during the process.  Usually, if I follow this procedure, The rice will be done very nicely, ready to fluff and serve!

The dutch ovens themselves make great serving dishes, as each family member filed past and put the amount they wanted on their tortillas.  It was very filling and there was much left over!  A great time!


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


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