Dutch Oven Cooking

Dutch oven cooking does not mean buying some special oven made by some European country. It simply is a large, cast iron or enamel pot and lid that can be used on the stovetop or in the oven. Dutch ovens come in all sizes, shapes, and colors.

Five Top Dutch Ovens

When it comes to Dutch oven cooking there are many to choose from. Sometimes it can be hard to decide which one to buy, so here are five great ovens.

  • Le Creuset 3.5-Quart Wide Oval French Oven: here’s a medium sized oven with an extra wide base that’s perfect for browning meat right in the pot. Just add broth and vegetables right on top. Le Creuset retails for $130.
  • Lodge 6-Quart Color Enamel Dutch Oven: The 6 quart size is perfect for soups and stews, comes in a variety of colors and retails at Amazon for only $50.
  • Paula Deen Signature 5-Quart Covered Oval Casserole: This one retails for $50 at Target by Paula Deen herself. Here’s a Dutch oven that looks nice enough to put on the table after you take it out of the oven. Most ovens look the same, but this one really stands out.
  • Calphalon Enamel Cast Iron 8-Quart: Here’s a large Dutch oven on Amazon for $139. If you are looking for a really big oven this is a great choice from Calphalon. Calphalon makes a great line of Dutch ovens and they have great service as well.
  • Staub 4 ¼ Quart Dutch Oven: Here’s a smaller oven from Cutlery and More priced at $160. The oval shape of this oven cradles roast chicken perfectly. While it’s a little pricey it’s worth it. It’s an elegant piece of cookware that cleans up easily and nicely.

Advantages of Cooking with a Dutch Oven

When it comes to Dutch oven cooking there are some advantages they have over other methods of cooking the same dishes. 

  • Dutch ovens come in various sizes so you can easily cook for several people or just yourself.
  • They’re great for camping or doing cooking off the grid. 
  • In a survival situation, you can toss your Dutch oven on your wood stove, directly on wood in an outdoor fireplace, or even directly on charcoal briquettes. 
  • Dutch oven lids make a tight seal that keeps heat from escaping. 
  • Their construction, usually iron ensures that your oven is going to be around longer than you will; or your children. 
  • Because Dutch ovens are cured before initial use, it makes them much easier to clean than traditional cookware.

A Matter of Taste

We all know that herbs and spices are not the only variables that affect the flavor of what you cook. Salmon smoked with hickory will taste different than salmon smoked using other types of wood. A hotdog tastes different when cooked over your camp fire than it does boiled in a pot of water on the stove. A cast iron Dutch oven will give your meats a delicious flavor that is unique to Dutch oven cooking.

Cast Iron or Aluminum

Dutch oven cooking with both aluminum and cast iron pots work well and both have their advantages. Cast iron gives you slow even heat and takes longer to cook. Aluminum cooks faster but the heat spreads unevenly. Cast iron must be kept seasoned to prevent rust. 

Aluminum pots could melt in your fire but cast iron won’t melt in your little woodland fire. Make sure you clean your cast iron pot with water only. Soap will cause it to rust and ruin the taste of any food you put in after the rust. Washing your aluminum Dutch oven won’t cause any problems.

So as you can see as with anything there are pros and cons, but if you embrace cooking with a Dutch oven, it can pay dividends over time.

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