I love cooking outside, it doesn’t matter if it’s on a gas BBQ, a charcoal grill or an open fire. By using a cast iron Dutch Oven you can make some easy one-pot dishes with just a few charcoal briquettes on the ground.
This is a simple (gluten free) Beef Lasagne in a Dutch Oven. The main thing to remember is that you want it to be juicy so that it doesn’t dry out in the intense heat.
Here’s my choice of ingredients that will serve four people in a 4Ltr Dutch Oven – mostly for ease of preparing and cooking outside. You could even swap the chilled beef mince for a couple of tins if you don’t have a campervan fridge for fresh meat.
- 750g Beef Lean Steak Mince 5% Fat (£3.95)
- 250g Grated Mature Cheddar (£1.49)
- 400g Heinz Cream Of Tomato Soup (95p)
- 500g Italian Tomato Passata (80p)
- 100g Gluten Free Lasagne Sheets (50p)
- 250g Frozen Diced Onions (50p)
- Glug of Olive Oil
- 1 tsp. Schwartz Garlic Granules
- 1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
- 1 tsp. Dried Basil
- 1/2 tsp. Table Salt
For four people this works out at approximately £2.50 per serving (plus fuel)
Tell your fellow campers/family/friends/test subjects that dinner will be served in about one and a half hours – allowing for preparation and cooking time.
Put 23 charcoal briquettes in a chimney starter and use a couple of natural firefighters to get the coals started
After five minutes, when it’s glowing, put the (4Ltr) Dutch Oven on top of the chimney starter and fry the onions in a glug of olive oil until soft
Add the beef mince to the onions and cook until brown (during this time the briquettes should be ready and white)
Transfer the beef and onions to a separate bowl with a wooden spoon and add the tomato soup, passata, herbs and seasoning – mix it all together
Discard any excess fat from the Dutch oven and carefully move it to one side. You’ll need a heat proof glove or a Dutch Oven lifter as everything from now on in will be dangerously hot
Set out 15 charcoal briquettes on the ground or a concrete slab and lower the Dutch Oven (with feet) onto the coals
Spoon a layer of the wet mixture into the bottom of the oven. Add a layer of grated cheese. Add a layer of gluten free lasagne sheets by snapping them to size. Then repeat to build the layers
Place the lid on the oven and cover with the remaining 8 briquettes and leave to cook for 40 minutes. Check the softness of the lasagne sheets with a knife after 20 minutes and adjust heat by removing coals if required to ensure it doesn’t dry out
With the briquettes on the bottom and top the internal temperature of the oven will reach over 200oC depending on the oven size. There are plenty of “dutch oven temperature charts” online for you to take a look at.
Carefully remove the oven from the heat after about 40 minutes (after checking) and serve the lasgane straight from the oven. Side dishes can be made by stacking ovens on top of each other – but that’s for another post 🙂
If you don’t know much about caring for a Dutch Oven then have a read up on cleaning and oiling. Always use wooden implements to avoid scratching the seasoned coating on the cast iron and take extreme care when handling during cooking. Serve the lasagne straight from the oven and then fill with water and put back on the remaining heat to start the process of loosening any stuck food. Leave it to heat and soak for cleaning (with water only) and re-oiling after dinner.
That’s about it, hope you enjoy the process as much as I do. Sitting around the oven with a few friends and a beer is always a bonus! let me know how you get on or if you have any improvements by leaving a comment below.
Here are a few affiliate links to Amazon for some of the equipment you could use: