Posts Tagged With: camp kitchen

Sausage and Kale Soup

Last week, around dinner time, I received a text from the mom of one of our Boy Scouts, a scout who is close to Eagling I might add. She sent a picture of her youngest son Nathan standing at the stove, stirring a pot. She wrote, “Sausage and kale soup from scratch! The Cooking Merit Badge is the best thing that ever happened to me!” I couldn’t be more proud or thrilled.

This is one of those moments when you dust off your hands and walk away saying, “My work here is done!” Nathan has embraced what he’s learned from a merit badge and he is applying it to his everyday life. His cooking skills will continue to grow and he’ll use them his whole life. And, just at look at that smile. He’s so proud of himself and his smile could light an entire city!

So, after the rave reviews from his family, we had to make the soup ourselves (and so I could photograph it). This is an easy soup to make in camp. It has a little prep and could easily be gotten onto the picnic table in about 30 minutes, making it a great meal for a Friday night after rolling into camp and setting up.

If you are a kale fan, you should like this soup. It’s warm and filling, but not heavy. We served it with our favorite cornbread. You could also make a crusty artisan bread. Any bread would go nicely.

For the sausage, Nathan used turkey sausage. We used a hot Italian pork sausage. Choose your sausage according to your likes and go as mild or as spicy as you want. The recipe calls for wine, which you could omit and just add more chicken stock. I opted to include the wine and used a chardonnay. For the kale, strip the leaves off the stocks and discard the stocks. The leaves just need a rough chop.

Equipment
6-quart Dutch oven or stock pot, knife, cutting board.

Ingredients
20 ounces sausage, ground or links (remove casings)
1 medium onion, diced
8 cups kale, fresh, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup white wine
3 ¼ cups chicken stock
1 (15-ounce) can white kidney or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
¼ teaspoon pepper

Prep
Chop the vegetables, drain and rinse the beans, and get everything measured out and ready. Once you start cooking, this one moves pretty quickly. In your Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook the sausage and onion until the sausage is no longer pink. Remove and set aside. Add the kale to the Dutch oven and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add wine and cook 2 minutes. Stir in the sausage and onions, and the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until kale is tender.

Serves 8

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Categories: Main Dishes, Meals in 30 Minutes, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Camp Kitchen Setups

When we camp, we eat well. I wouldn’t call it gourmet, but it’s healthy (most of the time), balanced, nutritious, and very satisfying. And, we’re constantly trying to change things up. We each have our go-to recipes and our specialties, but we’re always on the hunt for something different. Just like we change our camping locations between beach, mountains, lake, etc., and we change our activities between biking, fishing, canoeing, etc., so we change up our camp menus. It’s all in the spirit of keeping it interesting. None of us like to settle for the same old stuff. All it takes is a little planning, a little culinary ambition, and a good camp kitchen setup, and you, too, can cook like a chef and eat like a king or a queen.

Here’s what I recommend for a good camp kitchen setup:

Chuck Box

You need all your cooking essentials organized and stored in one place. A chuck box can be as simple and economical as a large plastic tote or as complex as a hand-crafted wooden box (DIY tutorials are widely available online). Ideally, your chuck box has compartments or smaller containers for your smaller cooking utensils. It should include all the basic things you need from pots and bowls to knives and vegetable peelers. I always pack heavy-duty aluminum foil for making foil packets. It’s fun to lay out a selection of proteins, veggies, spices, and sauces and everyone assembles their own dinner and cooks it over a fire or coals. For a complete list of what my chuck box includes, see my blog post, “Think Inside the Box Part 1-Your Camp Kitchen.”

Stove

A reliable stove system is central to every serious camp kitchen. Depending on the amount of packing space in your vehicle, you can decide to go with a compact two-burner system that runs on a one-pound propane canister or you can equip yourself with a larger and more powerful two- or three-burner system that runs on a standard 20-pound propane tank. Generally, you just want to make sure that each burner on the stove you select puts out at least 10,000 BTU/hr, which is the average output of a household stove burner. A number of the larger models that run on standard 20-pound propane tanks will crank out an impressive 30,000 BTU/hr per burner, providing you with an immense range of culinary ability. Many models can also be accessorized with grill boxes and griddles, which make serving up a stack of pancakes or juicy T-bone steaks a simple task.

