Posts Tagged ‘dutch oven’



Grandpa Soup (My version)


When I was growing up, my grandpa (on my moms side) would make large batches of soup.  This soup was a bit more of a stew, as it was very hearty and combined with a slice or two of bread, would be a complete meal.  Grandpa was never much into fancy spices, purely a meat and potatoes kind of guy, and salt and pepper was about all he used.  When he made large batches he (or Grandma) would can up a number of quarts and we would often get to take a bunch home.

Home canning was a way of life for my grandparents. They lived on a farm when my mom was born, and always had large gardens when they moved up to Michigan.  Each summer they would can dozens of different items and had a well stocked pantry.  Grandpa soup, as it was called in our family, was made from scratch using the veggies they produced in the garden.  All that grandpa would add was some beef.

My mom, being tight for time raising 3 boys,  would often open up a jar of his soup and call dinner “done”. Grandpas version was simple with Beef, tomatoes, peas, corn , carrots, onion and salt and pepper…that’s it.  My version takes it up a notch and I sure grandpa would be proud.

Kevin’s Version of Grandpa Soup

3 to 4 pounds Beef (Chuck steak with nice marbling works well, but I have also used sirloin and recently boneless ribs)

1 large yellow onion

1  28 oz can Muir Glen Fire roasted Whole tomatoes (grandpa would use 2 quarts home canned tomatoes)

1 28 oz Can Muir Glen Fire roasted Crushed tomatoes

1 15 oz can of peas

1 15 oz can of whole corn

1 bag baby carrots

2-3 tbs canola oil

2 tbs margoram

2 tbs Thyme

1 tbs Garlic powder

1/3 bottle liquid smoke

Salt + pepper.



Slice beef into bit sized stew pieces (3/8″ thick x 1/2 to 3/4″ long) Brown meat in canola oil in heavy pot (I use my large cast iron dutch oven) Once browned add diced onion and continue until caramelized, add spices, reduce heat to medium and add tomatoes, and baby carrots that have been cut up to bit sized pieces.

Simmer for about an hour then add corn and peas. (If  these are added to early the peas can get mushy) Add liquid smoke and continue simmer for another hour.  Throughout these two long simmers, periodic stirring is needed.

For eating,  a hearty french bread is great for dipping.  Sometimes I’ll add dollop of sour cream to the top before digging in.

This makes a big batch, and I’ll sometimes freeze up about half for another day.






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Simmer Peaches in Butter

During our stay at Zion we fired up the “dutchy” for some classic cobbler, we use this pot a lot for all kinds of meals, but what we call cowboy cobbler is one of our favorites.  With larger groups we use the coal top 12 qt. 12″, for this batch it was just Tori and I so we used the smaller Lodge chicken cooker / skillet combo, this smaller set is one of our many cast iron pots and about the right size for two peoples travels.  Even at home most meals are cooked in cast iron, from small 4″ singles to 12″ family sized.

For this round of cobbler we started with a bunch of white peaches.  These are a bit firmer than the normal variety that most people see.  We got these fresh in Page on our way up to Zion.  When cooking out of season we often use frozen peaches or berry mixes for this recipe, we even did a tropical version once with some mango.

After slicing and pitting, we softened them up a little with a simmer in some butter, 1 stick worth,  this recipe is not for the dieting types. When we use frozen fruit this simmer step is skipped, and the butter gets added on top of the fruit.  Next we add a box of Jiffy cake mix, here we used yellow, but white works great too.

Add the Cake MIx

The next step is the baking, which is the hardest part. We usually make this dish as a desert after a dinner and often struggle with waning light and full bellies.  This round here at Zion we opted for Breakfast Cobbler, what better way to fuel a days hiking eh? The mornings still had a touch of chill to them so the fire was a welcome addition.  The trick to great campfire cooking is to keep the heat even, the simmer step preheated the pan and a few coals on top and a rotation or two will keep the hot spots away.

Cooking in the fire-ring

One nice thing about the chicken cooker/ skillet combo is that you can check the progress with out any “tools”.  Mitts or heavy gloves are required as the cast iron will be at oven temps so caution is required.  When we use the big “dutchy” I have to lift the lid with a pry bar to check cooking progress, that lift can be a little tricky if your coals are off balance.  This batch came out very nice with touch a crispy on one side.  Cooking time was about 15 minutes…but varies depending on preheat and the quantity of coals used…here practice will help.  Not to worry, some of our first batches were a little on the done side but were still consumed with vigor.

Done to Perfection

Tori likes lots of cake in her cobbler while I prefer a more balanced mix.  For larger batches we sometimes will use two boxes of cake mix, to keep it moist more butter is needed.  This batch had a nice balance of fruit and cake.

Balanced Cake and Fruit

Its not your typical bacon and eggs breakfast, or your healthier granola and yogurt…but it is made with real fruit…and for a big day of hiking the calories will soon be a memory.  The only trouble is deciding who gets the wash the pan.

Cobbler Gone!

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