I mentioned this in my trips Niobrara NE NE BEE Social thread. Here I will go into more detail about our first ever campfire Dutch oven cooking. We bought a 6 quart 12 inch diameter Dutch oven at Cabelas and took it with us to the BEE Social for making a stew at the potluck dinner. It is the kind with the three legs so it can rest over charcoals and an upturned lip on the lid so you can place more charcoals on top.
The hot stew is the best I remember it from my youth with some modifications. It was reminiscent of the Macedonian hot stew my dad would bring home in West Indianapolis and sometimes make it himself at home. In deference to the other half I didn't make it as hot as I would have liked it. I started out with 2.5 lbs. of beef stew meat and browned it with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. We then added 1 coarsely chopped yellow onion and 4 chopped cloves of garlic. While that browned and simmered we cubed 2 Idaho potatoes, 1 diced and de-seeded Jalapeno hot pepper, 2 cups of chopped okra, 1 tablespoon of paprika and a dash of salt and pepper. Though it was not in my original recipe my other half insisted we add some carrots, so we did. It was already stewing in its own juices but I added 1-1/2 cans of Leinenkugel's Original Lager and then let it simmer at a slow boil for one hour. After one hour we added 4 chopped Minnesota grown vine ripened tomatoes and let it simmer for another hour minimum. As you know the longer the better. Normally I would recommend 2 Jalapeno hot peppers or Hungarian peppers with seeds if you prefer really hot. This recipe could have, should have been hotter in my estimation but it disappeared fast into bowls at the potluck anyway. It is a pretty simple straight forward recipe.
2.5 lbs. cubed stew meat
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 chopped yellow onion
4 chopped fresh garlic cloves
2 cubed Idaho potatoes
1 diced and de-seeded Jalapeno pepper
12 cups of chopped okra
2 chopped carrots
1 tablespoon of Paprika
Dash of salt and pepper to taste
1.5 cans of Leinenkugel's Original Lager (or any beer of choice)
4 chopped vine ripened tomatoes
I started the charcoals at about 3 PM for a 6 PM potluck call. I placed as many as could be put under the Dutch oven and about 15 on the lid. The meat browned nicely and by the time I added all the ingredients it had a steady simmering boil yet no burning at the bottom of the pot. The charcoals lasted the full 2-3/4 hours. With 15 minutes from potluck gathering I removed the coals from the lid and carried it down to the gathering. With a blink of an eye it was quickly devoured and there was not enough to serve over 30 people. There were brats, hotdogs and burgers furnished by others.
Browning meat with lid charcoals in reserve on grill.
Close up of browning meat
Letting it boil with the lid and charcoals on
Stew is ready
A couple of things I learned. First you can lift the lid with bare hands when cool but with a mitten on you cannot grasp the lid handle. My next door B neighbor Harry came to the rescue with some slip pliers that worked well. I now have a pair in our B. Secondly, we had a grill in this campfire ring but if you don't you need a place to set the lid and keep it clean. Cabelas sells a collapsible stand for this that I failed to buy. It is now on my list.
Dutch oven cooking is cool. Next time we may make some chili. I may even try my no-knead bread recipe that I did in our home oven here.