Home PageCookingOutdoor Camp Oven Cooking: Root Vegetable Gratin

Outdoor Camp Oven Cooking: Root Vegetable Gratin

Dec 1, 2016

In:Cooking, Recipes

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I love camping, and I love cooking. And we all know I love cast iron cookware!

On a June 2016 camping trip – at Frontenac State Park – I brought along a Griswold no. 10 cast iron camp oven / chuckwagon, and made a tasty side dish for the twelve tent campers we had along.  Our group typically has a big pot luck supper on Saturday nights. Since we are all a group of “foodies,” it is fun to try something new and hope that the group will applaud.

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You can see that the group is on pins and needles awaiting the taste test of the root gratin vegetable dish. We were a pretty high-strung group. :)

You can see that the group is on pins and needles awaiting the taste test of the root gratin vegetable dish. We are a pretty high-strung group. 🙂 Anna and her husband, Rob, are in the middle of this photo.

Applaud, they did. With help from my friends, we made a wonderful root vegetable gratin. The recipe was adapted a bit from one I found somewhere on the wild, wild web.

Here’s how I did it!

Root Vegetable Gratin

Recipe said it serves 8; it served 12 with leftovers for the next morning’s breakfast hash.

Ingredients:

  • 4 T unsalted butter, divided
  • 1.5 c. Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1.5 c. shredded parmesan
  • 6 or so sprigs thyme, plus 1 T leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 c. heavy cream (I used 2 c. heavy cream and 1 c. half and half)
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 1.5 lb hunk of celery root, peeled and sliced 1/16″ thick
  • 1 lb hunk of rutabaga, peeled and sliced 1/16″ thick
  • 2 peeled sweet potatoes, sliced 1/16″ thick
  • 1 lb yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/16″ thick
  • Pam vegetable oil spray
  • hunk of parchment paper

Day before preparation:

  • Melt 2 T butter in size 8 cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs. Stir until golden brown; 5-7 minutes. Let cool.
  • Mix cooled breadcrumbs with 1/2 c. parmesan and 1 T thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Place in quart-sized zip-lock bag and set aside.

Camp preparation:

  • Peel the vegetables. Using a mandoline, slice into even 1/16″ slices. Place all slices in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Toss.
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Even after all these years of life on this Earth, I cannot for the life of me pare a vegetable with a knife. Debra, however, is an expert and came to my rescue.

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Debra and Jerry added their sweet potatoes to the recipe. They were a nice touch!

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We left the holder for the vegetables at home – that little thing with prongs so that you don’t slice your fingers? Debra made do. What a champ!

  • Bring cream, broth, thyme sprigs, and remaining 2T butter to simmer in skillet or camp oven. Remove from heat. Discard thyme. Cover and keep warm.
  • Take about 24 charcoal briquettes and light; cook til ashy grey.

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Linda, getting the cream mixture ready. It was raining. Linda persevered, however!

Pan Apprentice Linda, getting the cream mixture ready. It was raining. Linda persevered, however! The briquettes on the fire grate are cooking down and awaiting the camp oven placement.

  • Spray inside of camp oven with Pam.
  • Arrange 1/3 of the veggies in camp oven. Cover with 1/2 c. parmesan. Repeat layers. Top with  vegetables. Pour cream mixture over the vegetables. Place a piece of parchment paper directly over the vegetables. Cover.
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Debra arranging; Jerry standing watch.

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Ready!

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With the parmesan sprinkled on top.

Camp Cooking:

  • Original recipe called for 50-60 minutes of cooking in a 350 degree oven. I used 18 briquettes on top and 6 underneath, in an effort to replicate the temperature charts I’ve found online (one is here).

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  • Every 15 minutes, turn lid 45 degrees. Turn pot 45 degrees. The goal is to avoid hot spots as possible.
  • As the charcoal wears thin, add more.
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  • After about an hour, remove cover and parchment paper. Scatter breadcrumbs on top of potatoes. Re-cover. Bake additional 15-20 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
    griswold camp oven chuck wagon cast iron chuckwagon outdoor cooking potato root vegetable gratin campfire side dish

    Pre-Panko.

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    w Panko.

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    Stirred and ready to serve! Scrumptious!

Scoop up and enjoy! The dish received rave reviews from our hungry campers.