How To Cook With A Dutch Oven
As a prepper in the UK, when the time ultimately comes where you have to put your skills to the test, you will want to act fast. Chances are you won’t be able to take too much with you if you need to get away quick, but a Dutch oven is fairly compact and easy to set up making it a must have essential for every prepper.
Dutch ovens are very versatile, which makes them a great cooking resource which can be used to cook a range of food stuffs like sauces, stews, soups, braising meat, frying chicken, as well as boiling water for things like pasta or just to sterilise it.
If you’re setting up camp, then you’ll want to have a Dutch oven to cook all your meals with.
A Dutch oven is essentially a giant cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid and traditionally have feet at the bottom so that they can be placed over hot coal or ash. However more modern Dutch ovens will not have the feet so that they can be placed inside a bigger oven and used more as a pot.
They are usually made from ceramic or heavy metal, which helps to insulate them and provide constant heat.
The great thing about cooking with a Dutch oven is that you can cook many different dishes, so you’ll never be bored in the wilderness. A Dutch oven can be used on a stove top or held over a fire if you don’t have access to an oven.
For added heat to cook with, you can shovel hot coals onto the flat lid to provide an all-round heat for the food inside.
What To Cook In A Dutch Oven?
Casseroles – Dutch ovens are the perfect tool for cooking casseroles. You can sauté aromatics and meats in your Dutch oven while your Dutch oven is placed over a stove or open flame. The great thing about using a Dutch oven to cook a casserole is that it can be baked and assembled all in the same pot.
Bread – Dutch ovens have been used to cook bread for years. It is is perfect for raising bread as the radiant heat will act similar to that of a pizza oven or stone hearth. The tight lid will also aid in keeping any steam or moisture in the pot to create that homely, crispy, perfect crust.
Sauces, Stews and Soups – If you want to cook warm, hearty things like stew and soup, then a Dutch oven is perfect. Due to their large size, they are excellent for holding large amounts of liquid or food. The cast iron metal is great for keeping in the heat ensuring the contents of your Dutch oven stays warm.
Frying – There are many reasons to cook with a Dutch oven. Due to their unique ability to hold and conduct high levels of heat, oil can easily be heated up allowing you to fry foods. Frying food is a really quick and efficient way to cook foods if you have access to cooking oil. Very useful for preppers.
Roasting – Dutch ovens can be used for roasting due to their ability to transfer heat into the contents inside. This is usually preferred for slow cooking foods if you have access to an oven. You could also surround your Dutch oven with hot coals and ash to resemble the same cooking conditions as an oven.
Boiling Water – If you need to boil water, which can be used to sterilise water or to boil pasta in and even make tea in, a Dutch oven is perfect for boiling water. The metal material ensures the pot heats up and remains hot. It can easily be held over a stove or open flame. Having the ability to boil water might just be a life saver.
Best Ways To Use A Dutch Oven
There are two types of Dutch ovens. Both are equally as good and it won’t matter overly much what you can get your hands on. There are ceramic Dutch ovens as well as the more common and superior cast iron Dutch ovens. The best way to cook with a Dutch oven is to:
Short and Sweet – When cooking with a Dutch oven it is recommended to use hard hitting, flavourful ingredients. Use things like tomato paste, rice, chicken broth, soy sauce, grains or things like pasta. You can add just about anything to a Dutch oven, which is why they’re great, but the simpler the dish the better usually, as you can focus on bringing out all of the delicious flavours.
Soak for Maximum Impact – One of the best things about cooking with a Dutch oven is that you can leave things to soak and marinate and develop more flavour. This also allows you to add different flavours and ingredients in various stages which can help boost the flavour of whatever you decide to cook.
You Can Garnish – The beautiful thing is that once you’re done cooking, you can present your Dutch oven in a nice way by adding garnish or a few other ingredients to sit on top, which as a prepper, might just distract you from the fact that you’re out in the wild trying to cook pasta.
A Must Have Prepper Essential
The Dutch oven is an ideal cooking utensil for any prepper. It has a wide range of versatile uses and can even be used to store other items when you’re not using it to cook. Think of the Dutch oven as a Swiss army knife of cooking as a prepper. It has many uses and can be used whichever way best suits your need.
You can purchase a smaller 4.5L Dutch oven if you are only catering for yourself and one other person, or opt for a huge 9L Dutch oven if you have to cook for more than just yourself, such as a family of four or more.
With its tight lid you can keep food in it for a day or two if you have nowhere to store it. Not to mention, you could use it to catch rainwater too if you were ever stuck. Check out this excellent prepper resource for a full list of 500 Dutch oven cooking recipes. Get cooking!