Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Recipe: Enameled Dutch Oven Popcorn

Popcorn fresh from an enameled cast iron dutch oven

An enameled cast iron dutch oven is an ideal way to make popcorn. The end result is free of unwanted chemicals, incredibly tasty, and is easy to do once you get the hang of it.

The key is to keep the heat lower than you might think. Give it plenty of time to heat up.  Once the bottom of your cast iron dutch oven gets hot, the corn pops in a hurry!

Note: if you have a traditional (bare cast iron) dutch oven, there's a bare cast iron dutch oven popcorn recipe for you as well.

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup Canola oil and Walnut oil mix, 50/50 mix
  • 2/3 cup Popcorn
  • Salt (to taste)

Procedure
Heat canola and walnut oil (mixed 50/50) in your enameled cast iron dutch oven over medium heat. Oil should be a little less than a quarter inch deep in the pan. Toss in two kernels of popcorn (to test oil temperature), and place lid on pan until they pop. This will probably take 5-8 minutes.

Once both test kernels pop, add enough popcorn to cover the bottom of the pan entirely (about 2/3 cup), and replace the lid loosely.

Shake pan gently while kernels pop to keep from burning, and keep the lid slightly ajar (half inch or so) to help steam escape.

Once popping slows down and/or the dutch oven is full, remove lid, and (with hotpads) dump contents into a large steel bowl.

Season to taste with finely ground salt, or whatever else your heart desires.

18 comments:

  1. Now you are talking. The only popcorn I eat any more. I have to admit that I like to add some melted butter as well!

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  2. I certainly wouldn't hold your addition of butter against you, as long as you melt it in a non-teflon pan...

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  3. This is my first time making popcorn. I don't eat popcorn, but everyone else in my family does. It turned out great! I, of course, used my cast iron dutch oven. My kids enjoyed hearing the popcorn being made, some even shot out at the end.

    Naima

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  4. Hello Naima,

    Glad to hear it went well. I hope your family will enjoy many years of healthier popcorn!

    -Derek

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  5. Just got rid of all our teflon after forgetting an empty pan on the burner (luckily on low heat) and catching a whiff of those toxic chemicals. Bought an enameled cast iron pot, but wasn't sure we could (or how to) make popcorn in it. Thanks for the info!!! Good riddance, teflon!!!!

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  6. Congrats on your move to cast iron! Please let me know if you have any questions.

    -Derek

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  7. Do the popcorn kernels scratch the enamel? We make a LOT of popcorn at our house and I just snagged a set of Cousances pans and am almost afraid to use them they're so beautiful.

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  8. Hi,

    I've never had any trouble with popcorn kernels scratching the enamel... as it's pretty tough stuff. Put those beautiful pans to use!

    -Derek

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  9. What's the benefit of using the dutch oven over a regular steel pot with a lid? The dutch oven is so heavy, so I think it would be more difficult to shake it around so the popcorn doesn't get burnt.

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  10. Hey Morgan,

    Great question. I use medium heat when making dutch oven popcorn (as opposed to high heat). So there's really no danger of the popcorn burning... although I'll still give the dutch oven a shake a few times while the popcorn is popping just to make sure. The real benefit of the dutch oven for popcorn is the nice even heat it delivers due to its iron mass. Even heat also helps prevent any burning or scorching.

    Hope that helps! If you try it out please let me know how it goes.

    -Derek

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  11. Aha! I'll definitely try it next time I made popcorn. Thanks!

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  12. Great. Let us know how it goes!

    -Derek

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  13. How about kettle corn, would that work do you think?
    Thanks!

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  14. I think kettle corn should work great. I make apple and rhubarb crisps in my dutch ovent when we're camping, and it handles sugar just fine. If you try it, please let us know how it goes!

    -Derek

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  15. What is the benefit of the 50/50 oil mix? The walnut oil? Is it just personal preference? Thanks!

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  16. Great question. Yeah, I like the nutty/buttery taste that the walnut oil adds, but you can easily just use straight canola oil.

    The only oils to avoid are low smoke-point oils such as extra virgin olive oil, sesame oil, etc. They will burn and add off flavors. For the same reason, you can't use straight walnut oil either.

    Hope that helps!

    -Derek

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  17. When you say camping do you mean you put your pot right on the campfire?

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    1. Hi there.

      Yeah, when we camp we use a camp dutch oven for popcorn (among other things). It has little legs that hold it above the coals. Here's an article about campfire dutch oven cooking that you might find useful. Please let me know if you have any questions. Thanks!

      -Derek

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