Saturday, May 23, 2015

Cookin' Nekkid.....

Good evening everyone, if you're lucky enough to be camping this Memorial Day weekend, then you're lucky enough.  Here's hoping everyone is having a great weekend no matter what they are doing or where they are.  

Now for the title of tonight's blog post.  As we told you last post, Rob was cooking supper in his new Cast Iron Dutch Oven.  He was fixing a beef pot pie dish, and NOT using a liner.  Now this sounds scary to most people, but Rob said everything would be fine.  

Oh before we get started, here's a quick picture of Trisha and Jackson at one of our favorite overlooks along this section of the Blue Ridge Parkway this evening after supper......

So to start our supper, Rob set up his cooking station and got some charcoal started.....

Next, here is an ingredients list for tonight's meal:

1 - 1.5 lbs of stew beef.  Rob likes to cut his even smaller that it normally is from the grocery story.
1 med onion chopped.  Coarse to fine as you desire
1 cup or so of frozen mixed veggies.  Again, add as little or as much as you like or need to.
3 or 4 small (new) red potatoes cut up.  Rob left the skins on.  
1 pack of AuJus seasoning mix.  Rob used two in tonights supper, and we both though one would be just right.
Enough water to just cover all the ingredients at the beginning of the cooking process.
1 can of whop biscuits for later.

Rob used just enough oil to cover the bottom of the Dutch Oven and all his coals underneath it to sear the meat and wilt the onions.

He then redistributed the coals in the normal cooking pattern, added the rest of the ingredients (except the biscuits) to the Dutch Oven, stirred everything well, and let the cooking begin.  

At the one hour mark, Rob added a fresh set of coals.  At the 1.5 hour mark, Rob added the biscuits and about 25 minutes later, supper was ready.

Our Beef Pot pie was great, and smelled wonderful while cooking.  

Now to the fun part.  The clean up.  See, the title "Cookin' Nekkid.."  referred to the fact that no liner, was used to minimize the possibility of food sticking to the Dutch Oven.  Rob did this on purpose for several reasons, the main one being to show the clean up was really no big issue at all.

First thing to clean up the Dutch Oven was to scrape/wipe out as much food residue as possible.  Then, using hot tap water from Pod, and a small kitchen scrub brush from Pod, he was able to clean out the rest of the residue.  Next step was to dry everything real good.  Finally he used Crisco cooking oil on a paper towel to oil the inside of the Dutch Oven and sides.

Then he simply repeated all the steps he used for the body of the Dutch Oven on the lid.

Here you can see, all clean, oiled, and ready for next time.  That's the neat thing about cooking with cast iron, the more you use it, the better it gets.  So if you have some at home, dig it out, oil it up, and get cooking (that is if you're not already)!  

Note:  Rob stores his Dutch Oven in the covered can with the body sitting on the lid.  If you keep you lid on the top of the Dutch Oven, be sure to use a couple folded paper towels or something to allow the Dutch Oven to "breath".

Here are a few observations about this afternoons meal:

1.  From start to finish, took about three hours.  It required two sets of coals.  Don't let this scare you off.  Getting up to light the second set of coals is a good excuse to use the potty and get something else to drink.

2.  Cooking in a Dutch Oven really reduces the amount of charcoal used to cook this amount of food.

3.  This particular recipe can be adjusted to "stretch" it by adding more veggies, etc.

4.  Rob really doesn't use exact recipes most times, in fact he says any recipe that calls for more than 5 ingredients is just too complicated.  Therefore, don't be afraid to improvise or just make up your own recipe.

5.  It was great having a "one-pot" supper.  Much less clean up.

6.  Speaking of clean-up.  The clean-up was really easy and don't let not using a liner in your Dutch Oven scare you away from certain recipes.  

Well that's about it for this evening.  We did see some wild turkey and some deer on our Parkway drive this evening too.

Until next time, stay safe out there.....-R,T,&J

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