10 Creative Things You Can Do with a Dutch Oven Beyond Beef Stew
Great cooks appreciate that a sturdy Dutch oven, whether classic black cast-iron or a colorful enameled finish, is a smart cookware investment that will last for years with proper care. No vessel does a better job when it's time to make hearty stews, but it would be a shame to limit our versatile pot to only a handful of recipes. These pots can go on the stovetop, in the oven, and (in most cases) on outdoor grills and campfires. Here are ten great ways to use your dependable Dutch oven beyond beef stew.
Many home bread bakers use their Dutch ovens to achieve a perfect round loaf with a gorgeous crust and great crumb. Dutch ovens hold steady heat and come with a tight-fitting lid that holds in steam, which means they can act as a mini bread oven inside our ordinary household ovens.
One of the rules for safe and successful deep-frying at home is a large, heavy, deep pot that can contain splatters and hold steady heat –– in other words, a Dutch oven. We can use our Dutch oven for shallow pan-frying too. Look at your pot as an unusually deep cast-iron skillet.
We love that our Dutch ovens are large, but that doesn't mean we must always fill them to the brim. A shallowly filled pot can act as a baking dish for our casseroles and baked goods, such as lasagna, scalloped potatoes, chicken and rice, baked beans, and even brownies and cobblers.
Almost any recipe that works in a heavy saucepan can be made in larger quantities in a big Dutch oven. When it's time to cook for a crowd, a Dutch oven is the way to go. Think of the delicious pots of chili, mac and cheese, dried beans, collard greens, chicken dumplings, and so forth.
A Dutch oven is the largest pot that many of us have in our kitchens, which means that when it's time to bring a huge pot of water to a boil to accommodate a lot of pasta, a Dutch oven can be the perfect solution.
Simmer Stocks and Sauces
Dutch ovens hold heat very well, which means that they're great for the long, slow simmer that's key to great homemade stock. Granted, they don't have the cylindrical shape of a classic stock pot, but that doesn't mean they can't do the job. Dutch ovens are also great for homemade sauces (think marinara or Bolognese) that benefit from a good simmer.
Poaching is easy, even though it sounds complicated. The first step is to select a pot large enough can hold a whole fish or several fillets in a single layer. That sounds like a job for our Dutch oven. We can use it to poach shrimp and chicken, too.
A covered Dutch oven is the original slow cooker, which means they're great for slow-roasting or braising large cuts of meat, such as a beef pot roast or Boston butt for pulled pork, until tender and delectable. Because the pots go easily from stovetop to the oven, we can sear the meat on a hot burner before transferring it to the oven to finish cooking.
A Dutch oven has impressive roasting capabilities on top of being big enough to hold a whole chicken plus enough vegetables to make a complete one-pot dinner. It can accommodate small turkeys and turkey breasts, too.
The same features that make a Dutch oven great at holding heat helps it stay cool as well, making it a handy option for serving large batches of chilled food, such as potato salad or coleslaw. Just fill the pot with ice water and let it sit for 10 minutes, then empty and dry the pot just before adding the food. An ice-filled Dutch oven can also be a smart solution for chilling and serving beverage bottles and cans.