What is a Dutch Oven?
08 Oct What is a Dutch Oven?
It may seem like exaggerating, but it’s true – every serious cook should have a Dutch oven in the kitchen cabinet. For some people, it is very amusing to fill up their kitchen cabinets with an abundance of awesome cooking gadgets. But do you know that with a Dutch oven, you will be able to do everything without the help of other kitchen equipment?
Even if you are not a kitchen expert, you may have heard about the popular appliance – the Dutch oven. But you may not know what it is or whether you need one. From baking and roasting to braising and broiling, Dutch oven recipes are a simple solution to busy weeknights, because one extra heavy, multi-cooking pot really can do it all. This is why you should know all about this multi-cooker to make things the easy way! So, let’s begin!
What is a Dutch Oven?
Dutch ovens are also known as French ovens are large cast-iron pots with a lid designed for browning meat and veggies and then simmer on the stovetop or braising liquid in the oven. They are often found with a colored enamel coating which makes them pretty and practical heavy. It is wide; a fairly shallow pot with a tight-fitting lid to trap flavors and a thick wall. These pots can also be found in bear cast-iron or ceramic.
It is durable, has a nonstick surface, and most importantly retains heat. Because they’re cast-iron, they can go directly from the stovetop to the oven without any concern. And once brought to temperature, they can maintain their heat well enough.
Due to their ability to go directly over the fire pit, they are favorites for campsite cooking. Furthermore, it can also be used for soup and more simple tasks like boiling pasta. It’s often used to make bread as well. Brands like Le Creuset and Staub are some of the best ones, while others like Lodge and Cuisinart are standouts as well. Apart from their wide bases and short walls, they have two short handles on either side for balanced and steady transferring in and out of the oven.
Overall, a Dutch oven is a versatile kitchen tool that can fulfill all your requirements either baking bread or roasting chicken. But it comes at a hefty price. So if you’re going to invest in this popular tool, you should know everything related to it.
What types of Dutch Ovens are there?
There are no specific types of Dutch ovens but they differ in terms of their material, size, and enamel coating. For material, they can be of different materials like stainless steel wool, ceramic, or enameled steel. But most commonly, enameled cast-iron Dutch ovens are made. And the good thing is that this material helps in maintaining the temperature well. Through proper heat, the food gets ready in less time.
For size, if you are buying it for the first time, five and a half quarts are the best size for you. It can handle family-sized batches yet aren’t too cumbersome to handle. Smaller sizes are good for two people or less and are great options if you’re in the market for the second Dutch oven. They’re also ideal for camping. Larger sizes are perfect for big batches and entertaining.
For the case of the enamel coating, it allows for easier cleaning and maintenance and delivers all of the browning benefits of cast iron without having to season it. Enameled ovens also have a smooth finish that will quickly release stuck-on food for easy cleanup or deglazing the pan.
Uses of Dutch ovens
Dutch ovens can be used the same way you use stock pots or saucepans. It can be used for various purposes such as baking, braising, soups and stews, poaching, and deep-frying. You can make all types of food in this oven. There are many versatile recipes you can use to make your food in it. Dutch ovens are ideal for cooking things low and slow, which makes them perfect for the meaty soups and stews your lovemaking in the wintertime. Plus, they hold a lot of liquid.
] Moreover, if you want to make brown meat, the heavy material heats up evenly and retains high temperature well, so you’ll be able to braise the meat to tender perfection. Furthermore, you can also make crusty bread in your Dutch oven. The thick walls and heavy lid create a steamy environment that keeps the loaf of bread moist and nice and helps it rise.
Additionally, this oven is highly useful when you go for outdoor cooking. You can’t use just any Old Dutch oven for this purpose, though. Find one that’s specifically for camping purposes. You can choose your favorite color for the cookware as well. Moreover, it is a good conductor of heat but you should master the efficient cooking technique to make the food taste good.
How to use a Dutch oven?
Dutch ovens are very similar to stockpots and therefore they can be used in the same way. In Dutch ovens, a light-colored cooking surface, like those in our picks, makes it easier to monitor the cooking process, such as when you’re caramelizing onions. Before understanding the method to use it, make sure to wear oven mitts to keep your hands safe and burn-free. Checkout our latest post about Famous Dutch foods you should sample at least once!
With the help of oven mitts, we were able to easily lift and transport the pot without straining or fear of dropping it. A slow cooker can take your comfort food to the next level. Through the following Dutch oven cooking tips, you will be able to use this oven properly:
- Heat the pot first, and then add a little bit of oil before adding the meat right away. This will help in preventing the oil from overheating and burning.
- When making soups and other foods, make sure to keep the pot completely covered. Use it with care because the metal lid gets hot.
- Position the lid so it’s slightly ajar when making a sauce to allow for some evaporation during the cooking times.
- The entire Dutch oven in the oven takes long periods to cook. Use the lid to keep in moisture, and remember to always handle with oven mitts or dry dish towels.
- Dutch ovens make excellent serving dishes because they keep the ingredients hot for a long time, but always use a sturdy trivet and warn guests that the pot is hot.
Difference between a Dutch oven and a slow cooker
A Dutch oven is one of the most reliable pieces of cookware and if properly cared for, it should also last a lifetime. Dutch ovens and slow cookers serve similar purposes in the kitchen. But they don’t provide the same results when it comes to quality or versatility. A person named Maurer explained that since slow cookers ‘typically only slow cooking with low temperatures,’ you can’t use them to ‘sear and brown’ meat or fish ‘or cook fast stir-frying or boiling pasta for water.’ Gray added that with a Dutch oven, you can ‘start on the stovetop and then go straight into the oven,’ which you can’t do with a slow cooker.
Where to buy a Dutch oven?
A Dutch oven is a heavy cooking pot with a tightly fitting lid good for all types of recipes. There are many shops where you can find the best models of the Dutch oven. Some of these include Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven, Staub 6-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Round Dutch oven, Lodge 6-Quart Cast Iron Enamel Dutch oven, Great Jones the Dutchess Dutch Oven, and Milo by Kana Classic Dutch Oven. While buying, you can take guidance from anyone who already owns a piece of cast-iron cookware.
Dutch ovens are available in a range of sizes from a larger size to small. Make sure to eat the food hot for a short period because it will taste better. And follow all the care instructions properly and keep a check on consistent heat. Among the multi-cookers, when you choose the cast-iron model, make sure to check the generous lifetime warranty. This helps in returning and repairing the oven in case of any error. Since it comes at a hefty price, use it with proper care.