Cooler

One or two quality hard-shell coolers will insulate and protect your food from being crushed in a fully packed vehicle. For safe food handling, it’s important that your iced-cooler keep your foods at or below 40°F. If you can, do your prep work before leaving home. Label your sealed bags of pre-chopped veggies and meats specific to each meal, which allows you to start cooking with minimal prep time. If you plan on packing lots of canned and bottled beverages, consider bringing a second beverage-specific cooler. Beverage coolers are opened and closed frequently, which allows chilled air to quickly escape. If your food is stored in a separate cooler that is opened less frequently, your temperature-sensitive foods will stay chilled for a longer period of time. For more cooler packing tips, see my blog posts, “Chillin’ With Your Cooler” and “Think Inside the Box Part 3-Your Camp Refrigerator.”

Food Tote

Just like a cooler, a hard-sided plastic tote will protect your food from being crushed in a fully packed vehicle. It will also protect your food from sun and rain and help keep critters out in the middle of the night. Even if you are just making hamburgers, no one wants a bun that’s been flattened like a pancake. For more Food Tote tips, see my blog post, “Think Inside the Box Part 2-Your Camp Pantry.”

Table

Even if you do the bulk of your prep work at home, you will still need a place to assemble and prepare your meals. A sturdy camp table is a must-have for your camp kitchen. Not only does it provide valuable work space, but you can also use it like a buffet table.

Shelter

We usually pack a pop up for a cook shelter. It provides shade when it’s sunny and protection from the rain when it is not, which is most of the time! I like to string a small clothesline along one side for washing cloths and drying towels. Sometimes I attach a tarp to one side and stake out the tarp to provide added shade for my coolers.

Extras

In my opinion, an outdoor kitchen wouldn’t be complete without at least one cast iron Dutch oven. From casseroles to cakes, a Dutch oven will allow you to bake just about anything you can bake in your oven at home. A Dutch oven gives you the versatility to prepare a much wider range of dishes. Its rugged durability and its ability to evenly distribute heat, allowing you to cover it with charcoal briquettes, position it in hot coals near an open fire, or place it on the stove top, make it a valuable component of your camp kitchen. For more information about what you need to support your Dutch ovens, see my blog post, “The Right Tool for the Right Job.”

So, there you have it. A good camp kitchen setup will go along way toward making every camping trip a successful one.

What’s in your Chuck box?

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Artisan Bread in Camp

There is something almost euphoric about the smell of fresh baked bread. When you smell it in camp it is downright magical.

This is a simple, rustic bread that goes together easy and requires no kneading. Yes, you read correctly, a yeast dough that requires no kneading. I used one of my 12-inch-deep Dutch ovens because I wanted the extra height. You could also use a regular 12-inch Dutch oven, but the top might get a little extra browned. You may have to adjust your coals.

Speaking of coals, I didn’t use the standard 2:1 ratio of coals (2 coals on the lid for every coal underneath). I wanted more heat coming from the top so the underside wouldn’t burn. I used a 3:1 ratio (3 coals on the lid for every coal underneath) and I think that is perfect.

This bread has a nice, crusty outside and the inside is soft and fluffy. At home, you could start it the night before and bake it for dinner the next day. In camp, you could start it in the morning and bake it for dinner that night. If you are making this at home in a conventional oven, bake it in a Dutch oven with the lid on for 30 minutes and then remove the lid and bake another 15 minutes to brown the outside.

Serve it warm, fresh out of the oven with some softened butter, and you’ll have some happy campers.

Equipment
12-inch-deep Dutch oven, mixing bowl, measuring cup and spoons, wooden spoon.

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon dry yeast (active dry or highly active dry work best; I used active dry)
1 ½ cups lukewarm water (110-115 degrees)
Extra flour for your board and hands

Prep
On your propane stove, gently warm some water to 110-115 degrees. If you overshoot, just remove from the heat and allow it to cool. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the water and stir using a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a shaggy, but cohesive dough. You’ll know when you get there.

Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in a safe place protected from critters. Let the dough sit for 8-24 hours. The dough will bubble up and rise.

About an hour and a half before you want to eat the bread, start 40 coals (if you are using 12-inch Dutch oven and not a 12-inch-deep, adjust your coals down). Heat your Dutch oven to 450°F, using 30 coals on the lid and 10 underneath, for 30 minutes.

While your Dutch oven preheats, turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and, with floured hands, form the dough into a ball. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap and let rest. Start a fresh batch of coals.

After the 30 minutes are up, with floured hands, place the bread dough into the preheated Dutch oven. I placed my bread dough onto a piece of parchment paper and then lowered the dough on the paper into the oven. Refresh the coals. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Remove the bread and place on a cutting board, letting it rest for about 5 minutes. Slice and serve!

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Teach Them While They’re Young

9-year-old Alex sautéing onions for Chicken Mini Pies.

Back in the old days (and by that I mean only a few generations ago), it took a lot of work to get a meal on the table and children, by necessity, had to help out. Our great-grandmothers didn’t have fancy shmancy mixers and food processors and bread machines. Their local grocery stores didn’t have aisle upon aisle of packaged processed foods nor could they just go online and order a meal in a box delivered to the homestead by Pony Express. Bread had to be kneaded, fruits and vegetables had to be chopped, and meats had to be prepared all by hand. So, the more hands you had helping, the faster a meal could be prepared.

While children were in the kitchen helping, they were learning valuable life skills. In addition to learning how to cook, how to tend a fire, and how to use knives, children learned organization, leadership, and planning skills. They learned responsibility. And, when children help in the food preparation, they are more likely to eat it, which meant fewer picky eaters.

But somewhere along the way, we stopped including and instructing our children in meal preparation and now we have adults who don’t know how to cook unless it comes out of a box or from the freezer or uses a microwave. I know whole families who eat out three to five times a week. I know kids who believe the only kind of macaroni and cheese is the orange kind that comes out of a blue box.

I understand that we’re all very busy and sometimes it is just easier and faster to do it ourselves. We tell our children, “You run along and play and I’ll get dinner on the table.” I get that. Been there, done that. However, this needs to be the exception and not the rule. We need to get our children into the kitchen on a regular basis whether it’s at home or in camp so they can learn and practice these valuable life skills.

On my Resources page is an Outdoor Cooking Skill Progression, and while it is geared for outdoor cooking it could be easily adapted to the home kitchen.

6-year-old Alex is starting a batch of chocolate chip cookies while his 8-year-old sister Amelia watches.

Even a small child can sit at a table and tear lettuce for a salad or add already measured ingredients to a bowl or assemble sandwiches. As they get into elementary school, teach them knife safety and knife skills. Start them cutting soft foods and progress them up to harder foods. Teach them fire safety and start them at the stove simply heating up a can of soup or making their beloved orange macaroni and cheese from the blue box. When they develop some hand-eye coordination, teach them the fine art of pancake flipping.

Things won’t be done perfectly, and spills and messes may happen. Clean up may take a little longer sometimes. But the skills they are learning will last them their whole life and you’ll be creating fond memories of your time together in the kitchen.

Some of our family’s best memories are in the kitchen cooking together. We started out bumping butts and stepping on each other’s toes as we moved around the kitchen. Today, if you were to observe me and my daughter in our morning routine of making coffee, taking vitamins, and assembling lunches, it would look like a finely choreographed dance as we just instinctively move around each other. Occasionally, we still collide and it usually causes a giggle or two or sometimes results in a mess on the floor, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Someday, when I am old and gray and can no longer hold a knife steady in my hand, I know that I will be well fed by my son and my daughter who both know their way around a kitchen.

Thank you Sonya, who commented on a recent post and inspired me to write this one. Keep up the good fight, girl. Good cooking skills are life skills and important ones to have.

Teach them while they are young and someday they will thank you or, better yet, they will prepare an amazing meal for you.

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From left is cousin Bobby Lynn, Alex, and Amelia at Lake Wenatchee State Park.

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Orange Creamsicle Dump Cake

This cake tastes just like an orange creamsicle. It was a hit at the Scoutmaster Dinner.

