I put my new camp oven to work today making a pot of baked beans using the guidelines and recipe in the book, "The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen". In preparation for today's cooking adventure, I soaked the beans overnight. The only thing I was missing was a cup of beer. As luck would have it, a friend of ours who brews his own beer stopped by to visit us and he just happened to have a keg of beer in his trunk! How lucky can you get? The recipe called for a dark stout which was what he had. I asked for a generous cup; a little for the beans, a little for me.
The baked beans simmered for four hours over the fire ring. I sat in the Adirondack chair and enjoyed the warm fire on a chilly spring day while visiting with the chickens and reading a few recipes in the cookbook. It was a joy to the senses to cook outdoors with the smell of molasses, brown sugar and beans simmering and the sight of the ducks in the pond.
The whole process was fairly easy. The biggest challenge was keeping the fire consistent. Fortunately, the tripod has an adjustable chain so I can easily raise and lower the oven as needed. Jim made the cast iron tripod for the oven and it is very sturdy and perfect for the job.
The beans tasted delicious. The dark stout lent a deep, rich flavor to the beans along with the molasses. At the end of the cooking time, I put some hot dogs in a foil packet next to the coals to steam. We ate them on some homemade hot dog buns and had giant chocolate chip cookies for dessert.
Eating these "off the grid" beans was very satisfying and got some more ideas stirring. It was a very good learning experience and I am looking forward to cooking some stew and roasting some birds in the camp oven. Providing for yourself is so much more satisfying than buying everything you need. With some ingenuity and effort you can do just about anything!