IDOS Dutch Oven Cook-offToday’s Deseret News has one of those stories just too good to pass up, and it’s a fun, positive story. The International Dutch Oven Society (IDOS) had its World Championship Cook-off over the weekend in Sandy, UT. If you’re not familiar with Dutch Oven cooking, you should really check out this story and also browse around the IDOS web site (link above).

Valerie Phillips, the News’ Food Editor served as one of the IDOS judges over the weekend, and her write up is fabulous. She points out that Dutch Oven Cooking these days is not what one might conjure up with visions of Lewis and Clark and their early trek across America:

If you think Dutch-oven cooking means stews and cobblers, consider the menu that took the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championship on Saturday: Tenderloin and Tails (beef tenderloin and lobster tails), Philly Cheese Steak Rolls and Layered Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Cream Filling.

It was all cooked or baked in Dutch ovens, using only charcoal as a heat source, at the International Sportsmen’s Expo at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy.

After a long day of cooking, Scott Clawson of West Jordan and David Clawson of Saratoga Springs bested 13 other teams to take the $5,000 prize money. This represents a second big win for the brothers with the same menu and recipes. In October, they took first place — and $4,000 — at the Zions Bank Sheep Festival cook-off in Cedar City. That win qualified them for the World Championship.

I have to say that a menu of Tenderloin and Tails, along with Philly Cheese Steak Rolls, topped off with layered Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Cream filling sounds pretty darn good. And, I know from personal experience that not only do you have to be a pretty good cook, you also have to master the intricacies of Dutch Oven Cooking, using only charcoal for your heat source. Then, if you’re cooking outside, where most Dutch Oven Cooking takes place, you’ve got factors like wind and the usual with outdoor elements with which you must deal. It looks like most of the food preparation for this competition might have been inside. I can’t tell whether the cooking was done inside or out. Regardless, the results were quite impressive:

The quality of the food impressed judges such as Troy Wilson, a certified executive chef who teaches culinary arts at Utah Valley State College. “The cooking was very impressive. These are part-time cooks who dabble in preparing food, and they did a great job in creativity, execution and cooking skills. The breads surprised me more than anything, the variations from the very simple quick bread to the yeast roll to the filled breads that were almost a meal.”

Wilson found out how tricky it is to get the temperatures and the timing just right, when he cooked on Sunday in the Chef’s Dutch Oven Cook-off. Eleven chefs competed, with Todd Leonard of The Garden Restaurant taking top honors for Stuffed Pork Chops on a Potato Cake. Wilson won second place and Eleanor Kondo Ream, a retired chef, took third.

I’m not anywhere close to the caliber of these IDOS chefs but we have done some pretty tasty scout camp out and Father’s and Sons’ outing dutch oven dishes:

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This is a deep dish pizza we cooked on one of our camp outs

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A blueberry cobbler for dessert

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This was one of our beach camp outs, getting dinner ready

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This is a chocolate cake I made in a dutch oven at our Wood Badge training.

You can also cook full sized turkeys in these things. Here’s a photo set of a turkey demo we did for Camp Chef ovens, in Paso Robles, CA. The turkey actually turned out pretty good.

The Deseret News article has a host of good recipes, which I’ll post below since the article isn’t likely to stay on their website forever. Also, check out the IDOS web page for tons of photos of this competition. The photos are toward the bottom of the page with several links to hundreds of photos of the whole thing. There are some unbelievable dishes cataloged there.

Finally, if you’ve never tried Dutch Oven Cooking, you really ought to check it out. Some of my favorite links are here, here, here, here, here, and here. From a practical standpoint this is a great hobby for emergency preparedness and food storage. You can literally cook anything in a Dutch Oven, and you can do it without any electricity whatsoever.

Recipes:

LAYERED CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH STRAWBERRY CREAM FILLING

Cake:
1 1/2 cups butter-flavored shortening
1 2/3 cups sugar
6 eggs
2 2/3 cup flour
6 tablespoons cocoa
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup hot water

Beat the shortening with the sugar. Add one egg at a time; make sure to mix well between each egg. Mix in flour, cocoa and vanilla extract. Add the hot water and mix well. Pour into 2 10-inch Dutch ovens that have been greased and dusted with cocoa. Cook for about 30 minutes with 12 coals on top and 8 coals on the bottom until toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it. Do not overbake. Cool the cakes and cut each in half, horizontally.

