Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Day 6: Dutch Oven Potatoes

I think I am overthinking dutch oven cooking. I am so worried about getting it right, that I am forgetting that the one thing that I am going to learn the most from is my mistakes. Trial and error is sometimes our best tutor. Today, I have to give a hearty thanks to Mark from Marks black pot. Mark site has become sort of a mentor for me. If you haven't found his site yet, be sure to check it out. He is creative, inventive, knowledgable and has a real passion for food and dutch oven cooking. Anyway, I was browsing his site and found a great post he made about dutch oven heat. He really brought it down to the basics of cooking, and that is that all we are doing is adding heat to food. I have no problem adjusting heat when I modify or create a recipe in the kitchen, so I just need to remember that I am doing the same thing when I cook outdoors. So, no more stress about heat. I will just follow the basic formula for using coals, and add a few more coals when a meal isn't quite doing what I want it to. The rest will just come with experience. So, thanks Mark for helping me de-stress and reminding me that cooking is really very simple.

Today's recipe is the most simple and "dutch oveny" recipe ever. It is the first dutch oven food I ever tasted. It was my father-in-law's specialty. It has only 3 ingredients plus salt and pepper, and they happen to be 3 of my favorite ingredients: potatoes, onions and bacon. So, here we go!

Dutch Oven Potatoes
10" dutch oven

10 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced (leave the skins on red potatoes)
1 onion, thinly sliced and separated into rings
1 lb. smoked bacon, cut into 1" pieces
salt and pepper to taste

I cooked the bacon first with 20 coals on the bottom until it was just beginning to crisp. Then add the potatoes and onions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until potatoes are tender with 12 top coals and 8 bottom coals. Stir occasionally.

The Finished Product

What I learned

This is a really easy dish. I still need to add more heat to compensate for the cold air temps. It took about 40 minutes to cook, which isn't bad. I am getting closer to figuring out how much heat to add. This was a morale booster for me.

The Review

How in the world can I say anything bad about a dish with bacon in it. It is fabulous just by virtue of the fact that it uses bacon. Honestly, this one has real sentimental meaning for me. My father-in-law has been gone 15 years. He was an amazing man, and this dish reminds me of him.


  1. I enjoy your blog, I will try some of your recipes, your chicken sounds good. my big problem is there is just me an my wife to eat all the food. Last week I make cinnamon knots, then I take them to the neighbors, It was -15 f. little wind but I have made a wind shield from a piece of tin 14" high and long enough to go around my D O and disk it sits on. I drill hole around the bottom edge for air supply. I live in Alberta, Canada.

  2. @Toni: Thanks so much for the plug and the kudos! I may have mentioned before that some dishes (like the potatoes) are much more forgiving with the heat. Too little, and it just takes a little longer to cook. Too much can burn, though. With breads, pies and similar things, it needs to be more precise.

    @wayne I have a similar problem in my family. We just often can't eat a full 12" potful with just the four of us. One solution is to reduce the ingredients a bit and do the 10". Another is to invite over the neighbors, or freeze the leftovers.

  3. I should really put a disclaimer on the recipes. I have a large family and I cook for a small army. My 2 teenage boys are human garbage disposals. But any of these recipes should work if you scale them down. Believe it or not, some of these recipes I have to double.

    Wayne Thanks for following my blog. I'm glad I'm not cooking in sub-zero temps.
    I appreciate the comments and the tips from everyone!


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