Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dutch Oven Dinner

We had friends down for the weekend holiday.  We spruced up the Granary/guest house, did a little yard work, and had day of outdoor Dutch Oven cooking.  Anything you make in your indoor oven can be made in Dutch Ovens.  I like Lodge brand cast iron cookware best.

We made Lemon chicken with mushrooms (not to be confused with the version that you find in Chinese restaurants).  This is a recipe that I make often at home in my indoor oven and it turned out well in the Dutch oven too.  It's a great do-ahead dinner party recipe as it can be very elegant.  We also made crispy potatoes, and the kids whipped up a chocolate raspberry cake.  Unfortunately, by the time we cut it and topped it with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, I forgot to take a photo.  We also made simple sauteed fresh green beans and soft dinner rolls with butter brushed over the tops.
The food styling is a little lacking but it was an outdoor picnic served on plastic plates so no one seemed to mind.  It tasted great.
Here are some of the clean up crew.  They look well-fed and happy, don't they?   

Even the un-invited guest  (the owl in the tree) seemed content, and a good time was had by all.

Here's the chicken recipe.  You can also make this in your kitchen oven and set the temperature to 350 degrees if you don't have a Dutch oven.  You'll get the same delicious results.  The slight change in instructions for an indoor oven are listed at the bottom of the recipe.  This chicken is sooo delicious that you'll want to cook it somewhere...indoors or out! 

Lemon Chicken with Mushrooms
Chicken pieces for 6 to 8 people (I used skinless boneless breasts and skinless legs)
¼ cup of oil and butter (I used equal portions of each)
2 cups of chopped onion
½ lb of button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
¼ cup of flour
1 tsp. of dry mustard
1 tsp. of dried basil
1 tsp. of kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup of light cream
1 ½ cup of chicken broth
1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice
Zest of 2 lemons
½ cup of sour cream (optional)

In the Dutch oven, brown chicken in fat. Remove chicken and set aside.  Add onions and mushrooms to remaining fat and cook until onions are translucent.

Stir in flour and seasonings and cook them without browning them for a few minutes. Combine cream and broth and add; cook until thickened. Stir in lemon juice and rind, and put the chicken back in the oven and spoon the sauce over the chicken.  This can be made 8 hours in advance and refrigerated in another bowl to marinate.  It actually has better flavor if you do make this a day in advance of cooking, which makes this a great entertaining recipe

Put the lid on the oven.  Arrange your briquettes (if you don't know the technique see the tutorial below).  Cook the chicken for 1 hour and stir the sour cream into the sauce before serving. 
This serves about 6 to 8 people.

To cook in a Dutch Oven,  prepare your ingredients according to the recipe of your choice. 
Light your charcoal briquettes.  We use a chimney starter, which is inexpensive.  You can find one at any store that sells camping equipment.  Make sure that your coals are almost white before placing them on and under the ovens.  
The Rule Of Threes is used to figure out the number of coals needed to cook at 350 degrees F.
If your oven is 14-inches in diameter you will need 17 charcoal briquettes on the top and 11 briquettes on the bottom (28 total). This is 3 more coals than the 14 (diameter of the oven you are using) on the top and 3 less coals than the 14 under the oven.  See...The Rule Of Threes.  This will give you an approximate temperature of 350 degrees F. If you need to adjust the temperature for any recipe just add / subtract 2 coals from the top and 2 coals from the bottom for every 25 degrees difference from 350 degree formula.  For example,  if you are using a 10-inch oven and you want to cook at a temperature of 350 degrees F., you would put 13 briquettes on the top and 7 briquettes under the oven to achieve the target 350 degrees F.  If you want the cooking temperature to be 375 degrees for a 10-inch oven, you will need 15 briquettes on the top and 9 briquettes under the oven (2 more and 2 less than the rule of threes for the 350 F. target)

See how easy that is?  You really can cook anything in a Dutch oven that you can cook in your kitchen oven.  No need to stick only with specific recipes written for Dutch ovens.  Be adventurous!

To make this inside, just arrange the chicken and sauce in a 9-inch by 13-inch pan.  Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. for one hour.

