A Dutch oven is an amazing piece of cookware.
It isn’t your typical type of oven used for baking and roasting. Rather, it is a heavy, thick-walled cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid that can be made of cast iron, cast aluminum, ceramic or other metals.
It is really a sturdy, versatile piece of kitchen equipment that can be used for baking casseroles, preparing soups, frying and braising. In fact, most meals that can be prepared in a conventional oven can be made in a Dutch oven.
A Brief History of The Dutch Oven
Around the 17th Century, the Dutch oven was normally made with brass. Over time, cast iron was gradually used to replaced brass due to its durability and versatility. These Dutch ovens were used to bake, boil, stew, roast and fry food.
In the Netherlands, where this Dutch oven originates from, it is called a Braadpan which means Roasting pan. Nowadays, this Dutch pan has evolved and is now made of enamel steel which can be used for induction heating and regular gas heating.
Types of Dutch Ovens
Most Dutch ovens are now either made of plain or enamel cast iron.
The enamel cast iron is normally expensive because it doesn’t need to be seasoned like the plain cast iron type and acidic ingredients can be used with it. The only downside to this type is that it is more prone to getting cracked.
On the other hand, the plain cast iron Dutch oven is inexpensive but needs to be seasoned– a process of treating the surface of cookware with non-stick material intermittently. This is done by coating the cast iron with oil and then baking it for an hour at 350° F. After this, the oven is dried and ready to use.
Uses of a Dutch Oven
A Dutch oven is very versatile and can be used for a lot of things in the kitchen, here are some:
- Making a skillet cake, cookie or bread: This pot can withstand extreme oven temperatures and is good for baking in a conventional oven.
- Making braised meat: The secret to braising is that food is cooked with low and slow heat- a process that can be very effectively carried out with a Dutch oven because it keeps the heat even as it can withstand heat for hours without getting damaged.
- Poaching Chicken: Simmering chicken with a small about of fluid can be very tricky but with the use of a dutch oven, it helps the chicken retain its moisture.
- Making Stew and Soups: Using a Dutch oven intensifies the flavors when cooking especially when making a one-pot meal, this also means less dishware is to be thrown in the dishwasher.
- Frying: Deep frying or stir-frying with this pot makes cooking less messy and reduces oil splashes, this is very convenient if you fry foods often.
5 Easy Recipes for a Dutch Oven
There are thousands of recipes out that can be prepared with a Dutch oven but here are our top 5 easy recipes that can be whipped up in no time.
1. Irish Soda Bread
This is a very popular bread that hales from Ireland and you will need the following ingredients:
- 4 cups of flour
- 2 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 teaspoon Baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cups of raisins
- 2 cups of buttermilk.
For more information on this Recipe check here.
2. Skillet-Braised Pork Chops
Who doesn’t love pork chops? Preparing pork chops is quite easily done in a Dutch oven.
- 2 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 cup of diced onions
- Kosher Salt
- Ground Black Pepper
- 4 Cuts of Pork Chops
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1 tbsp Mustard
- 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
- 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 3 tsp Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
For more information on this recipe check the Spruce Eats.
3. Poached Chicken
This is a very healthy method of cooking chicken, it doesn’t require oil.
- 1 Chicken Breast (Boneless)
- 4 Cups of water
- 2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Thyme
- 1 Bayleaf
- 1-inch Ginger
For more Information on this Recipe check Tasteessence.
4. Skillet Beef Stew
This is a very delicious meal that contains beef and vegetables.
- 1 Pound Beef (cut into cubes)
- 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 2 tsp Thyme
- 2 tsp Oregano
- 6 Medium Carrot (Cut into cubes)
- Celery Stalks
- 1 Medium Onions
- 6 Cups Beef Broth
- 1/3 Cup Flour
For more information on this recipe check Better Homes & Gardens.
5. Skillet-Fried Chicken
This is another wonderful recipe.
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 Cup Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- Vegetable Oil
- 3- 3 1/2 lb Whole Chicken
For more detailed information on this recipe check Betty Crocker.
Our Top Pick Right Now- Lodge L8DD3 Cast Iron Double Dutch Oven
This Dutch Oven has a double cast iron coating. It is about 10-inch in diameter and is a multifunctional cookware. This dishware is sturdy and durable. CHECK PRICE
How to Care for a Dutch Oven
Plain Cast Iron:
- Clean with boiling water and a brush (No need for soap).
- After it has dried, coat it thinly with oil.
- Bake under 350° F for an hour.
- Wipe clean.
With continuous care for your plain cast iron oven, it becomes darker, shiny, smooth and non-stick which will make it last longer.
Enamel Cast Iron:
It’s not advisable to use this type for deep frying as it can’t withstand as much heat as plain cast iron, it is best used for cooking water-based dishes can be cleaned like other dishwares.
- Clean like other dishwares.
- Avoid scrubbing with steel wool.
Now that we’ve discussed basics about a dutch oven, you should consider getting yourself one. It is a very solid piece of kitchen equipment that can help you cook or bake more efficiently.