Cast-iron cooking: Dutch ovens require patience, trial and errorMOORHEAD - Cast-iron cooking is not for the impatient. Successful campfire cooking requires trial and error, and waiting. Oh, the waiting.
By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM
MOORHEAD - Cast-iron cooking is not for the impatient.
Successful campfire cooking requires trial and error, and waiting.
Oh, the waiting.
On a recent Tuesday evening, Moorhead Boy Scout Troop 635 made a dessert in preparation for an upcoming canoe trip.
The Dutch oven apple cobbler was supposed to cook in about 40 minutes, but it ended up taking over an hour to fully solidify.
The wind and unseasonably cool temperatures didn’t help.
However, that’s part of the learning process.
Scoutmaster Dave Mohn uses cooking to teach his boys time management, resourcefulness and critical thinking – skills they’ll take with them after they graduate.
“They probably could have been 10 or 15 minutes quicker with the prep, but if you push them, they’re not going to learn,” he says.
The boys have to learn to heat the correct number of coals and how to place them in the most effective arrangement to cook, bake or roast whatever the Dutch oven holds.
The Scouts had to start more coals to finish the cobbler. “They still waited it out and enjoyed it,” Mohn says.
The Scoutmaster says Troop 635, which meets at Valley Christian Church, probably cooks more than most troops.
“Some of these guys have virtually no cooking experience when they start,” he says.
Mohn, who grew up cooking, compiled a binder of the troop’s favorite Dutch oven recipes, all of which can be modified for a cast-iron skillet.
Their favorites include chicken pot pie (from scratch!), meatball minestrone soup and crepes.
“They’re quick, they’re easy, and they’re good,” the Fargo man says of the crepes.
With a few tweaks, any recipe can be made campfire-ready.
“Anything you can cook at home, you can do right here,” he says.
Aside from a surprise Friday night meal when they camp out, the boys do all the cooking.
“I’m just here to keep them from lighting themselves on fire,” Mohn says with a laugh.
Egg Bake (single serving)
¼ cup Bisquick
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon cold water
1/5 cup shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) Crack eggs into a large bowl and beat for 1-2 minutes.
3) Blend water into bowl, whip for a short time. Blend milk into bowl, whip. Thoroughly blend in Bisquick.
4) Cut sausages into thirds, adding desired seasoning (salt, pepper, oregano).
5) Melt butter in frying pan over medium heat. Pour egg mixture and sausage into pan. Cook like scrambled eggs until 75 percent done or runny enough to pour into foil-lined 350-degree Dutch oven.
6) Bake in Dutch oven for about 20 minutes or until mixture is 90 percent done. Quickly remove lid and add cheese. Cover and heat until cheese is melted. Use personal-size cast-iron skillet with lid if possible.
Meatball Minestrone Soup
6 cups water
16-ounce can navy beans, rinsed, drained
16-ounce can mixed vegetables
2 tablespoons beef bullion
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dry basil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
4 ounces spaghetti broken into 2-inch pieces
16-ounce can stewed tomatoes
1) Combine first nine ingredients in Dutch oven or soup kettle. Bring to boil and add spaghetti. Reduce heat and simmer until spaghetti is tender.
2) Add tomatoes and meatballs and heat. Discard bay leaf.
3) Garnish with Parmesan cheese. Small amount of sugar can be added to taste.
Apple Cobbler II
Yellow cake mix
1/3 cup oil
1 can apple pie filling
1 can pineapple slices, drained
Reserved liquid from pineapple plus enough water to make ½ cup
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup butter
1) Follow cake mix directions, including pineapple juice in water quantity.
2) Put pineapple slices on bottom of foil-lined Dutch oven, pour cake mixture over them, and pour apple pie filling over cake mixture.
3) Mix brown sugar and butter with fork and sprinkle over top.
4) Bake for 45 minutes in 350-degree Dutch oven, or until done. Try not to open lid excessively.
Recipes courtesy Dave Mohn