Dutch Oven cuisine from New Mexico
Posted by Range Officer Rhonda on August 4, 2008
While I was in New Mexico last month, I have to say the food that was served (most of the time) was fantastic even to my own finicky palate (I can’t eat Beef). One of the nites, the camp cook presented us with a selection of Dutch Oven cakes. In comparing recipes, I found that one of the recipes was similar to my own, so I came home all fired up (no pun intended) to make one of these cakes at home. Last night was the perfect opportunity to make this cake as I was cooking pork steaks on the grill.
First, start a LARGE fire to create ample coals. I use mesquite wood from our trees mostly, but sometimes add in a few commercial coals as well, usually made of wood chunks, not pressed and quick lite black coals.
Marinate and spice your meat, set aside. (Wood is in flame stage)
Take a large piece of foil and line a cast iron skillet. Throw in sliced zuchinni, yellow squash, bell peppers, garlic, tomatoes, etc from the garden. Toss with a little (1/4 cup) olive oil (All these are in my garden except the olive oil) Sometimes I add a little bit of herbs from the garden (usually oregano and basil) but I don’t often add salt, leaving that for everyone to figure out for themselves at the table. Cover the skillet with foil. Put these on the side of the grill while the coals are forming. (Meat is still marinating on your counter)
Prepare Dutch oven cake.
Line your DO with foil and spray with cooking spray or lightly oil the foil.
Line the bottom of the pan with either a pie filling mix, or in my case, use peaches from the trees that have been sliced, heated with a little butter and water, a dash of lemon juice and 1 cup Splenda. Then dump an inexpensive yellow cake mix on top – do not mix. Slice up one stick of butter (I use real unsalted butter) and place evenly across the top. Get out your old turkey pan or use the fire box on your grill if available. Scoop hot coals into fire box/turkey pan, then set the Dutch Oven on top. Scoop about 10-15 hot coals onto the top lid. Make a note of the time!
NOW, throw your meat on the grill while it is still very hot. Sear both sides of the meat (about 2 minutes per side) – then baste with leftover marinade and cook, 5 minutes to a side for about 20 minutes. (4 flips of the meat)
Remove veggy skillet, open foil and sprinkle on a little mozzerella cheese. Remove meat and serve all while piping hot.
When you are done eating and visitin’ with the family, go out and check on the cake. It should almost be done. I check at about 35-40 minutes, then add coals if needed. Your cake should be golden brown on top and smell like heaven when you remove the lid.
In the summer time temps of 100+, this is a low labor meal to cook out of doors. You can even stand inside your patio door and stare at the grill to keep cool, watching the hummingbirds zoom by the feeders and the area birds trying to sneak a bath in the sprinklers as you water the herb and veggy gardens. Clean up is fast and easy. Generally, there is no leftover steak and veggies, but bag ’em if you have em to reheat for lunch tomorrow! Scrape your grill for meat residue, you can spray it off later after the coals have died and the fat has all burned off. Throw away the foil from the veggies and go hang the skillet. Cake doesn’t usually hang around long either, so again, throw away the foil and inspect your dutch oven for leak over, spot clean and store. Of course, you still have to wash the silver and dishes from eating – unless you used paper and plastic ware!