This is one of our favorite chicken recipes.  I hope you try it....in a Dutch oven or not!  I've submitted this to Two For Tuesdays.  Check out A Moderate Life blog to see what the others in the group posted about real food this week. 


  1. I don't have a Dutch oven - can you believe. But I'm going to have to try this in the oven. It looks like you had a wonderful holiday.

  2. oh wow this looks great and lovely pictures

  3. Bonnie, your lemon chicken recipe looks sooo good! I don't know whether I will use my outside or inside dutch oven to make it! Thanks for the recipe! I love your raised setup for dutch ovens. I am rather primitive and just use the ground or a piece of sheet metal..LOL! Looks like a fun dinner! Joni

  4. What a fun feast you had, and what a beautiful family you have!
    P.S. I love your kitchen too!

  5. Wonderful dutch oven! I love your menu choices and your food all looks delicious, of course your lovely clean-up help is darling.

  6. Haha mom, when I first read this post I thought your caption about the uninvited guest meant John and not the owl.

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  8. Of course I meant the owl that was in the tree. John was a welcome and invited guest.

  9. Oh,my! Nothing tastes better than dutch oven cooking. Reading your post brought back so many fun memories. We haven't done any for years (we left our ovens in storage while we were in Germany) but, I'm thinking it may be time to get them out again. In the meantime, I must try your chicken recipe- it sounds delicious! YUM Thanks for sharing.

  10. Bonnie, I love your blog! I am SOO sorry John just showed up uninvited! He does that here sometimes, too. I hope he at least dried all of the dishes. I owe you. Next time we'll hope for an invite! Karen

  11. I want to make it perfectly, perfectly clear that the UN-invited guest was the owl at dinner not the perfectly wonderful young man who definitely invited.

    He was a lovely guest who has an open invitation to our house any time. And yes, he did help with all of the dishes at every meal in fact.

    His mother should be proud that she raised such a wonderful son.

  12. Bonnie baby! Oh my GOODNESS this is SO exciting for me! I have been DREAMING about getting a dutch oven and doing more outdoor cooking after last weeks successful cooking of roast corn in my chimenia. Doesnt it make you feel almost like a pioneer woman? Awesome recipe and thanks so much for sharing the real food love on the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! :) alex@amoderatelife

  13. Well, I'll be! I had no idea there was a rule of threes. Making notes. Thank you so much for sharing this at Two for Tuesdays. I feel inspired to entertain with dutch ovens now.

  14. Dutch oven cooking is so cool...and the whole meal looks fabulous! Great tips, too...thanks so much for sharing with Two for Tuesdays this week =)

  15. Bonnie, This sounds absolutely delicious. We have a dutch oven that we use in our kitchen fireplace in the cooler months and I will definitely be making this. Great idea for cooking outdoors!

  16. My father in law uses the dutch ovens to make wonderful dishes while camping. It always looked so intimidating, but after your post I think I may give it a try. Thank you so much for the rules of 3. That's a great tip to know! Thanks again for sharing this on Two for Tuesdays :)

  17. Very cool pic of that owl;-)

    Such a fun post. I loved how you cooked the chicken in the dutch oven outdoors. Fantastic!

  18. Hi Bonnie! I shared your article on my Thoughts on Friday link love post where I am going to be highlighting some of my favorite blog hop entries along with other real food news and information. You can see the article here: http://amoderatelife.com/?p=386 Thanks again for sharing such informative foodie information! Alex@amoderatelife

  19. I am so sad - I used to have a dutch oven for camping and it is gone. Vanished. No where to be found. This chicken recipe sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing it with Two for Tuesdays.

  20. Nice brief and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you for your information.

  21. Thanks :)
    http://www.miriadafilms.ru/ купить кино
    для сайта cityhomecountryhome.blogspot.com

  22. Bonnie, I've been wanting to try this recipe, and I have a great opportunity for some dutch oven cooking because we are going on a river rafting trip next week. Should I just bring the ingredients frozen or cook to the half way point at home, then freeze, then cook for the 1 hr when we are ready to eat the meal?? Thanks for the help!!