Strawberry Topping:
4 cups strawberries
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup Ultra Gel (a thickening product)
Juice of one lemon

Combine ingredients and mash with a potato masher or fork to release the juice of the strawberries. The Ultra Gel should make it thicken instantly.

Filling:
2/3 cup butter-flavored shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon cream
2 cups marshmallow cream
1 cup strawberry topping (from above)

Combine the filling ingredients and mix well with a whisk or spoon, spread the filling between each of the four cake layers.

Icing:
2/3 cup butter-flavored shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
2 cups marshmallow cream
3 to 4 tablespoons cocoa

Combine the icing ingredients and mix well with a whisk or spoon. Cover the cake with the icing and top with the remaining strawberry topping. Serves 8 to 12. — Scott Clawson and David Clawson, 2007 IDOS World Champions

PHILLY CHEESE STEAK ROLLS

Dough:
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt
1 packet instant yeast
1 egg
3 cups flour

Combine hot water (should be about 110 degrees) with yeast and let sit about 10 minutes. Add butter, salt and sugar. Stir until butter is soft. Mix in egg and half of the flour. When batter is smooth, slowly add the remaining flour. Let rise for 30 minutes in greased Dutch oven. Place the oven in sunlight for a faster rise time.

Filling:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup diced onion
1/4 cup diced green pepper
2 cloves crushed garlic
1/2 cup mushrooms
Pinch of basil
Dian Mayfield and Omar Alvarez (Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News)
Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News
Dian Mayfield and Omar Alvarez
8 slices provolone cheese
1 small jar Cheese Whiz
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute steak, onion, garlic, mushrooms and peppers for about 10 minutes in a Dutch oven. Mix in 3 tablespoons of Cheese Whiz. Divide dough into 8 balls and roll out on a floured board in 8-inch circles about 1/4-inch thick.
Spread each with 1/8 of filling and top with a slice of provolone. Roll up like a burrito and seal the edges. Place the eight rolls in a circle in a greased and floured 12-inch Dutch oven with the folded side down. Top with mushrooms and more provolone cheese, if desired.
Cook rolls in a 12-inch Dutch oven, using 8 coals on bottom and 10-12 coals on top for about 15 minutes. Remove 2 to 3 coals from the bottom and rotate the lid one-third turn and cook about 30 more minutes. The rolls should have the same golden brown color on the top and on the bottom. Serves 8. — Scott Clawson and David Clawson, 2007 IDOS World Champions

TENDERLOIN AND TAILS

Tenderloin:
4 pounds beef tenderloin roast
Good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
2 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons lemon zest
4 tablespoons melted butter

Pat the roast dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and let rest for about 15 minutes to absorb salt and come up to room temperature. Rub roast with olive oil and pepper. In a 14-inch Dutch oven, brown each side on high heat (20 coals on the bottom) for 3 minutes.
Mince the parsley with garlic, add the bread crumbs and lemon zest, and mix until combined. Press the parsley mixture into top of the roast. Drizzle with the melted butter and place on a trivet in a 14-inch Dutch oven. Cook with 16 coals on top and 12 coals on the bottom for about 45 minutes, or until internal temperature of the roast reaches 145 degrees. Remove the roast and cover with aluminum foil; let rest for 15 minutes.

Lemon Parsley Butter:
One half cup unsalted butter
Juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
Kosher salt to taste
White pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a 5-inch Dutch oven and warm until butter is melted.

Lobster:
6 Lobster tails

If tails are frozen, thaw in refrigerator for 12-24 hours. Thawed lobster will be more tender than those cooked frozen. Insert kitchen shears between meat and hard shell on back. Cut the upper shell down the center of the back, leaving tail fan intact; do not remove the under shell. Lift uncooked meat through the slit to rest on top of the shell. Place lobster tails in a 14-inch Dutch oven and brush each with butter. Add a small amount of water in bottom of oven to prevent drying — cook 10 to 12 minutes with 20 coals on top and 14 coals on bottom. Serve immediately with lemon parsley butter. Serves 6. — Scott Clawson and David Clawson, 2007 IDOS World Champions