Garth and Dian Ferrin are serious about their hobby.
Although they attend what some might consider offbeat social gatherings, dressed in Western attire, toting heavy black cauldrons, they're simply regular folks.Not as flamboyant as "Trekkers"(Star Trek lovers), this mother/son team is among a group known as "Dutchies."
"Dutchies" are the legions of folks who enjoy cooking in Dutch ovens, the cast-iron pots that go back in history to colonials, pioneers and gold miners.
So it was no small thing when the Ferrins recently walked away with grand champion honors at the International Dutch Oven Society's Dutch Oven Cookoff in Logan, part of the Festival of the American West activities.
Second-place honors went to Kathy and Brent Miller of West Jordan, the winners of a recent competition at the Pioneer Trail State Park. Third-place winners were Bill and Dee Ann Johnson from Layton.
Observing the cookoff was like watching a chain reaction: The midday sun cooked the contestants as they fanned the charcoal briquets that cooked their culinary creations encased in cast iron.
Although the atmosphere is fun and family-oriented, like a countrified chili cookoff, the best Dutch oven cooks in the world competing in a cookoff added a pinch of friendly tension.
Each two-person team was required to cook a triple-pot entry; one raised bread from yeast or sourdough using charcoal briquets, a main meat dish and a side dish of vegetables or dessert.
The guidelines for judging the entries are stringent: When the team members are called for the judging and presentation of their entry, they have exactly one minute to get their heavy pots to the judging table.
Longtime Dutch oven expert Dick Stucki, who has been cooking and competing in this type of cookery for over 35 years, says interest in Dutch ovens has "spread like a wildfire."
"When I was about 10 years old, there weren't any cookoffs; just a few sheepherders out there," he recalls. "I had an old Basque sheepherder show me how. The Basque were heavy into Dutch oven cooking, and there's where I learned."
Many of today's Dutch oven cooks learned the basics as Boy Scouts, preparing simple cobblers, potatoes or stews. Until the revival of this versatile way of outdoor cooking, Dutch ovens were primarily fired up on river raftingexpeditions or high country pack trips.
A stroll through the tented-camp at this cookoff showed no evidence of any simple "sheep-camp potatoes" or "hard-as-a-rock" biscuits.
The unexpected elegance that emerges today from well-worn blackened pots can be astounding to the non-Dutchie.
And where did today's version of the the cast-iron oven come from? One if by land, two if by sea - really! It's said that Paul Revere developed the flat-topped Dutch oven with a turned up edge on the lid to hold the coals and the three stub legs.
Hot coals or charcoal briquets are placed strategically on top of and under the pot to control the baking.
Why, then, is the thing called a Dutch oven?
In early America, Dutch traders traveled door-to-door selling household goods, including the cast-iron bake oven, which is supposedly named after the peddlers who sold them.
In the event that you've tuned out to Dutch-oven ANYTHING, here's a description of the upscale eating that emerged from the Ivory Tower, three blackened cast-iron ovens owned and lovingly cared for by Garth and Dian Ferrin, who are, by the way, $500 richer.
So here it is - the world champion Dutch oven-winning dinner:
Pot No. 1: Royal Pork Crown With Vegetables, Hawaiian:
A 15-inch deep Dutch oven containing a 10-pound maple-glazed pork crown roast (with those fancy while frilly "white crowns" on the ends of each rib), surrounded with tender new potatoes, caramelized carrots and onions.
Pot No. 2: Out of This World Rolls:
A 14-inch Dutch oven puffed up with a dozen perfectly browned and baked dinner rolls (honey butter waiting to be slathered atop the yeasty gems).
Pot No. 3: Royal Cherry Berry Pie:
A 12-inch pot with perfectly baked and browned flaky pie crust (top and bottom) filled with cherries, blueberries and strawberries, with a hint of almond.
Yep, these winners are a far cry from pineapple upside-down cake!
