You close the iron lid. Arrange the hot coals on top. Now it’s time to let your concoction stew. Or bake. Or whatever it is your creation needs to form into a delicious meal.
I always enjoy dutch oven cooking. I don’t mind cooking generally but there’s something particularly satisfying about cooking a meal in a Dutch oven. It just seems to taste better and the process of cooking has the feel of an alchemist’s magic. Dutch ovens are, of course, the cast iron pots (usually, although aluminum is popular too) that can use charcoal briquets for their heat source, or a campfire and its coals.
You put coals underneath the oven and some on top to manifest the baking process. It generates a surprising amount of heat. The pots or ovens are cast iron – they weigh a ton – and are coated with a cooking oil which gets baked into the iron, creating a non-stick coating. The food doesn’t stick and the iron retains the heat. There’s something magical about it all.
I got into dutch oven cooking a few years ago when I got into Scouting as a leader when my son got into the program. I am now the proud owner of two Dutch ovens and like with every hobby, am starting to accumulate gear to indulge in my hobby. But it’s fun to do, particularly when camping. And you can cook great food. And I mean great. Recipes are easy to get, too, on the Internet.
My most recent Dutch oven cooking session was at an SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) event near Nanaimo, B.C. The SCA is a medieval recreationist society that I and my family have been members of for quite a few years. It’s fun too and Dutch ovens are “period” as they say. That means they were in use during the medieval period. The event was a camping event which involves camping (surprise!) but in medieval outfits and doing medieval activities (like mock sword fighting and the like). But more on that in another blog post.
This one is about Berry Breakfast which I made on the Sunday morning and, man, was it good. It’s a cake infused with berries and garnished with whipping cream. Now that’s a breakfast. Cooked without electricity. Yum.
It was preceded by a Dutch oven stew on the Friday night. Dutch ovens were made for stews and vice versa. The ovens have a penchant for casserole-type dishes, although they can cook meats as well. They’re dynamite in creating sauces! One of these days I’m going to do a camp using Dutch ovens exclusively to cook with. I’ll write about it for you when I do.
Meanwhile, it was a great couple of meals.