Monthly Archives: May 2017

Fantastic French Dip Sandwiches

This roast was fall-apart tender and soaked with juice and spices. The French dip sandwiches we made were so flavorful. It was hard not to go back and make a second sandwich, but I knew, if I did, I’d be groaning all afternoon.

In March, we were teaching outdoor cooking to adult volunteers at our annual Girl Scouts of Western Washington Outdoor Learning Weekend at Camp Robbinswold. Right after breakfast, we heated up a 12-inch deep Dutch oven on the propane stove, added some olive oil, and seared off the beef chuck roast. Then, we added all the spices and liquids, put on the lid, and set it on the fire.

I used my 12-inch deep because I wasn’t sure how much volume I was really going to have between the roast and the liquid. Our fire was a little hot and the deep oven allowed for some bubbling up room.

We let it simmer all morning. At lunchtime, I pulled it out and sliced it, but it really wasn’t necessary. I could have just pulled it apart in the Dutch oven. I returned the meat to the Dutch oven and the juice, and it was time to assemble our sandwiches. Because the meat is so juicy, I recommend a sturdy roll. If your roll is too soft, it will soak up all the juice and turn to mush. I would also recommend toasting the rolls on a grill or griddle. We did not, and I wish we had; it would have kicked it up yet another notch.

We split our rolls, piled on the juicy beef and topped the sandwiches with 2 slices of Provolone cheese. You could also layer on some sautéed onions, bell peppers, and/or mushrooms. You can ladle juice out of the Dutch oven for dipping, too, but we found it wasn’t necessary at all.

At home, you could make this in a slow cooker. Start it in the morning and just let it go all day on low. If you need to size up this recipe, just add a half pound of beef per extra person and then size up the other ingredients accordingly. I also wouldn’t worry too much about being exact. If you end up with a little more juice, who cares?!

Equipment
12-inch deep Dutch oven or a slow cooker

Ingredients
1 3-pound beef chuck roast
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cans (10.5 ounces each) beef consommé
1/3 cup soy sauce
1 cup Coca-Cola (or just add the whole can)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup onions, dried, minced
1/2 teaspoon oregano, dried
1/4 teaspoon thyme, dried
1 tablespoon beef bouillon, granulated
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 French rolls or hoagie buns
12 slices Provolone cheese

Prep
In camp, in a hot Dutch oven or, at home, in a hot cast iron skillet, add a little olive oil, and sear the beef on all sides. If you’re making this at home in a slow cooker, transfer the beef to the slow cooker. Add all the liquids and spices, put the lid on and cook low and slow. There really isn’t much more than that. Super simple to make. After hours of simmering, slice or pull apart and serve on sturdy French rolls or hoagie rolls with Provolone cheese, and/or grilled onions, peppers, and/or mushrooms. If desired, ladle au jus into bowls for dipping.

Serves 6

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Categories: Dutch Oven, Main Dishes, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Curses, Foiled Again!

To line or not to line your Dutch oven. That is the question.

Some folks are staunchly opposed to lining their Dutch ovens. Others, not so much. I fall into the latter camp. I’m not afraid to cook directly in my Dutch ovens. I do it frequently, but if I’m just baking something or it’s a dump in and bake, or I’m baking something that will be sticky, gooey or otherwise hard to clean, then I go ahead and foil-line for easy clean up.

I don’t foil-line if I need to sear off a piece of meat before adding other ingredients and baking. I don’t foil-line if what I’m making will require a lot of stirring because that will just shred my foil lining and I don’t want to eat aluminum foil. My multi-vitamin supplies me with all the minerals I need, thank you very much.

When you do want a lining in your Dutch oven, there are a couple of ways to do it.

Preformed Foil Liners

You can purchase preformed foil liners. They are sized to fit standard Dutch ovens (10”, 12”, and 14”), so if you have multiple sizes of Dutch ovens, you’ll need to purchase multiple sizes of liners to match. There are a couple of different brands and they range in price, depending on size and quantity that you buy, but expect to pay $1-$3 per liner.

Parchment Liners

A friend of mine uses parchment liners when she’s baking in her Dutch ovens and she’s very happy with them. There are a couple different brands and they are sold in a universal 20-inch diameter size and come 8 to a pack for about $12, which makes them about $1.50 each. You can also make your own with a roll of baking parchment paper. If you make your own, you can cut them to the diameter that you need; however, the widest I found was only 15” wide.

Aluminum Foil

I prefer to foil-line with aluminum foil. No reason, it’s just how I was taught and what I’ve always done. I buy the extra-wide, heavy-duty aluminum foil. I tear off what I think I will need and gently fold and form it to the inside of my oven. I use the backs of my hands; otherwise, I risk my fingers poking through and ruining my foil. After I have it all formed and pressed against the sides, I tear off the extra foil or fold it inside the oven.

A rookie mistake I often see with foil-lining is folding the excess foil over the edge of the oven. This prevents the oven from sealing tightly, which is what Dutch ovens are meant to do.

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Categories: Cooking Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Apple Fritter Pull-Aparts

I love apple fritters. They are one of my favorite donuts. If you also love apple fritters, you will love these pull-aparts. Little bits of apple tucked into warm chunks of cinnamon pastry, buttery and sugary, and slathered in frosting. What’s not to love!