ROYAL PORK CROWN WITH VEGETABLES, HAWAIIAN
1 crown roast of pork (8 to 10 pounds)
2 cups soy sauce
4 cups pineapple juice
4 cups orange juice
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 cups ketchup
11/2 cups maple syrup
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
5 pounds new potatoes
2 pounds carrots
2 pounds onions
Purchase crown roast, having butcher prepare the crown. Mix the marinade by combining the soy sauce, pineapple juice and orange juice. Marinate the roast for 12 hours in the refrigerator. Precook the vegetables by seasoning with salt, pepper and butter and cooking in Dutch oven for 45 minutes with 18 coals on top and 12 coals on the bottom. Remove vegetables and keep warm. Remove roast from marinade. French trim the ribs 1 inch down. Sprinkle and rub in the cayenne pepper and chili powder. Cover the exposed rib and center with foil. Put roast on rack in the 15-inch deep Dutch oven. Cook with 10 to 12 coals on the bottom and 20 to 25 coals on top. Total cooking time is 3 hours. Brush with marinade every 20 minutes.
Make baste by combining 2 cups of marinade with ketchup, maple syrup, vinegar, Worchestershire sauce, salt and onion. Simmer for 30 minutes and add liquid smoke. During the last 40 minutes of cooking, remove foil and brush with baste every 10 minutes.
During the last 15 minutes, place precooked vegetables in the center of the crown roast and cook. Internal temperature of the meat should be 170 degrees. Serve the crown roast on the Dutch oven lid and garnish. Serves 14.
- Each serving contains 999 calories, 41.5 g fat, 103 g carb, 3,227 mg sodium, 172 mg cholesterol.
- From Garth and Dian Ferrin, Grand Champions, 1994 Dutch Oven Cookoff
WESTERN PRIME RIB
1 8-10 pound prime rib roast
1 part onion powder
1 part garlic powder
4 parts hickory salt
1/2 part pepper
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons horseradish or horseradish sauce
2 tablespoons beef soup base
2 tablespoons Kitchen Bouquet
Drippings from roast
Wrap meat with baker's parchment paper. Remove parchment for browning when desired. Baked in a 15-inch-deep dutch oven using 21 coals on the top and 18 on the bottom, changing coals approximately every hour. You may vary coals on the bottom and the top depending on how hot the outside weather is. Bake to desired doneness; Rare: 120-125 degrees; Med. rare: 130-140 degrees; Medium: 145-150 degrees; Well done: 155-160 degrees.
To prepare horseradish sauce:
Mix together sour cream, vinegar, horseradish and white pepper.
To prepare au jus:
Mix beef soup base, Kitchen Bouquet and roast drippings (drain fat from drippings). Add water if desired, to taste.
Garnish as desired. The Millers usually use Kale underneath, prime rib centered with baby red potatoes and baby carrots, sometimes with cherry tomatoes and a few onion flowers, if desired. You can also use acorn squash hollowed out to serve your sauce and au jus in. Serves 8 to 10 people.
- Each serving contains 863 calories, 51 g fat, 4 g carb, 2,908 mg sodium, 279 mg cholesterol.
- From Kathy and Brent Miller, West Jordan, Second Place Winners, 1994 International Dutch Oven Cookoff
ENCHILADA PIE SUPREME
2 pounds lean ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
1 large onion
2 cans (10 ounces) mild Old El Paso Enchilada Sauce
2 cans (103/4 ounces) Campbell's Tomato Soup
1 package large flour tortilla shells
2 cans (8 ounces) Hunt's Tomato Sauce
1 large green pepper
1 bunch green onions
1 cup fresh mushrooms
4 cups cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack cheese mix
Dice onion. Brown ground beef, salt and 3/4 diced onion in 12-inch Dutch oven using 8 coals on the bottom of the oven and 16 coals on the lid. Place remaining 1/4 onion in a medium bowl and set aside. Stir ocasionally, browning meat evenly. Drain off excess fat from meat. Place meat mixture into a medium bowl. In another medium bowl, mix tomato soup, enchilada sauce and tomato sauce together. Prepare vegetables by slicing mushrooms and green onions. Dice green pepper.
