We went camping in the rain last weekend! The temperature never got above 49 degrees F, and the rain fell and fell hard from Friday night through Sunday morning. It was damp, and it was cold! So, we figured we should warm our souls with a simple, yet hearty and flavorful Camping Meal made in the Dutch Oven my in-laws used to use before they bequeathed it to me when they stopped going camping! The first order of business was to Reseason and Revive the Cast Iron.
Once that was done, it was time to turn our attention to designing the meal! We started by looking for a thrifty way to build a nutritionally balanced meal (it was a Boy Scout trip, after all!). So, we decided to base the meal on potatoes and chicken thighs…and then we waited until we got to the store to determine which green vegetable to use based on what looked good and what was on sale….that’s where Green Beans came into play. From there, we lined our Dutch Oven with foil (to reduce cleanup), cubed the potatoes, and layered the chicken on top so that as it cooked, the fat dripped down and seasoned the potatoes. Then, when the chicken was mostly cooked, we added our green beans towards the end so they’d finish at the right time.
Since we were working outside with a camping Dutch Oven, we had to figure out the right number of briquettes to use. In general, to get a camping dutch oven to 350 degrees F, you want to use the following formula to make this determination: Diameter of Dutch Oven x 2 + 1 = Number of Charcoal Briquettes. We had a 10″ Dutch Oven, so that gave us 21 briquettes. Then, you want to apportion them to be ~2/3 on top, and 1/3 on the bottom of the Dutch Oven. So here, we wanted 14 coals on top and 7 on the bottom for optimal even cooking. That said, you’ll see in the picture that we used significantly more than that. This is because it was cold and rainy, and we wanted to compensate (and get our food to cook a little quicker). All that said, you can also make this at home in your oven with a standard kitchen Dutch Oven too and skip all the math.
Time: 75 Minutes
- Chicken Thighs
- Red Potatoes
- Green Beans
- If cooking with coals, count your coals, and start to light them in a charcoal chimney. If using a conventional oven, preheat to 350 degrees F.
- Line your Dutch Oven with heavy duty aluminum foil.
- Cube your potatoes, and place them in the bottom of your Dutch Oven.
- Slice your garlic cloves in half.
- Arrange your chicken thighs atop your bed of potatoes, and top each with salt, pepper, and a half garlic clove.
- Place the lid on your Dutch Oven, and subject it to your heating element. If using charcoals, place about 1/3 of your coals under and 2/3 on your lid. If using a conventional oven, just stash your Dutch Oven inside.
- Cook for around 35-40 minutes.
- Carefully remove the lid, and add your green beans atop your chicken. Place the lid back on, and cook for another 15 minutes to finish everything off.
- Check to make sure your chicken has reached a minimum internal cooked temperature of 165 degrees F (it should be there or beyond by this time).
- Plate, devour, and enjoy!