17 September 2009

Greek Beef Casserole while camping!

Towards the end of summer, I was fortunate enough to attend a demonstration on Dutch oven cooking at a campground where we were staying. I was already familiar with Dutch oven cooking having inherited one from my father-in-law last summer. I bravely made my son's birthday cake in it last summer while camping!

However, attending the demonstration was an eye-opener for me at how easy Dutch oven cooking could be! I had always thought of my Dutch oven as sort of a fun thing to occasionally wow people with while camping and to show off a little. I had seen it as this bulky pot that I could barely lift and that had to sit under my feet in the car for lack of space. When I told the demonstrator that I had inherited a 14 inch deep Dutch oven, his response was, "Whoa, that's 10 quarts of food!" It was his disbelief that I was actually using a pot that big that inspired me to go buy a "baby" 10 inch Dutch oven. This pot completely changed the way I feel about Dutch oven cooking. The techniques I learned made the Dutch oven a joy to use, and with the smaller pot it is completely manageable! For our last camping trip of the season, a six-day trip to Fort Stevens, OR, I used the pot 4 times!

Here is one of the dishes I made, a greek beef dish called Stifado inspired by Beatrice Ojakangas' book, The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever, that I adapted to work in my Dutch oven. Hands down, it was the best dish I've ever made while camping.

Greek Beef Casserole in the Dutch oven by Joie de vivre


1/4 c. canola oil
2 1/2 lbs. top round beefsteak, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
3 Tbls. red wine vinegar
1 c. water
1 tsp. rosemary
2 Tbls. tomato puree
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 cinnamon stick
5 whole allspice berries
2 small onions, chopped roughly
4 potatoes (I used white ones) cut into large bite sized pieces


1. To make cooking while camping easier, chop your meat at home before placing it in a doubled Ziplock baggie in your ice chest. Also, pre-measure and place the rosemary, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and allspice in a little ziplock baggie prior to your trip.

2. Preheat your Dutch oven by placing it over your chimney starter while your coals are lighting. Make sure to leave space for oxygen to get to your coals and be careful of your arms! Make sure Dutch oven is steady. When the Dutch oven is pre-heated, add the canola oil and the beef. Stir the beef until it is browned.

3. Drain the beef and add all of the remaining ingredients. Place the lid on the Dutch oven and cook at 350 degrees for about an hour and 15 minutes. (*A Note about Dutch Ovens* You can get 350 degrees in a 10 or 12 inch Dutch oven, by placing about 7 coals underneath, and about 10-12 coals on top. Use long handled tongs to move the coals from your chimney starter to the bottom and the top of your Dutch oven. Every 15 minutes or so, turn the pot a quarter of a turn clockwise, and turn your lid a quarter of a turn counterclockwise to ensure even heat distribution. After 45 minutes, you will need to add fresh, hot charcoal briquettes to the bottom and top of the oven to ensure even heat as well.)

4. When dinner is getting close, saute some sliced green, yellow and red peppers.
5. Expect some hungry and nosy neighbors to come calling when you pull the lid off this masterpiece! Enjoy, and if you try this, let me know how it goes for you!


Cathy said...

Glad to see you back! This looks amazing...would be worth liking camping for ;)

Julie said...

Sounds lovely...I'll bet you did get some interested neighbors sniffing around :) I have a dutch oven I got at goodwill..I've only got to try it a few times but enjoy it a lot.

Pierce said...

Good job on that dish. I use a camping stove and like to cook outside too. This looks amazing.

zerrin said...

I love all these together, a fantastic beef dish!

Karine said...

This looks delicious! Cooking outside is sssooo fun!

Chow and Chatter said...

very cool dish for camping

Bob said...

Looks fantastic. I have an enameled Dutch oven, but I never go camping. Next time I use it I'll just pretend. Heh.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Great ideas here for camping and how to use the Dutch oven. Smart to cut your meat at home first. I'm sure that made life a lot easier.
Fantastic beef dish for home too.

5 Star Foodie said...

That casserole looks super delicious and I bet it's just wonderful on a camping trip!

Cinnamon Girl aka Reeni♥ said...

I bet your family was the best-fed campers there! How hearty and delicious!

A Year on the Grill said...

This looks terrific. I love my dutch oven, but rarely use it...I always think of this as a cold weather cooking. now I am inspired and need to rethink my ideas. Thanks for the post

girlichef said...

Yum! This looks delicious and comforting. I feel so old-school when I cook in a Dutch Oven. And I love it :)

Trish said...

Oh my goodness...I can just imagine all the campers for miles around coming over for a 'look see'. Grin... Very good!

figtree said...

I cant believe you can make something this delicious while cooking...Ive been eating burnt hot dogs way too long!Figtreeapps

Laura said...

Welcome back! Looks delicious! How are the "little devils" doing at school? I love the picture where they're dressed in red.

Sunny said...

oh yum, that looks so delicious! now i want to go camping!! :)

Chef E said...

Who is this fabulous blog I have missed and presented this tasty dish for me to drool over?

Mark Dutch Oven said...

This looks seriously good! I, myself, have a couple of 12" ovens that are my "workhorses". I use them on my back porch pretty much every week.

I also have a deep 14" that I'll occasionally use for a roast, a ham, or a small turkey.

Great recipe!

isa said...

This sounds so delicious!

James said...

Hey - you make me want to go camping all over again!