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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cast iron cooking: Getting started

Cast iron cooking: Getting started (click link to see original post)
Getting started

Cast iron cooking is a perfect way to enjoy an evening on the acreage. Nanci Lynn discovered that cooking in cast iron Dutch ovens let her combine her interests on her Indiana farm.

"I love being outdoors, and along with that, since I was a little girl I have enjoyed cooking," she says.

The first step is to find the proper cooking gear. Nanci purchases her Dutch ovens online, but they can also be found at camping and hunting supply retailers. You'll also need a shovel to dig the holes and transport hot coals, and long-handled tongs to place the coals in the hole. Purchase leather work gloves to avoid getting burned, and always have extra coals ready.

Since Dutch ovens come in several sizes, you need to dig a hole that is just wide enough for yours to fit in snugly. The hole should be a few inches taller than the top of the lid so when the briquettes are placed on the bottom, the top of the lid will be flush with the edge of the hole. Clear away the excess grass and leaves to avoid fires.

When you're ready to start cooking, arrange the heated briquettes evenly on the bottom of the hole. Set your Dutch oven on top, and line the edge of the lid with more briquettes. The number of briquettes you'll need will be determined by the food you're making. If it is windy or the soil is damp, you may have to adjust your cooking time.

Nanci shared instructions for cooking some of her family's favorites in a Dutch oven so you can try country cooking at your own place.

Nanci Lynn and Mel Pritt have several horses on their Indiana farm. "They're like family," Nanci says. One of Mel's favorite activities is training young horses.

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After digging the hole for the Dutch oven, Nanci tries to clear away most of the grass and leaves from the cooking site to avoid fires.

Nanci alternates coals of different temperatures around the edges and handle of the oven to ensure even cooking.

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