Wow your friends and family on your next camping trip with a classic Dutch oven recipe. Here’s everything you need to know to master Dutch oven chicken enchilada pie — a deliciously-layered chicken, vegetable, and bean dish that’s topped with freshly-baked cheesy cornbread. You can also make it vegetarian. Just leave out the chicken and add more veggies and/or put your own spin on the filling. Either way, it’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Just ask our guides who love to whip this dish up on the river.
Dutch Oven Camping Dinner: Chicken Enchilada Pie
2 pounds chicken breast
2 medium white onions
2 tsp. cumin
½ tsp. red cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper to taste
2 green peppers
2 yellow squash
1 can yellow corn
1 can black beans
1 – 28 oz. can red or green enchilada sauce
1 – 30-count pack of small corn tortillas
1 – 16 oz package of shredded Colby or Mexican cheese
2 small packages of Jiffy cornbread mix
2/3 cup milk
1 can of diced green chiles (optional)
Serves 8 | Double the recipe for bigger groups
You’ll need an 8-quart (14”) Dutch oven with feet, tongs, pair of thick gloves or oven mitt, bag of charcoal briquettes, lighter, a charcoal chimney starter and a fire pan or aluminum foil. If you don’t have a charcoal chimney starter, you can light the coals in a campfire ring or alternate fire-safe area.
Steps 1 – 4 can be made on a camp stove or ahead of time in your home kitchen.
1) Prep enchilada filling ingredients. Cut your chicken breast into bite size pieces. Then, dice the onions, peppers and squash and set aside.
2) Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet on medium heat. (This can also be done in your Dutch oven, but you will need to prep an additional 15 coals to use for sautéing.) Add chicken, onions, cumin, and cayenne pepper to the pan and cook until the chicken is almost done.
3) Add peppers and squash to the skillet and cook for 5-10 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your vegetables.
4) Add corn and black beans to chicken and vegetable mix and cook until thoroughly heated. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
5) Prepare cornbread mix per directions on back of the box. If you like, you can spice up the batter a bit by adding a small can of diced green chiles and a bit of shredded cheese.
6) Light your coals (roughly 35 charcoal briquettes). A common mistake is to light the coals before this step. If you do this, the charcoals won’t be hot enough to bake your cornbread. If you prepped your enchilada filling at home, you can light your coals right away.
7) Assemble enchilada layers. Pour roughly 1 cup of enchilada sauce in the bottom of the Dutch oven. On top of the sauce, add a single layer of corn tortillas, followed by a layer of chicken/vegetable mix. Sprinkle cheese. Pour another layer of sauce and repeat layers, finishing about 1 inch from top.
8) Add the cornbread batter on top of the chicken/tortilla layers. Finish with a layer of cheese on top.
9) Set coals. On a fire pan or piece of foil in a wide-open area, use tongs to carefully place 6-8 coals in a circle, and put two more in the center. Then, set your Dutch oven on top of the coals and cover. Evenly line the lid with approximately 12 coals, and put two more coals in the center.
10) Bake covered for 25-30 minutes. You can add a few coals in the center of the lid after 15 minutes to keep the heat high. When done, sauce should be simmering and cheese melted and slightly browned.
Dutch Oven Cooking Tips
Dutch oven cooking can take some practice to perfect, and often will require some fine-tuning in the field. To help you out, we’ve put together a few Dutch oven pro tips so your next camping meal will not only be easy, but delicious too.