Quick Tips and Delicious Recipes for Dutch Oven Cooking

The RV Atlas Podcast

Quick Tips and Delicious Recipes for Dutch Oven Cooking

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Quick Tips and Delicious Recipes for Dutch Oven Cooking

Many of our fans and podcast listeners love to cook at the campground using cast iron. For some of you that might mean bringing a 10 or 12 inch skillet and making eggs or pancakes, or searing a steak. But for others, cooking at the campground means Dutch oven cooking. Dutch oven aficionados love nothing more than lighting up the coals in your fire pit, and preparing a delicious meal or desert that the whole family will love. For many campers–Dutch Oven cooking is the quintessential way to cook at the campground.

We have covered Dutch Oven cooking on our blog and podcast several times. But our podcast listeners always ask for more. So this summer we asked Linda Ly to come on The RV Atlas podcast and share some quick tips for Dutch Oven Cooking. We also asked her to share a few of her Dutch Oven recipes from her wonderful cookbooks.

Linda Ly is the author of The Backyard Fire Cookbook: Get Outside and Master Ember, Roasting, Charcoal Grilling, Cast-Iron Cooking, and Live-Fire Cooking, and of The New Camp Cookbook: Gourmet Grub for Campers, Road Trippers, and Adventurers among other bestselling books. She is also the author behind gardenbetty.com, a hit blog that is filled with “tips and tricks for eating well and living well” in our backyards and in the great outdoors.  Linda and her family live in Bend, Oregon.

Linda’s books are absolutely gorgeous and we can’t recommend them enough. The photography in the books is by her husband, Will Taylor. The combination of Linda’s writing and recipes and Will’s photography is absolutely magical. We find ourselves pulling these books off the shelves all of the time for practical tips and for inspiration for our next great meal at the campground.

To listen to our interview with Linda Ly about Dutch Oven cooking please click on the media player above, or subscribe to The RV Atlas podcast wherever you get your shows!

Linda’s Quick Tips for Dutch Oven Cooking!

  1. Don’t bring your nice Dutch oven from home to the campsite—get the classic campfire Dutch oven that has three feet and a flanged lid, which allow for cooking with coals.
  2. If you plan to make dessert after dinner in the same Dutch oven, use a pre-formed dutch oven liner for easy cleanup between meals.
  3. Always make a separate smaller fire for Dutch oven cooking so you can have a bigger warming fire to sit around while waiting for your food to cook.
  4. When baking, remember to rotate your Dutch oven periodically to avoid hotspots and get more even heating. This is also a good time to check the coals and see if you need to add more.
  5. Keep a steady supply of coals ready to replenish your cooking coals as needed. There is nothing worse than running out of good coals when you’re in the middle of making a recipe!
  6. Some people claim you don’t need to clean cast iron because it takes off the seasoning, but that’s a myth. You should always wash your cast-iron Dutch oven with a mild soap to remove food residue and other gunk. Otherwise, next time you’ll just end up cooking on rancid oil and burnt-on food bits. Soap does not take off proper seasoning (which is polymerized oil, not just a slick of oil that you wipe on to make the surface nonstick).
  7. Never put cold water in a hot Dutch oven. The cast iron can actually crack if you do so. Let it cool off first before washing. 

We talked about a whole bunch of Dutch oven cooking recipes with Linda on the podcast. Thankfully, her publisher was gracious enough to let us reprint two of them here! Here are Linda’s delicious recipe for Dutch Oven Spinach and Artichoke Frittatas and her Dutch Oven Old School Lasagna.

Dutch Oven Spinach and Artichoke Frittata

Frittatas are one of those meals I affectionately call “kitchen pantry” dishes, as you can add almost anything from your kitchen (pantry or not) to a custardlike base of eggs. While traditional frittatas require flipping (or starting on the stove and finishing in the oven), a Dutch oven frittata is a one-pot wonder, cooking in the same vessel, same spot. Spinach and artichokes are a classic pairing, but dig through your cooler for other add-ins that may be languishing at the end of your camping trip. Last night’s leftover sausage, half an avocado, some sprigs of basil, and the odds and ends from cans and jars are all fair game.

