A Dutch oven is something you’re going to want to have in your kitchen arsenal, as this is the perfect cooking instrument for recipes like homemade bread, soups & stews, pasta dishes plus you can use this kitchen utensil to poach chicken, fry foods and braise meat, it is that versatile.
Dutch ovens are also known as casserole dishes or cast iron pans and they are a sturdy cooking vessel that is able to conduct and retain heat for cooking low and slow when recipes require.
The main features of Dutch ovens
Dutch ovens are usually heavy, thick, and deep enough that you can cook larger meats and larger quantities of liquid, making them ideal for cooking stews, but you can use them to cook pastas directly in the sauce, steam veggies and also make soups.
A Dutch oven allows vegetables to steam under tight seal so that they don’t turn soggy, and when cooking stews, the pot allows for the starch in the ingredients to break down slowly and act as thickening agents thus removing the need to add actual thickeners to a recipe.
So Dutch ovens have tight-fitting lids that you can use to your advantage when for example you need to cook two dishes in the oven and don’t have enough space giving the size of the utensil. You can turn the lid upside down, cover it up in tin foil and place potatoes to roast while you cook the dish inside the pot.
Because they can withstand various temperatures and cooking methods, Dutch ovens can be used for almost any cooking task.
Two types of Dutch ovens
Widely used in kitchens around the world are cast iron Dutch ovens, although a second category – the enameled Dutch oven is also used by many chefs.
Enameled Dutch ovens can be made with either a ceramic core or a metal core and usually don’t require any special care like the cast iron cookware, which does require special cleaning to preserve their integrity and last as long as possible.
Where to find Dutch ovens
It’s important when looking to purchase a Dutch oven to check that it is able to withstand as many cooking methods as usually ascribed to this particular cookware, just so you can get the most out of it.
Especially with enameled Dutch ovens, you may want to check with the manufacturer that it can be used for cooking at higher temperatures, as some utensils are made with materials that do not have this quality.
Some of the stores that carry Dutch ovens from various manufacturers include Bed Bath & Beyond, Macy’s, Walmart, Target, Kohl’s and Sears.
Costco also sells Dutch ovens at great everyday prices and they have them on sale in their monthly coupon books from time to time, so be sure to check that out when it becomes available.
Costco offers Kirkland signature Dutch ovens known for being durable and able to cook at high temperatures. They can withstand up to 500 degrees in the oven and can be used on electric stove, gas stove as well as other types of stoves. Overall a great choice at competitive prices if this is your first Dutch oven and you do not want to spend a whole lot of money.