Call it a Dutch oven, a cocotte, a casserole dish, or a cast iron pan -- just don't underestimate it. Once you have one in your kitchen you'll wonder how you've ever cooked without it! Since the entire team at Cooking With Spirits likes to be creative we thought we'd share 5 Reasons You Need A Dutch Oven in your Kitchen.
If you think a dutch oven is just to cook soup, you're not using it to its full potential.
1. Bake Bread
Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread recipe has amassed a serious following. You just stir and then bake -- no kneading, no shaping, and very little room for error. The steam from the Dutch oven creates a crackly, golden crust -- the kind home bakers lust after -- and a perfectly round shape.
2. Braise Meat
Low and slow: That’s the key to braising. Cast iron keeps heat consistent during cooking, so you can leave the pot alone for hours without fussing with the stove. As an added bonus, it retains heat long after you take your braise from the stove -- take it directly to the table and it’ll stay warm for dinner.
3. Your Dutch Oven Can Act as a DIY Cooler
Fresh, crisp salads should remain that way, and your Dutch oven can help. Fill an enameled Dutch oven with ice water and let it stand until the pot is thoroughly chilled (about 5 minutes). Dump the water out, dry the pot, and transfer the chilled food into the pot for serving. Because of cast iron’s ability to retain heat (or lack thereof) and keep a stable temperature, your Dutch oven will remain cold for much longer than would a glass or plastic serving bowl.
4. Fry Something
Frying can be a daunting task -- and a messy one. The tall sides of a Dutch oven help to cut down on oil splatter, and the cast iron handles very high heat without burning.
5. Your Dutch Oven Can Double as a Smoker
Just because the weather isn’t cooperating doesn’t mean that you can’t smoke food. Indoor smoking delivers some of the same complexity and aromas that you’d produce on a grill.
If you're interested in our other favorite kitchen tools check out our Kitchen Tools and Supplies Page.