MAKES 4 SERVINGS

12 large eggs
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1/2 cup (56 g) shredded sharp
Cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Olive oil spray
2 medium shallots, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups (300 g) packed baby
spinach
1 (14-ounce/400 g) can
artichoke hearts, drained
and chopped
1/2 cup (50 g) grated
Parmesan cheese
Prepare a mound of wood coals, hardwood lump charcoal, or charcoal briquettes. Move about half the coals to the cooking pit and arrange them in a full spread.
In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the milk, Cheddar, and salt.
Spray a dutch oven with oil and heat it over the coals. Add the shallots and garlic to the oven and cook until the shallots start to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the artichokes and stir to combine.
Move the oven off the coals and arrange the coals in a ring. Set the oven on the coals, pour the egg mixture evenly over the vegetables, and give a quick stir to incorporate all of the ingredients. Cook undisturbed until the eggs start to set around the edges, 3 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top, cover, and place1 ½ rings of coals on the lid.
Bake over medium heat until the eggs are puffy and the frittata jiggles slightly when you push on it, about 15 minutes.
Remove the oven from the heat, uncover, and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Dutch Oven Old-School Lasagna

Ooey gooey goodness was once only possible at home, in an oven, where layer upon layer of pasta, cheese, and sauce bubbled together in a tidy rectangular baking dish. But classic lasagna can now be had in camp! It might be round, but it’s got all the flavors and layers you know and love. I use oven-ready noodles in this recipe to save the extra step of boiling them (and dirtying another pot . . . because who wants to do more dishes?).
Makes 6 Servings
For the Meat Sauce
1/2 pound (226 g) lean
ground beef
1/2 pound (226 g) Italian
sausage, casing removed
1 medium yellow onion,
chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28-ounce/800 g) can
crushed tomatoes
1 (8-ounce/226 g) can
tomato sauce
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon Italian
seasoning
1 teaspoon red
pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground black
pepper
For the Cheese Mixture
2 large eggs
41/2 cups (500 g) shredded
mozzarella cheese, divided
2 cups (450 g) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (50 g) grated
Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 cup (25 g) chopped fresh
parsley leaves, plus more for
garnishing
For the Lasagna
Olive oil spray
9 uncooked oven-ready
lasagna noodles
3 cups packed baby spinach
To make the meat sauce, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the ground beef and sausage. Flatten the meat, spread it across the skillet, and cook until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Stir to break up the meat and continue cooking until browned all over, 3 to 5 minutes more. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion starts to turn translucent, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, fennel seeds, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare a mound of wood coals, hardwood lump charcoal, or charcoal briquettes.
To make the cheese mixture, in a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, 4 cups (450 g) of the mozzarella, the ricotta, ¼ cup (25 g) of the
Parmesan, and the parsley. Stir until well combined.
To assemble the lasagna, lightly spray a dutch oven with oil. Spoon one-third of the meat sauce into the oven, followed by one-third of the noodles, one-half of the cheese mixture, and one-half of the spinach. (Break the noodles into pieces to fit the oven.) Repeat with the remaining ingredients, finishing with a layer of meat sauce. Top with the remaining ½ cup (56 g) mozzarella and remaining ¼ cup(25 g) Parmesan.
Move about a quart’s worth of coals to the cooking pit and arrangethem in a ring (see pages 32 to 34). Cover the oven, set it on the ringof coals, and place 1 ½ rings of coals on the lid.
Bake over medium heat for about 30 minutes, until all of the cheeses are melted and the noodles are tender. Replenish the coals as needed to maintain medium heat and rotate the oven and lid halfway through for even cooking. Let stand, uncovered, for 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with parsley.
Thanks to Linda Ly for coming on The RV Atlas podcast and sharing her love for Dutch oven cooking!!

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