In the deep freeze of January, my thoughts were turned toward the warm sunshine of summer when my family usually does a bit of outdoor cooking, including dutch oven cooking. My dad is the king of the cast iron pot in our family...and a collector of over a dozen pots. I figured it was time that I learned a bit more about this style of cooking and signed up for a community ed class.
Dutch ovening in January is a bit less fun that in say, June, but still tasty. After a few misses (ok, if its 20 degrees outside, it takes more coals to keep things baking) I've hit upon the favorite so far.
I've done 3 different versions and I like all 3 for different reasons.
You can do this recipe inside in a regular baking dish too, but if you've been thinking about trying dutch oven, this one's pretty fail-proof.
10 inch dutch oven w/lid
leather gloves/pot holder
24 charcoal briquettes
briquette chimney (optional, but makes it easy to start the charcoal w/ no lighter fluid)
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 Tbs. corn starch
1 cup water
4 cups of mixed raspberries, blackberries, blueberries (I use Costco frozen mix, defrosted)
4 cups of apples, sliced or rhubarb, diced
1 Tbs. instant tapioca pearls
First thing, get the charcoal going in the chimney starter-its going to take about 30 minutes to get it all hot and ashy.
In a small bowl mix the oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and vanilla and stir to make a crumbly mix. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, mix the white sugar and corn starch. Then add water and bring to boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes until thick. Pour over the fruit and gently mix, then add the dry tapioca. Pour into dutch oven. Sprinkle on the crumb topping.
To bake...In a regular oven: Bake for 40 minutes at 350
To bake...In the great outdoors: Make sure the charcoal is ready, it should look gray and not much black showing. I don't have a fire pit...yet...so for now I use some landscape block as a base for the charcoal. Use the tongs to put 12 pieces of charcoal down on the block, then set the dutch oven on top. All the charcoal should be evenly distributed underneath the pot. Put the other 12 pieces on top of the lid of the pot-also evenly distributed. Set the timer for 10 minute increments. Each time the alarm goes off, turn the pot 1/4 turn--this eliminates hot spots. Resist the urge to keep lifting the lid--it lets out the heat. Bake for a total of 40 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
Total tastiness. If you can stand it, let it cool for about 30-40 minutes before serving with some vanilla ice cream or whip cream.
Variations: If you have lots of berries, replace the apples or rhubarb and just go with all berries. I'd up the sugar another 1/2 cup. I suspect I'll try it with other fruits too in the future.