Last month at Fort Ebey State Park, I made this for the scoutmasters and it was a huge hit. Fresh out of the oven, the apple fritter pull-aparts were warm and gooey, and the apples were still a little al dente. We all loved it! I served them with sausages and it was a great breakfast on a chilly Sunday morning.

Equipment
12-inch Dutch oven, small bowl, knife, cutting board.

Ingredients
3 cups apples (about 4 medium apples), peeled, cored, and diced small
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cans Pillsbury Grands! Cinnamon Rolls (5 rolls each)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoon heavy whipping cream or milk, optional

Prep
Prep the apples and place in a bowl with the 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Stir to combine and set aside. Line your Dutch oven with foil, grease the foil, and then start 25 coals.

While the coals are starting, cut each cinnamon roll into 6 pieces. They’ll fall apart and that’s okay. Sprinkle the pieces evenly in the Dutch oven. Sprinkle the apples over the cinnamon roll pieces. Stir the melted butter and brown sugar together, and then pour over the top of the apples and cinnamon rolls.

Bake in a 350°F oven, using 17 coals on the lid and 8 underneath, for 28-33 minutes.

Just before serving, place the icing that came with the cinnamon rolls in a small bowl or a tin cup. Heat just long enough to make it pourable. Stir in heavy whipping cream (or milk) to make it more of a glaze, and then pour over the top. Serve warm.

Serves 10-12

This post has been shared at Homestead Bloggers Network. If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, subscribe to Chuck Wagoneer by clicking on the Follow Us button in the upper right corner and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest updates and more stuff!

Categories: Breakfasts, Dutch Oven, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Frittatas, Stratas, and Quiche, Oh My

Frittatas, stratas, and quiche are all egg dishes typically served for breakfast or brunch, although you could also serve them for dinner. They are very similar and often get confused with one another. They all include eggs and usually cheese. They may also include meat, seafood, and/or vegetables. They are all savory dishes; however, a strata could go sweet. They are great for feeding groups, large or small.

Frittata

You could describe a frittata as a crustless quiche. You could also describe it as a baked omelet. Either way, it is easy to make at home and in camp. Because it has no crust, a frittata is naturally gluten free. If you leave out the cheese or substitute a non dairy cheese then it becomes dairy free. If you leave out meat, now it’s vegetarian. Frittatas are very versatile.

To make at home, you’ll need a cast iron skillet or an oven safe skillet. In camp, you’ll need a Dutch oven. Start by browning the meat and sautéing the vegetables. If you want your vegetables to be crisp, you could skip that step. Whisk together the eggs, cheese and any seasonings, and pour over the top of the meats and vegetables. And then you bake it. If you wanted, you could sprinkle a little more cheese on top during the last 5 minutes of baking. Serve warm. It makes a great breakfast any time of year. Here are a couple of our favorite frittatas.

Denver Frittata

Zucchini and Onion Frittata

Ham and Cheese and Broccoli Frittata

Strata

Literally meaning layers, a strata is a layered breakfast casserole made from a mixture of bread, eggs, milk, and cheese. A savory version may also include meat or vegetables. A sweet version may include fruit. The usual preparation requires the bread to be layered with the filling; however, depending on the recipe, you could also toss everything together like a salad before pouring the egg mixture over the top. The dish requires a rest of anywhere between one hour and overnight before it is baked. This allows the bread to soak up the egg mixture. A strata could also be described as a French toast casserole or a bread pudding. Stratas can be prepped the night before and then placed in the refrigerator to rest. In the morning, you just pull it out and pop it into the oven.

To make at home, you’ll need a casserole dish. In camp, you’ll need a Dutch oven or you could make it in a casserole dish and bake it in a box oven. Meats will need to be browned and vegetables could be sautéed to soften them. Bread will need to be cubed or torn into chunks. To increase the bread’s ability to absorb the egg mixture, some recipes recommend using stale or dried bread. Serve warm. Here are a couple of our favorite stratas.

Sausage Croissant Strata

Fruity French Toast Casserole

Blueberry French Toast Cobbler

Quiche

Quiche has an open-faced pastry crust and a filling of eggs and milk or cream which, when baked, becomes a custard. It can be made with cheese, vegetables, meat and seafood. A quiche is a frittata in a pie crust. You wouldn’t think the pie crust would add much in the way of flavor, but it actually brings a lot to the party and really gives the dish its signature flavor. Quiche can be served hot or cold although I prefer mine served hot. In the late ‘70s, quiche became extremely popular and they were featured everywhere, including television and movies. By the early ‘80s, the fad seemed to fade; however, quiche has remained steady brunch and party food since.

At home, you’ll need a pie or tart pan. In camp, I would also use a pie or tart pan and bake it in a box oven. You can use a store-bought crust or make your own. Just like the others, meats would need to be browned first and vegetables could be sautéed to soften them. I haven’t actually made a quiche in camp yet, but I might have to now.

Again, these are all great dishes for serving to groups, large and small. They are simple to throw together and, for camping, a lot of prep work could be done ahead of time at home. You can serve them with potato dishes, breads, fruits, or just about anything.

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Categories: Under the Lid | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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