Master Chef Contest Savory Winner: Katahdin Surprise


Scouting Magazine Master Chef Contest Savory Winner

Judges’ Comments: The camp Dutch oven’s renowned multi-functionality is wonderfully demonstrated in this recipe by Jim Rausch, in which the device begins as a fry pan, transitions to a pot and ends as an oven. We loved the complexity the apricot preserves brought to this one-pot traditional southwest favorite, making it the grand prize winner in the savory category.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds boneless pork, cut bite-sized (can substitute stew beef, chicken, or firm tofu)
  • 2 (1.25-ounce) packets taco seasoning mix
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (8-ounce) bottle salsa, your choice
  • 1 (10-ounce) jar apricot all-fruit preserves
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (11-ounce) can corn
  • 2 pounds shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 2 (8.5-ounce) packages Jiffy corn bread mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk

What you’ll do:

  1. Light and heat 15 briquettes.
  2. Place meat into a one-gallon sealable bag along with taco seasoning. Seal bag and shake well, making sure to thoroughly coat pieces with seasoning.
  3. Pour vegetable oil into 12-inch Dutch oven and place over 15 briquettes. Fry coated pieces of meat until brown.
  4. Add salsa, apricot preserves, crushed tomatoes, kidney beans and corn to Dutch oven.
  5. Cover oven and simmer until thoroughly cooked, about 30 minutes.
  6. Add cheese to oven and stir well.
  7. In a second one-gallon sealable bag, add cornbread mix, eggs and milk. Seal bag and knead contents until all large clumps disappear.
  8. Light and heat 25 fresh briquettes.
  9. Cut a corner from bottom of ziplock bag and squeeze cornbread mix evenly over top of the bubbling mixture in Dutch oven. Do not stir batter! Cover oven.
  10. Place eight coals underneath the oven and 17 of coals on the lid.
  11. Bake for about 20 minutes or until top of cornbread is lightly browned and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Find even more Dutch oven recipes at

About the judges: Tim and Christine Conners are proud parents of two Scouts and authors of several camping cookbooks. Find their books at local Scout shops or at


  1. I made this a couple of months ago at a campout and it was a big hit. I am about to leave for another campout and I am making it again.

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