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Campfires, Camaraderie, and Cast-Iron Cuisine

If you're thinking about "going Dutch," your first step will be to find an oven. A high-quality, 10-inch Dutch oven typically costs around $40. If your local hardware store doesn't carry ovens, try Academy Sports & Outdoors, which stocks Dutch ovens and accessories in many of its stores. For general information, call 281/646-5200. Web site: www.academy.comNutriTech, at 12 Fawn Dr. in New Waverly (77358) carries a complete line of Lodge Dutch ovens and accessories. Call 936/438-8829. Check the following Web sites for additional Dutch-oven products: www.ahappycamper.com and Web site: www.chuckwagonsupply.com.

Manufacturers

You can also order Dutch ovens direct from the manufacturer. Lodge Manufacturing Co. makes a variety of cast-iron cooking equipment, including Dutch ovens and accessories. The company sells numerous Dutch-oven cookbooks (see Books) and a video on Dutch-oven basics ($9.95, plus tax, handling, and shipping). For a free catalog and information about Dutch-oven cooking, write to Box 380, South Pittsburg, TN 37380; 423/837-7181. Web site: www.lodgemfg.com.

MACA Supply Co. sells extra-deep Dutch ovens. Write to 1415 W. Spring Creek Place, Springville, UT 84663; 801/489-3663. Web site: www.macacom.com.

Organizations

The Lone Star Dutch Oven Society (LSDOS), which promotes the art of Dutch-oven cooking, has 9 chapters across the state and several others in the organizational stage. An LSDOS cookbook is available through Lodge (see Books). Membership dues are $15 per household and include a quarterly newsletter (no membership dues for local chapters). Write to LSDOS, 19710 Vista Lake, Cypress 77433; 210/342-1378. Web site: www.lsdos.com.

The International Dutch Oven Society (IDOS) sponsors several Dutch-oven cookoffs during the year, as well as demonstrations and clinics. It also offers aprons, cookbooks, and other Dutch-oven merchandise. A family membership costs $15 per year and includes 4 issues of Dutch Oven News, a limited-edition lapel pin, and merchandise discounts. For a sample newsletter, write to 41 East 400 North, #210, Logan, UT 84321; 801/363-3624. Web site: www.idos.com.

Upcoming DOGs

LSDOS holds a statewide DOG (Dutch Oven Gathering) each spring, which is open to the public. For information, contact LSDOS. All 9 LSDOS chapters hold local DOGs, also open to the public, at various times during the year. A list of local chapters, contact numbers, and scheduled DOGs (if any) follows:

• Amarillo (Rawhiders Chapter). Call 806/352-5455.

• Austin (Black Pots Chapter), Nov. 19, 2000. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

• Bexar County (Bare Pots Chapter), Dec. 2, 2000 (holds DOGs on 1st Sat. of "even" months). Call 210/675-3468.

• Corpus Christi (Pioneers of the Gulf Coast Chapter). Dec. 2, 2000. Call 361/241-1764.

• Dallas (Prairie Dog Chapter). Call 972/877-3029.

• Hill Country (Hill Country Chapter), Nov. 11, 2000 (holds DOGs Sep-May, 2nd Sat. of the month). Call 830/634-2596.

• Houston (Salt Grass Chapter), Nov. 18, 2000 (holds DOGs Jan-May and Sep-Nov, 3rd Sat. of the month). Call 713/426-5319.

• Lumberton (Village Creek Cookers Chapter), Nov. 11, 2000 (a special DOG featuring cane-syrup-making, "biscuit soppin'," and bluegrass music; DOGs usually held on Mon. before the 2nd Tue. of each month). Call 409/755-0914.

• New Waverly (Piney Woods Chapter). Call 936/438-8890.

Other Events

Dutch-oven demonstrations and cookoffs are held in conjunction with many festivals and historical events in Texas. Clarendon's annual Colonel Charles Goodnight Chuck-wagon Cookoff is held the 4th Sat. of each Sep. (Sep. 22, 2001). Call 806/874-2057.

Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farm in Austin offers several Dutch-oven demonstrations during the year (workshops available upon request). A Dutch-Oven and Wood-Stove Cooking demonstration will take place Nov. 12 from 1-5. Admission: $4, $3 ages 3-12, free age 2 and under. Wheelchair accessible. Write to 11418 Sprinkle Cut-off Rd., Austin 78754; 512/837-1215. Web site: www.pioneerfarm.org.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offers Dutch-oven instruction through its Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop, held 5 times a year (Mar-Oct) in different regions of the state. Write to 4200 Smith School Rd., Austin 78744; 800/792-1112. Web site: www.tpwd.state.tx.us.

The Big Bend Natural History Assn. offers a camp-cooking class, which includes Dutch-oven cooking, as part of its Big Bend seminars program. Write to Box 196, Big Bend Natl. Park, 79834; 915/477-2236. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Books

Look for the following books, which offer helpful cooking tips and Dutch-oven recipes, in your library or bookstore: America West: Dutch-Oven Cooking by Kent Mayberry (Great Mountain West Supply Co., 2000); Old-Fashioned Dutch Oven Cookbook by Don Holm (Caxton Printers, 1996); Chuckwagon Recipes and Others by Sue Cunningham and Jean Cates (Cookbook Publishers, 1994); and Lovin' Dutch Ovens by Joan S. Larsen (LFS Publications, 1991).

To order A Texas Treasury of Dutch Oven Cooking compiled by Nancy P. Alemany (Lone Star Dutch Oven Society, 1997), contact the Lodge Mfg. Co. (see first column; cookbook currently not available from LSDOS). Lodge is also the source for a new cookbook entitled 2002 Olympic Winter Games Dutch Oven Cooking by the International Dutch Oven Society. Each cookbook costs $14.95, plus tax, shipping, and handling.

Dutch Oven Recipes

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.

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