Our scoutmaster, Mr. Murray, first made this dump cake last summer while we were at Fire Mountain Scout Camp. It was a hit with the troop. A couple weeks ago, he decided to make it for our annual Scoutmaster Dinner, and he kicked it up a notch by adding Triple Sec, an orange-flavored liquor made from the dried peels of bitter and/or sweet oranges.

Triple Sec may be consumed neat as a digestif or on the rocks, but it is more often used as an ingredient in a variety of cocktails, such as sangria, margarita, Kamikaze, White Lady, Long Island Iced Tea, Sidecar, Skittle Bomb, Corpse Reviver #2, and Cosmopolitan. There’s your bartending tip for the day.

If you are at all worried about the alcohol, it bakes out and just leaves behind orange flavor. If you don’t happen to have a bottle of Triple Sec sitting in your cupboard, you could also just leave it out. There is plenty of orange flavor in the soda pop; the Triple Sec just adds a little extra pop of orange.

If you wanted to, you could also add fruit in the bottom and turn this into a cobbler. Choose a fruit that would complement the orange flavor of the cake.

When we’re camping, it’s always fun to throwdown with Mr. Murray and Mrs. Stark. Between the three of us, we can produce some pretty good camp grub. Here’s how Mr. Murray made his Orange Creamsicle Dump Cake.

Equipment
12-inch Dutch oven or 9×13 baking dish, mixing bowl, rubber spatula.

Ingredients
1 white cake mix (Mr. Murray chose Betty Crocker French Vanilla)
1 12-ounce bottle of Fanta Orange Soda
2-4 ounces of Triple Sec orange liquor

Prep
Line your Dutch oven with foil (if you choose to) and spray it with cooking spray. Start 25 coals. In a bowl, mix together the dry cake mix, orange soda, and the orange liquor until just combined. Be careful, it may get foamy. Pour cake and orange soda mixture into the Dutch oven.

Bake in a 350°F oven, using 17 coals on the lid and 8 underneath, for 35-40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Serves 8-10

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Gourmet Camp Cooking

Throughout the year, our Boy Scout troop holds fundraisers. The more fundraising we can do, the fewer out-of-pocket expenses there are for our scouts and our scout families, and we never want money to be the reason why a boy doesn’t scout.

One of the events we do is an auction and one of the live auction items every year is what we call the Scoutmaster Dinner. The dinner is hosted at the home of one of our volunteers and the dinner is completely prepared and served to guests by our troop’s scoutmasters. Over the years, we have had some pretty amazing dinners because some of our scoutmasters, including yours truly, are darned good cooks.

This year, we decided to make it an entirely camp-cooked meal. We wanted to show that you can make a gourmet meal in camp so we pulled out all the stops. Our menu was filet mignon, lobster mac and cheese, grilled vegetables, garden salad, fresh baked breads, and for dessert Scoutmaster Murray made an orange soda orange liquor dump cake and I made death by chocolate. For beverages, we had a peach sangria and lemonade.

I was very busy so I didn’t get all the pictures I had hoped to. I believe at one point we had six Dutch ovens going! You could make this meal using a griddle or a grill, Dutch ovens, box ovens, and foil packets. It’s very doable in camp. Everything tasted amazing.

Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon

Fresh Baked Bread

Lobster Mac & Cheese

Orange Soda & Orange Liquor Dump Cake

Death by Chocolate

Peach Sangria and Lemonade

It was a great evening with good friends, good conversation, lots of laughter and an amazing meal. So, don’t be afraid to cook something fancy in camp. It might take a little more effort, but you won’t regret it.

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Kung Pao Chicken in Camp

When we go camping, we love to challenge ourselves to make meals you wouldn’t normally eat while camping. We’ve made stir fry in camp before so we know it makes great grub, fast and easy. Our go-to favorite has always been Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry. This time, we decided to make Kung Pao Chicken, one of my hubby’s favorites when we go out for Chinese food. The challenge was trying to replicate the signature flavors of this stir fry.

