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Dutch-Oven Recipes

In the March 2015 edition of Texas Highways, photojournalist Julia Robinson covers chuck-wagon history, along with modern-day cook-offs and races across the state. Try the following recipes for a little home cookin’ on the range.

Texas Hill Country Breakfast

Pecan-Brie Appetizer

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Nutty Chicken

Black Forest Icebox Pie

Tom Perini's Chuck-Wagon Stew

Dutch-Oven Peach Cobbler

Vinegar Pie Crust

Texas Hill Country Breakfast

Courtesy Bill Brummel

  • vegetable oil (or nonstick cooking spray)
  • 1 lb. light pork sausage
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 lbs. frozen hash-brown potatoes, thawed
  • 8-12 large eggs, beaten well
  • 1 lb. grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 (8-oz.) jar thick-and-chunky salsa

Preheat a 12-inch Dutch oven over 14 hot briquettes. Spray inside of oven with oil. Brown sausage, breaking it into small bits. Add onion, and cook until translucent. Remove sausage and onion, and drain on paper towels.

Add hash-browns to Dutch oven; fry until golden brown, stirring constantly. Add drained sausage and onions, and mix well. Pour beaten eggs over sausage mixture, and place lid on oven. Remove 4 briquettes from the bottom, and place them, along with 12 fresh hot briquettes, on top of the lid. Cook 8-10 minutes, or until eggs are almost set. Sprinkle cheese over top, and continue cooking until eggs are set and cheese is melted. Spread salsa on top, and serve. Yield: 5-7 servings.

 

Pecan-Brie Appetizer

Courtesy Beth Haynie

  • 1 c. coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/4 c. butter (or less)
  • 1-2 wedges of Brie cheese, at room temperature

Lightly toast pecans in a Dutch oven placed over 10-12 hot briquettes. Add butter, and simmer with pecans for 2-3 minutes. Add Brie, and quickly baste cheese with pecans and butter. Allow Brie to warm and soften for 1-2 minutes. With a spatula, transfer Brie to a serving platter, and pour pecans and butter on top. Serve with assorted crackers. Yield: About 12 appetizer servings.

 

Easy Chicken Pot Pie

Courtesy Wayne and Allan Switzer

  • 2 (9-inch) unbaked flat pie crusts
  • 1 (103/4-oz.) can cream of celery soup
  • 1 (10-oz.) can cooked chicken, drained
  • 1 (20-oz.) can large-cut mixed vegetables, drained
  • 11/2 tsp. poultry seasoning

Place one pie crust inside a 10-inch Dutch oven. Combine remaining ingredients, and pour mixture into the pie crust-lined Dutch oven. Cover mixture with remaining pie crust. Crimp edges of crusts together, and cut 2 or 3 slits in top crust. Bake over 10-12 hot briquettes on the bottom, with another 10-12 hot briquettes on top, for 20 minutes, or until top crust is golden brown. Yield: 4-5 servings.

 

Nutty Chicken

Courtesy Beth Haynie

  • 1-11/2 c. chopped pecans
  • vegetable oil (or nonstick cooking spray)
  • 2-3 lbs. boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 c. chopped onion or green onions
  • 1/2 tsp. dried whole thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 3 (5-oz.) bags fresh mixed salad greens (or 1 lb. fresh washed spinach)
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar

Lightly toast pecans in a 12-inch Dutch oven placed over 9-10 hot briquettes, then remove pecans. Spray inside of oven with oil, and add chicken. Sprinkle onions and seasonings over top, and lightly salt and pepper. Top with toasted pecans, and bake for 30 minutes with 9-10 hot briquettes under oven, and 16-18 briquettes on top. Top with cheese, and cook until melted. Add salad greens; cover, and cook until greens are wilted (about 3-5 minutes). Sprinkle with vinegar. Yield: 4-6 servings.