Place vegetables in bowl with the 1/4 diced onion. In the bottom of the 12-inch Dutch oven used for browning the meat, pour about 3/4 cup of the enchilada sauce.
Use one or two flour tortilla shells to cover the bottom of the Dutch oven. Alternate meat, sauce, vegetables, cheese and tortilla shells in layers. End with the cheese on top. Put 8 coals under the Dutch oven and 16 coals on the lid. Cook the enchilada pie 45 minutes, turning oven and lid 45 degrees every 15 minutes. (This allows even cooking). Garnish with tomato roses, avocado slices, olive slices, parsley and tomato pieces. Serves 18.
To make garnish:
For tomato roses, remove the peeling from the tomato, making sure to cut peeling off in one continuous piece. When the enchilada pie is cooked, place the avocado slices around the center in the shape of a pinwheel. Place three tomato roses in the center of the pinwheel. Scatter tomato pieces around the outside and put parsley around the edges. Scatter the black olives over the top.
- Each serving contains 345 calories, 20.5 g fat, 22 g carb, 847 mg sodium, 64 mg cholesterol.
- From Bill and DeeAnn Johnson, Third Place Winners, 1994 International Dutch Oven Cookoff
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups shortening
3/4 cups ice water
1 tablespoon water
1 quart pie cherries in water
1 pint blueberries
1 pint strawberries
1 teaspoon red food coloring
2 teaspoon almond extract
1 3/4 cups sugar
8 round tablespoons clear gelatin
4 tablespoons butter
Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender. Stir in water slowly. (It may not take all of the water.) Roll out about 3/4 of the dough. Press dough into a chilled 12-inch Dutch oven with the dough reaching half way up the oven. Mix the filling by stirring the almond extract and food coloring into the cherries and berries. Mix sugar and clear gelatin together. Add to the cherries and mix well. Pour into pie crust. Dot with butter. With remaining pie dough, roll out and cut leaf shapes. Score the leaf shapes so they look like veins of the leaf. Arrange randomly on filling. Braid remaining dough and place on outside edge of pie. Brush with a mixture of 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Bake with 20 coals on top and 12-15 coals on bottom for 50-60 minutes. Serves 18.
- Each serving contains 372 calories, 20 g fat, 44 g carb, 230 mg sodium, 18.5 mg cholesterol.
- From Garth and Dian Ferrin, Grand Champions, 1994 International Dutch Oven Cookoff
OUT OF THIS WORLD ROLLS
2 tablespoons dry yeast
1 1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
3 eggs, beaten
4 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup softened butter
2 tablespoons honey
Dissolve yeast in warm water and sugar. Add butter, eggs and salt to the mixture. Stir in flour to make a soft dough. Let rise until double, about an hour. Mix down and knead a little, using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to hands. Shape rolls into ball, the size of golf balls and dip in melted butter. Place 2/3 of buttered rolls in 14-inch Dutch oven. Let rolls rise in oven until 2 inches below the top of the oven. Preheat Dutch oven lid by placing 17 coals on top. Place preheated oven lid on and place 12 coals under the bottom of the oven. Cook for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Turn out of the oven and serve on the lid. Cream together butter and honey to make honey butter. Glaze with honey butter while rolls are hot. Put remaining 1/3 of roll dough in refrigerator and bake later. Garnish. Serves 14.
- Each roll contains 262 calories, 11 g fat, 34 g carb, 419 mg sodium, 72 mg cholesterol.
- From Garth and Dian Ferrin, Grand Champions, 1994 Dutch Oven Cookoff
- Note: This roll is excellent refrigerated. After dough has risen and is kneaded, put it in a greased bowl and cover with waxed paper. Let stand in refrigerator overnight. Shape into rolls 3 to 4 hours before serving. Cook the same as the directions above.