Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast - Dutch Oven Style

Did you know the Dutch Oven is the official cooking pot of the state of Utah? That's right, the Dutch Oven

was designated Utah's official cooking pot in 1997 for its historic use by early Utah settlers.

The Dutch Oven, a popular outdoor cooking tool for both Utah pioneers and modern-day outdoor enthusiasts, can be used to prepare a wide variety of delicious cuisine in settings usually reserved for roasting hot dogs and S'mores.

Dutch Ovens are cast-iron pots with snug fitting lids that are specifically designed for cooking directly in the coals of an open fire. The oven’s lid is equipped with a tall iron lip, allowing coals to be added to the top of the pot, baking the contents of the oven evenly, much like an modern household oven. Dutch Ovens work so well in fact, that many people who've used them in the outdoors have incorporated them into their regular cooking repertoire.

If you’re looking for a fun new dish to add to your Thanksgiving feast this year, why not consider baking one of your courses in a Dutch Oven? You might just end up with a new classic. And you’ll know exactly what to prepare on your next camping trip.

Here’s a couple recipe ideas to stoke your creative cooking fire!

Thanksgiving Roasted Herb Turkey

Cooking a full turkey is always a labor intensive process. Why not make it fun by doing it in a Dutch Oven?
Here's how:

  • 1 turkey
  • 1 onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic pressed
  • 1 cup water

Basting Sauce

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tsp dried mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried sage
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp sweet basil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Thaw turkey if frozen. Before preparing the turkey, light a pile of at least 50 charcoal briquettes for the Dutch Oven.

Place thawed turkey in a 15 inch Dutch Oven. Slice onion into large pieces and place them in the turkey cavity with the chopped garlic cloves. Rub the remaining pressed garlic over the outside of the turkey. Pour water in the bottom of the Dutch Oven. Put the lid on the pot and add 15-20 briquettes to the bottom of the pot and 20-25 on top.

Melt butter in a separate pan and add the herbs to create a basting sauce. Frequently baste the turkey with the herb sauce as it cooks.

Add fresh coals about once an hour. Cook the turkey until the center of the turkey's temperature reaches 170 degrees.

Marshmallow Sweet Potato Casserole

What could be a better marriage between outdoor cooking and Thanksgiving than borrowing marshmallows from the campfire classic Smores, and adding them to the traditional Thanksgiving sweet potato dish?

  • About 8 sweet potatoes or yams
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 pound marshmallows

Boil the sweet potatoes in water until they are tender. This can be done in the Dutch Oven first or in a regular stove-top pot, whichever is easier given your cooking conditions. Remove the skins and mash the sweet potatoes. Add butter, milk, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and paprika. Butter the sides and bottom of the Dutch Oven and fill it with the mashed sweet potatoes. Place the marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes. Bake the casserole by placing 10-15 coals below the Dutch oven and 5-10 coals on top. Let the dish bake until the marshmallows become golden-brown.

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