The dutch oven is a pretty simple piece of kitchen equipment. It doesn’t come with dials or fancy features or attachments or floor-standing racks or anything else.
The dutch oven is essentially a stew pot. However, it’s pretty useful in a modern kitchen, for slow cooking and combining various flavorful ingredients in ways that create those magical taste sensations that the best kitchens are known for.
What Is a Cast Iron Dutch Oven?
The dutch oven is a large, heavy pot, usually made of cast iron, and sometimes made with interior and exterior linings. Bright exterior paint makes many of these designs colorful, and the interior lining prevents some kinds of flaking or rust. Enamel-coated dutch ovens are now popular on home cooking shows and other venues for chefs.
As for the name, many attribute the origin of the term “dutch oven” to a man named Abraham Darby who perfected some kinds of early manufacturing of these items, although some other theories have also emerged about the origin of the unusual name for a “stew pot”. (Side note: the French call it a “cocotte pot”).
Using a Dutch Oven
The use of a dutch oven is pretty simple, too. Essentially, you put everything in your dish into the cast iron dutch oven, and put it in a traditional oven. The tight-fitting lid of the dutch oven ensures that the items inside stay moist and retain liquid that might otherwise evaporate, leaving your roast or chicken or other ingredients dry, or brittle.
The handles and features of the dutch oven are typically made to withstand an oven’s heat, for example, with items like silicone.
Some recipes call for extra steps like pre-searing the meat, or blanching vegetables to take out starches, but the key to most dutch oven recipes is to keep temperatures low, and simmer what’s inside until it’s bathed in its own glorious juices.
Caring for a Dutch Oven
Like other cast iron ware, a non-coated dutch oven requires seasoning with particular cooking oils. It’s important to make sure that the dutch oven is dry before storing. Enamel-coated dutch ovens are different – they can be cleaned with the usual soap and water treatment.
Use a dutch oven to create a perfect garlic-studded pot roast, or bathe a chicken leg in tomato sauce.. The options are endless!
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