This was so much fun to make. It has all the veggies we love in Kung Pao Chicken with a smooth, slightly spicy sauce and crunchy peanuts. Dice your veggies and chicken as large or as small as you like. You can make this in a large cast-iron skillet, a cast iron wok or in a Dutch oven over coals or propane stove. Like any stir fry, you really want to do all of your prep work ahead of time so that when you put flame to your vessel you are ready to lock and load.

When we were shopping, we had a hard time finding unsalted peanuts so we ended up getting lightly salted cocktail peanuts, but we omitted the salt and it came out great. If you are concerned about salt, you can opt for low-sodium soy sauce and you can look a little harder for the unsalted peanuts. When we were stir frying, we waited until almost the end before we added the zucchini, which kept it firm and just the way we like it. We served our Kung Pao Chicken with white, long-grain rice because my son and daughter love rice.

Ingredients
5-6 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 4 tablespoons water
3-4 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons peanut oil
12 dried Asian chile peppers, snipped into small pieces
9 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, diced small
1 ½ stalks celery, very finely sliced
2 large red bell pepper, cut into large chunks
1 medium white onion
1-2 medium zucchini
3/4 cup unsalted peanuts
Salt to taste
3 green onions, sliced
Cooked lo mein or chow mein noodles, or white rice for serving

Prep
Dice all the vegetables and the chicken. For the sauce, combine the soy sauce, honey, ginger, cornstarch slurry, rice wine vinegar, garlic, and black pepper in a bowl. At this point, you might want to start your rice or noodles.

In a large skillet, wok or Dutch oven, heat the peanut oil over medium-high heat. Drop in the chiles and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds to release the heat. Add the chicken and fry until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the chicken from the skillet. Add the white onion, celery, and red bell pepper and cook for 1 minute, then return the chicken to the skillet. Add the zucchini. Pour in the sauce mixture and cook until the sauce has thickened, a couple of minutes. Add the peanuts and toss together.

Serve over noodles or rice and garnish with sliced green onions. If the sauce becomes too thick, you can loosen it with a little water.

Serves 9

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Think Outside the Box: Pre-Packaged Foods

I like to cook fresh and from scratch as much as possible. I feel it gives me more control over the ingredients and allows more flexibility when working with allergies and other dietary restrictions.

However, for my younger cooks, I understand that going with pre-packaged foods can make it easier for them to get a meal onto the picnic table when we are camping. And, unlike me, they come to camp to play and not to cook. Pre-packaged foods are great ways to cut corners and allow you to get a meal on the picnic table much faster.

Using things like refrigerated biscuits, bread, and pizza dough are great shortcuts.

Pre-packaged pasta dishes and rice dishes are self-contained entrees and/or side dishes. In addition, many of these work well for backpacking because they are dehydrated and, for the most part, just need water.

But just because it comes out of a box or a pouch doesn’t mean you are limited to the contents of the container. You need to think outside the box or the pouch.

For example, let’s take the classic boxed macaroni and cheese. You could make the macaroni and cheese according to the directions on the box, but why stop there? You could add a protein to it like diced ham or hot dog, bacon, cooked diced chicken, cooked ground beef or sausage. You could add fresh vegetables to it like a diced white or yellow onion, a diced red or green bell pepper, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini. By doing this, you add bulk to the dish so it will feed more, you add freshness and more nutrition, and you have a full blown main dish.

There is a pre-packaged Spanish rice side dish that we like. You could make your favorite brand of Spanish rice according to the directions on the package, but then you could add cooked chicken or beef, a can of black beans, corn, diced green chilies, and some cheese. You could serve it in a bowl, on a plate over a pile of tortilla chips, or rolled up in a tortilla burrito-style. Top it with some shredded lettuce, guacamole, and/or some sour cream and you have a great, simple meal.

Pre-packaged foods can make great bases to start from. Instead of pasta sauce from scratch, start with a jar of your favorite sauce and add fresh herbs and vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, and onion.

So, the next time you’re looking to make cooking in camp a little easier or if you need to get a meal on the table a little faster, start with a pre-packaged food, but don’t just settle for what’s in the box or the pouch. Add to it, add some protein, add some freshness in the way of fresh herbs and vegetables, and you’ll take what might have been just okay to a whole new level.

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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

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!

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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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