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Cookbook review: Advanced Dutch oven recipes have international flavors

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“AROUND THE WORLD IN A DUTCH OVEN," by Mark Hansen, Hobble Creek Press, $16.99, 208 pages (nf)

Mark Hansen’s new cookbook, “Around the World In a Dutch Oven,” takes Dutch oven cooking to a whole new level, well beyond the traditional peach cobbler and barbecued chicken that can be found at every Scout campout. If being impressive at the next cookout is the goal, then this is the book that will show one how to do it. Hansen’s book contains recipes for making everything from sushi to Moroccan Lamb Tangine to a more elegant chicken and dumplings. Outdoor cooking has never had so much variety.

Hansen begins his book with a 10-page discussion on food in general and what flavors go well together and whether or not his recipes are authentic, which borders more on reflective than informational. Looking past the large amount of narrative and almost completely absent pictures, Hansen does a wonderful job opening his readers' minds to possibilities in Dutch oven cooking that may have been previously unimaginable. Who knew that crème brulee could be made in a Dutch oven?

This is not a beginning Dutch oven book and there is not a lot of explanation of the basics. It is assumed that the reader already has a firm hold on these. Arguably, the biggest benefit of this book is Hansen’s descriptions of his learning process, which would be similar to anyone else’s who is attempting to become a Dutch oven gourmet.

Much of the learning is done by trial and error, and Hansen does a great job describing that process so that the reader fully understands why things are done in a certain way and what things definitely do not work. This should cut down on some of a struggling cook’s failures.

Hansen is an avid Dutch oven blogger at www.marksblackpot.com who lives in Eagle Mountain, Utah, with his wife and two sons.

Zesty Jambalaya

This is a cool jambalaya that I pulled from various sources on the Internet. Here it is with my adaptations and commentary.

12-inch Dutch oven

15–18 coals below

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoons minced garlic

1 onion, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 long stalks of celery, chopped

1 pounds smoked sausage, sliced thin

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 heaping teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/3 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1 bay leaf

liberal shaking of Cajun spice mix

1 1/2 cups chicken broth

1 cup uncooked rice

I heated the Dutch oven with some oil in the bottom. It was a 12-inch shallow oven (my workhorse), and I had 15–18 coals on the bottom.

Then I put in the garlic and the veggies. I stirred that around a bit until I saw some brown, especially in the garlic. Then I put in the sausage and stirred that in. I cooked it for a while, until it had a nice caramelized brown to it.

Then I added the tomatoes and the spices, along with the chicken broth. I let that simmer for about 20 minutes, covered.

Then I added the rice, covered it up, and let it simmer. I took a lot of the underneath coals and put them on the top. I probably had 10–12 below, and the same on top. I let it simmer for 30–40 minutes, until I felt the rice was done. I served it up, and it was yummy!

— “Around the World In a Dutch Oven,” by Mark Hansen

Kelly McPherson is a health educator at the University of Utah, a cyclist and a mother of five. Email: mcpherson.kelly@gmail.com