 

Black Forest Icebox Pie

Courtesy Wayne and Allan Switzer

  • 1/2 c. butter, melted
  • 1 c. flour
  • 2 c. chopped pecans, divided
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 16 oz. whipped topping, divided
  • 1 (5.1-oz.) package chocolate instant pudding mix
  • 1 (5.1-oz.) package vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 6 c. milk, divided
  • crushed ice

To make crust, combine butter, flour, and 1 cup pecans, and spread evenly over bottom of a 12-inch Dutch oven. Place the oven over 18-20 coals; cover, and place a like amount of coals on lid. (Rotate oven once or twice to keep the heat even.) After browning crust (about 5-10 minutes), set oven aside to cool.

Mix powdered sugar, cream cheese, and 8 oz. whipped topping; spread mixture over bottom of cooled crust.

In two separate bowls, mix chocolate and vanilla pudding mixes and milk according to package directions. Spread vanilla pudding mixture evenly over cream cheese mixture in Dutch oven; repeat with chocolate pudding mixture. To set the pie, place the 12-inch oven inside a 14-inch oven, and fill the space between them with ice; cool for 15-30 minutes. Top the pie with remaining whipped topping. Sprinkle remaining pecans on top. Yield: 8-10 servings.

 

Tom Perini’s Chuck-Wagon Stew

Tom Perini, chef and owner of Perini Ranch Steakhouse in Buffalo Gap, likes to serve this dish from his restored 1800s chuck wagon. He says the fat from the brisket and the bacon drippings add flavor, and he notes, “I like to leave the pot on the fire for some time to let the flavors marry.” This recipe comes from Tom’s 2000 cookbook, Texas Cowboy Cooking , which also includes his recipe for skillet cornbread, a fine accompaniment.

  • 8 lb. of brisket with excess fat trimmed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 c. bacon drippings
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 medium white onions, chopped
  • 4 to 6 medium-sized potatoes, scrubbed, sliced in half lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 c. fresh corn, cut from the cob (1 ear = about 2/3 c.)
  • 1 (28-oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6-oz.) can chopped green chilies

Cut brisket into bite-sized cubes, and season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Heat bacon drippings in a 14-inch or 16-inch Dutch oven or heavy pot, and brown meat in batches, being careful not to crowd meat in the pot. After all the meat has browned, return it to the pot, add garlic and onion, and cook over low heat about 4 minutes, or until garlic and onion are tender. Add water to cover, and bring to a slow boil; cook about 1 hour, or until meat is tender.

Add remaining ingredients and additional water to cover, and bring back to a slow boil for about 1 hour, or until stew is fully cooked. Add more seasoning, if desired. Yield: About 20 servings.

 

Dutch-Oven Peach Cobbler 

  • 1 recipe Vinegar Pie Crust, divided (see below)
  • 1 6-lb.10-oz. can sliced peaches in light syrup
  • 2/3 c. butter or margarine
  • 3 c. water
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 c. flour
  • 3 c. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. nutmeg

Grease bottom and sides of 16-inch Dutch oven, and dust lightly with flour. Roll out one-half of pie crust dough to 1/8-inch thickness. Line bottom of Dutch oven with pie crust, and set aside. In a separate pot, heat peaches, margarine, water, and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients, and stir slowly into peach mixture, mixing well. Cook until hot. Remove from heat, and pour into pie crust-lined Dutch oven. Roll out remaining pie crust dough to 1/8-inch thickness, and place on top. Place lid on Dutch oven, and put hot, live coals on lid. Bake 15-20 minutes or until top is golden brown, making sure to rotate Dutch oven often. (Baking time varies according to the amount of wind.)

 

Vinegar Pie Crust

  • 4 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 3/4 c. shortening
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 T. cider vinegar
  • 1 egg

Combine flour, sugar, and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture in crumbly. Combine water, vinegar, and egg, and beat well with a fork. Add a shortening mixture, and mix well. Chill at least two hours before using. (Make enough crust for one Peach Cobbler or two 9-inch double-crust pies.)

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