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‘Ultimate Dutch Oven Cookbook’ brings flavor, ease to the forefront

Blackberry-ginger slump with rosemary dumplings (Photo by Emily and Matt Clifton)

What’s your favorite kitchen utensil? Which one do you feel like you use the most? Emily and Matt Clifton, authors of “The Ultimate Dutch Oven Cookbook” are wanting to change your mind when it comes to that particular tool.

In the cookbook, the Cliftons give 60 tried-and-true recipes using only the Dutch oven as the means of cooking, including even how to make bread in the Dutch oven.

From stew, desserts, pot-pies, meatballs and a one-pot crispy chicken, there’s plenty of variety to be had in this cookbook. I tried the One-Pot Cheesy Sausage and Pasta Bake one evening and found it came together like a treat — one pan that everything cooks in, including the pasta, and everyone at home loved it. It just might get me using my Dutch oven more!

The Cliftons participated in a Q&A about their new book and just why the love the Dutch oven:

Q: What was your inspiration for the cookbook?

A: When we were deciding what the focus of the book would be, we realized that many of the go-to recipes that we’d made and blogged about over the years were made in a Dutch oven. Often we’ll start a dish on the stovetop, then pop on the lid and finish it in the oven. And we have a pretty small kitchen, so we don’t have room to keep too many pots and pans active at any one time! Usually we have one cast iron skillet and one Dutch oven to hand, which takes care of 95 percent of our cooking needs. And it turned out, Dutch oven cooking was a perfect way to deal with spending more time in the house last year!

Q: What is your favorite recipe in the book?

We have so many favorite recipes from the book — one thing that we loved about writing it was realizing how many different techniques and types of recipe could be made in the Dutch oven — from slow oven braising, as in Spicy Korean Brisket Sandwiches, to stovetop dishes like Creamy Chicken Stew and Chive Dumplings. We also loved making desserts in it — like the Caramel Apple Pandowdy and deep-fried Berry-Glazed Donuts. We love it when everything gets cooked in the same pot — much less for us to clean up!

Q: What would you say to people who don’t have a Dutch oven or have one but never use it, to get them to take the plunge?

If you don’t yet have a Dutch oven but are curious about your options, remember that you don’t have to get the most expensive brand. Top-end Dutch ovens will last forever and often have a lifetime guarantee, so if your budget allows, definitely splurge! But there are some very good and relatively inexpensive versions available online or at home goods stores — do make sure it’s cast iron, though. If it’s your first oven, go for an enameled version (most will be), because it won’t require seasoning and also won’t react to acidic ingredients.

Get out your Dutch oven and try the Blackberry-Ginger Slump for dessert tonight with the recipe below.

“The Ultimate Dutch Oven Cookbook” is published by Page Street Publishing. It is $21.99.

Contact Amy Phelps at aphelps@newsandsentinel.com.

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Reprinted with permission from The Ultimate Dutch Oven Cookbook by Emily and Matt Clifton, Page Street Publishing Co. 2021. Photo credit: Emily and Matt Clifton

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BLACKBERRY-GINGER SLUMP WITH ROSEMARY DUMPLINGS

Yield: 4-6 servings

While grunts, slumps, buckles and betties all sound like adorably old- fashioned insults, they actually belong to the same family of fruit desserts as cobblers, crisps and crumbles. So what exactly is a slump? We’ll clear that right up for you: A slump is a grunt that is baked in the oven instead of simmered on the stovetop. Capisce? No? Fair enough. All you really need to know is that the combination of sweet blackberries and spicy ginger is a winner, especially topped with dumplings perfumed with just a hint of rosemary. The fact that they slump down into the softened fruit is all part of the vintage charm.

FOR THE DUMPLINGS

2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour

2 tbsp (26 g) sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp (8 g) baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

5 tbsp (70 g) very cold unsalted butter

1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk, kefir or plain yogurt

2 tsp (3 g) minced fresh rosemary

FOR THE FILLING

6 cups (900 g) fresh or frozen blackberries or other berries

3 tbsp (18 g) finely chopped candied ginger

1 cup (200 g) sugar (use a little less if your blackberries are unusually sweet)

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp lemon zest

1/2 cup (120 ml) water

FOR SERVING

1/2-1 tbsp (7-13 g) turbinado sugar

Vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or clotted cream

To make the dumplings, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Cut the butter up into small pieces and add it in. Using your hands, a pastry cutter or a fork, work the butter into the flour mixture until about half of it looks like coarse meal and the rest is left in pea- sized pieces. Add the buttermilk and rosemary and stir until the flour is just moistened, while handling the dough as little as possible. Turn it out onto a sheet of plastic wrap, press it into a loose disk shape, cover it completely and refrigerate it while you prepare the filling.

Preheat the oven to 400∂F (200∂C) and set a rack in the middle.

To make the filling, combine the blackberries, candied ginger, sugar, lemon juice, zest and water into a Dutch oven and place over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer, decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar melts and the berries release some of their juices, 3 to 5 minutes. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and, using your hands or a spoon, tear off roughly 2-inch (5-cm) chunks and evenly distribute them over the top of the fruit. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar evenly over the top, if using. Place the pot in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the top turns light golden brown. Remove the pot from the oven and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a dollop of whipped cream or a drizzle of clotted cream.

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