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A Dutch Oven Is Perfect For More Than Braising

Here are 7 of our favorite ways to use a Dutch oven.

By Izzy Johnson
Sep 19, 2022
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An Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven is many things—a statement piece in the kitchen, a culinary heirloom, and an all purpose pan that can do just about anything. Dutch Ovens can be unfinished cast iron, which requires seasoning before use or, covered with a layer of enamel. Because of its cast iron core, our Dutch Oven has excellent heat retention, while its hand-applied enamel coating enables it to be used straight out of the box, no seasoning required.

Our Dutch Oven also features a unique lid with a Cloud Cover design that traps moisture and distributes it back into the pan. This, coupled with the naturally non stick surface surrounded by high walls mean our Dutch Oven can be used for anything from browning, to simmering, to baking, to frying. Here are seven ways we like to use this versatile pan.

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Baking

One of the hardest parts of making bakery-quality bread at home is ensuring a moist baking environment in which your loaf can fully expand before the constraining crust starts to form. Thanks to our Dutch Oven’s tight fitting lid that locks in moisture, your frustrating days of steaming water in a sheet pan in the oven next to your bread are over. Pair that with our Dutch Oven’s ability to heat up quickly and retain that heat, and you have the right environment for bread to rise. If you’re looking for a challenging but rewarding multi-day baking project, try your hand at making Mel the Bakery’s sourdough.

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Braising

Dutch Ovens are a great choice for braising, as you can start them on the stovetop, then move them into the oven to finish. Start by searing your protein using the naturally non stick enamel surface. When it’s time to add liquid, the high walls keep your braise properly submerged. The winning combination of cast iron’s heat retention and our self-basting Cloud Cover Lid gives your braise a consistently warm and moist cooking environment. Its elegant shape, which comes in three classic colors, means that our Dutch Oven can even be used as a serving vessel as well. Once you’ve mastered the basic steps of braising, try Chef Steve McHugh’s Braised Pork Belly, which can be made into tacos, enjoyed in a sandwich, or over rice.

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Slow Cooking

Long before Crock-Pots and other electronic slow cookers, the Dutch Oven was the original slow cooker. Their ability to consistently retain heat makes them ideal for anything that benefits from being cooked "low and slow" —think chili or oven-baked dips, perfect for game day. If you want to keep your dish warm for even longer, you can even place it in a low oven.

Roasting

Similarly to braising, you can use our Dutch Oven to roast a whole chicken. This delicious one pan meal comes together in the oven using simple ingredients like herbs, aromatics, and vegetables—all of which can be stuffed in the cavity or used as a bed for the bird to roast on. Make sure you use plenty of oil to avoid damaging the enamel surface in the oven. Once again, the Cloud Cover Lid helps lock in the heat, while keeping the chicken from drying out. Check out the full piece below for more detailed instructions.

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Soup and Stew

When it comes to comfort during the colder months, nothing satisfies like a soup or stew. Our Dutch Oven is ideal for building layers of flavor, from sautéeing garlic and onions, to browning chunks of meat. If you’re cooking a seafood stew, like the Provencal favorite Bouillabaisse, the Dutch Oven also doubles as a steamer. Chef Julia Sullivan cooks her clams and mussels in the broth until they open, which also makes for a rustic presentation. If you happen to have any leftover bread, it will be put to good use here as well.

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Deep Frying

If you have a Dutch Oven, then there’s no reason to invest in a deep fryer. The cast iron core helps maintain high temperatures, while the layer of enamel makes cleaning simple. Deep frying at home doesn’t need to be daunting. All you need is a thermometer to measure the oil temperature, some neutral oil for frying, and a Sheet Pan with Rack set up to let the oil drain off of your fried food. If you’re looking for a sweet way to get started, we recommend trying out Chef Audrey Schlieb’s recipe for Apple Cider Donuts with Chai Spiced Glaze.

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Pasta

Crafting a hearty sauce has never been easier than with the size and construction of our Dutch Oven. Because of its enamel coating, the surface is non-reactive, so you don’t have to worry about cooking with acidic ingredients like tomatoes, lemon juice, or wine. Start by browning some meat, then add aromatics, vegetables, and finally liquid. After your sauce has been simmering, you can cook your pasta until just shy of al dente and add it to the Dutch Oven to finish cooking. Chef Tracy Malchek-Ezekiel’s recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese makes use of this technique, and it comes together in under an hour for a hearty weeknight dinner.

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Ready to Cook?

Now, you have even more inspiration for how to use our Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven. It’s a truly versatile piece of cookware that will expand the ways you can cook, while also improving recipes you’ve been making for years. Because of this, it’s important to keep your Dutch Oven in good shape. Watch this video to learn how to clean your pan inside and out with simple household ingredients to keep it performing its best.