Next up on our list of easy must-try camping recipes is this Dutch oven jalapeño cornbread recipe that goes perfectly with Dutch oven jambalaya and Dutch oven gumbo. Don’t let your cast iron Dutch oven languish in a pantry. Before taking out the ingredients, you need to get to know your cooking pot’s distinctive cooking requirements. Once you find out how evenly your cast iron pot cooks, you’ll want to make a variety of Dutch oven recipes from quiche to lasagna in it both at home and while camping.
What is a Dutch Oven?
For camping and other rugged situations, many cooks prefer cast iron. This material offers durability and an even cooking surface. You can even put a cast iron Dutch oven directly on top of coals while cooking.
Most Dutch ovens resemble cooking pots made of heavy cast iron. What sets a Dutch oven apart from a cast iron skillet is the ability to put heat on the top and bottom of the Dutch oven. When you use the pot in this manner, it evenly heats the food inside similarly to your oven at home that cooks the food.
On the bottom, a Dutch oven has legs to give it a stable footing when you put the container in a cooking fire. The lid features a lip around the edge. This rim keeps coals from falling off the top of the lid during cooking. Putting the Dutch oven onto a fire and setting coals on the lid generates the heat needed for baking outside.
If you have a Dutch oven that does not have feet, use it inside your kitchen on the stove or in the oven. Should you want to use these flat-bottomed pots for open-fire cooking, you will need a tripod, holder, and Dutch oven lid lifter to suspend the Dutch oven over the fire.
Baking Dutch Oven Recipes
When you prepare recipes in your Dutch oven, you can use recipes for camp cooking or indoor baking. If using recipes that require you to bake the dish in an oven at home, you can convert the baking temperature to the number of coals you need to use on the top and bottom of the Dutch oven.
The general rule is each charcoal briquette delivers approximately 25 degrees Fahrenheit of heat. This varies with the size of the container you use. Larger Dutch ovens need more charcoal briquettes to reach the required temperature.
Jalapeño cornbread recipes typically require temperatures ranging from 350 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Here are some conversions between oven temperatures in Fahrenheit and the number of coals your Dutch oven needs for some cornbread recipes:
- 300 to 350 degrees: Place between five and seven briquettes under the oven and six to eight on the lid to reach this temperature range.
- 350 to 400 degrees: Under the pot, use six to eight charcoals. Arrange eight to 12 charcoal briquettes on the lid.
- 450 to 500 degrees: Place seven to nine briquettes beneath the pot and nine to 14 on top.
Another way to determine the temperature is with a hand test. The longer you can hold your hand six inches above the top of the Dutch oven, the cooler the fire is. For jalapeño cornbread recipes, you should be able to hold your hand over the oven for three to five seconds. Less time means that the fire is too hot. If you can hold your hand there longer without burning, your fire is not hot enough.
Jalapeño Cornbread Recipe
The bright flavor of jalapeño adds a distinctive spice to your cornbread. To reduce the spice, make sure to remove the ribs and seeds from the jalapeño before chopping the peppers and adding them to the dish. If you want more spice, increase the number of peppers, or choose a spicier pepper such as a poblano or habanero to mix into the cornbread. This recipe uses a 10-inch Dutch oven.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal (white or yellow)
- 1-1/3 tablespoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
- 1 cup milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped (depending on taste)
- 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack or cheddar cheese (optional)
- Mix together the dry ingredients—flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar—in a bowl until thoroughly combined.
- Stir the milk and beaten egg into the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
- Fold in the chopped jalapeño pepper and optional cheese.
- Pour the mixture into a dutch oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You should only be able to hold your hand over the oven for four to five seconds. Use a total of 14 to 20 charcoal briquettes to reach this temperature.
- Remove the dutch oven from the heat once it turns golden brown on top and has cooked through.
- Enjoy the cornbread with your favorite chili, beans, or as a side with butter or extra cheese on top.
Try Out This Dutch Oven Recipe and Others
Don’t be afraid of cooking in your dutch oven. Once you learn how to control the heat of a cooking fire, you can use your dutch oven at a campsite as easily as you bake in your home kitchen to try out recipes such as camping chili, Dutch oven cheesecake, and more.