Try these easy Dutch oven recipes - they work for slow cookers, too.
Dutch ovens are wonderful for cooking simple stews and casseroles and can even be used for baking and roasting. These easy Dutch oven recipes are also be suitable for making in a slow cooker, or in a traditional casserole dish.
The beauty of a Dutch oven is that cooking is simple because everything goes into one pot. This can save on work, time and even fuel. (If you want to really save fuel, then use these recipes with a modern pressure cooker.)
Whether you are cooking on a camp fire somewhere in the wilderness or you are wanting something easy to cook while you catch up on American Idol or Top Gear, these Dutch oven recipes should offer you something to go on!
Oxtail soup will cook over a long period - ideal for Dutch oven and slow cookers.
Take a kilo (2 lbs approx) of best organic oxtail. Ideally, get your butcher to chop it into suitable chunks.
Roll the pieces of oxtail in a little seasoned organic wheat flour.
Put a knob of butter and a little olive oil into the bottom of the oven. (Olive oil stops the butter from burning - you can use either or neither, replacing the butter with margarine or shortening, as you prefer.)
Rattle the oxtail around in the melting fat until the meat is a little seared and browned. Add some onion, well chopped (2 medium onions is a good amount). You can also add garlic if you like. Give everything two or three minutes to cook and keep things moving so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the oven.
Now add water sufficient to cover the meat and some. If you have some quality meat stock available - or vegetable stock, use that in preference to plain water. Add a bay leaf if you like.
Give everything a good stir and leave to cook for around two hours.
After two hours you might want to remove some of the fat which has floated to the surface. I often think this is unnecessary, as fat adds flavour but if you are thinking of your waistline, then removing some of the fat is good. The amount of fat which comes off some cuts such as ox tail can be extraordinary. Take the Dutch oven off the heat source to do this and let the fat rise for a few minutes.
Add fresh chopped veg, according to what is in season. Don't put in too many or too many different types of vegetable. You want the flavours to stay distinct. I like to add fresh tomatoes and a stick or two of celery and maybe some carrot. Top up the water level, if needed so that the meat is not tending to get too sticky. The ox tails do tend to become quite glutinous.
If you want to produce a soup, rather than a stew, take out the oxtail pieces and remove all the meat from the bones. Return the meat to the dish. Your family dog will thank you for the bones! You may want to add more water or stock for a soup and perhaps purée the final brew - if you are not too far from kitchen gadgets, that is!
You can make venison, beef or lamb stew in much the same way. Serve with generous hunks of fresh bread.
Read on (below the watercress soup recipe) about how to choose a Dutch oven.
Watercress soup is absolutely delicious and very easy to make.
You need a couple of medium onions, a potato or two, a dollop of cream and two good handfuls of watercress. Use a little oil and/or butter to start the onions. Seasoning can be added as you like.
Chop the onions fairly finely and sauté in butter or oil for 3 or 4 minutes until transparent. Add the peeled and diced potatoes and keep things moving in the pan for a minute or two. Add enough water to easily cover everything - and some. Crumble in a quality vegetable stock cube - or add a sprinkle of fresh chopped herbs such as parsley or tarragon. Don't use anything too powerful or you'll mask the subtle taste of the watercress. Salt and pepper are delicious. I add them at the end to save over-using them, however salt helps food to cook more quickly; this is another way to keep down fuel use.
Cook the potatoes and until nearly soft. Add the cleaned, chopped watercress sprigs. Cook for a further twenty minutes.
Wild watercress is safer if cooked, unless you know for sure that the supply is clean and free of liver fluke. See more on this here: Growing Watercress at Home.
This soup has a delicious flavour and of course watercress can be classed as a super-food as it contains such good nutrition.
Most simple soup and stew recipes can be adapted to become easy Dutch oven recipes with a little trial and error.
Easy Dutch oven recipes are even easier with the right cookware!
Dutch ovens are a wonderful aid to cooking and should be durable - lasting for generations, even. Cast iron Dutch ovens are generally considered to be the best. You can buy cast iron Dutch ovens from Amazon. See the right hand panel for some examples, too.
Be careful to season your Dutch oven well before use as factory seasoning is not always so good.
Cheaper options include aluminium Dutch ovens which you can sometimes find in Caribbean and Asian shops.
This one from Amazon has had rave reviews and is suitable for outdoor use:Lodge Logic 8-Quart Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron Camp Dutch Oven
While Dutch ovens undoubtedly are great for slow cooking and get the very best out of food, even better from a green living perspective are pressure cookers. This is just because they allow you to minimize the amount of fuel you use. I love my pressure cooker and use it for almost every stove-top cooking session. It saves so much time and fuel.
Easy Dutch Oven Recipes, Copyright Greenfootsteps.com 2010
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