Test Kitchen tips: Camp-style Dutch oven
It's the stuff of campfires: a sturdy cast-iron pot on three stubby legs with a flat, preferably flanged, lid. The camp-style Dutch oven has gone through few modifications since its introduction centuries ago and is remarkable at replicating the functions of a modern in-home oven while roughing it outdoors. Coals go under the Dutch oven and on top of the lid to regulate temperature, perfect for baking, stewing or roasting. The flange, or lip, around the lid helps keep coals and ash out of the food.
You can find Dutch ovens at sporting goods stores as well as online. Sizes generally range from a smaller 2-quart ($30 - $50) to 6-quarts ($50 - $80).
Check out this story for camp-style dinner ideas (and recipes), and continue reading below for a Dutch oven peach, blackberry and almond crisp. Happy camping!
Photo: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times
Total time: 30 minutes, plus heating time for the coals
2 1/2 pounds ripe peaches, peeled and quartered
2 pints blackberries
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
3/4 teaspoon almond extract, or 1 tablespoon almond liqueur
Zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup oats
2/3 cup almond meal or finely ground almonds
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter
1. Prepare the coals without starter fluid in a chimney starter: For a 4-quart (10-inch) Dutch oven, you will need 27 coals hot enough to have formed a thin coating of white ash over the surface of each coal.
2. Combine the peaches and blackberries in the Dutch oven, and toss with 2 tablespoons maple syrup, the almond extract and orange zest.
3. Separately, combine the flour, oats, almond meal, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the softened butter, then the remaining maple syrup, until you have a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle the crumble over the fruit, then cover with the lid.
4. Place the oven over nine of the hot coals (evenly spaced), and evenly space 18 coals over the lid. Cook until the crumble topping is a rich golden color and the fruit is soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Each serving: 299 calories; 6 grams protein; 42 grams carbohydrates; 8 grams fiber; 14 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 23 mg. cholesterol; 222 mg. sodium.