In the Kitchen...Dutch Ovens

Top row: Sue's Dutch ovens, Bottom row: Myrna's Dutch ovens
Can any kitchen get along without a Dutch oven?  I think our mom did although she had a nice Dutch oven size round roaster that probably served much the same purpose, but we sure wouldn’t want to, even when we’re now only regularly cooking for two or three.
I have two Dutch ovens, a relatively inexpensive enameled cast iron 5 ½ quart one from Tramontina that cooks evenly and is a nice size.  The enameled coating has held up well and it’s fairly easy to clean, but can’t go in the dishwasher.  The downside…the top rim of the pot is not enameled, and started rusting a little - it needs to be completely dried, and it’s very heavy when filled.  It is oven-safe up to 400°.  I haven’t regretted not buying one of the very expensive brands as this one works fine for me.
The other is my favorite, now my go-to pan, even though it’s a lot more expensive…a Calphalon Unison 5 quart nonstick Dutch oven with a glass cover.  Its comparatively light weight, even the outside will stand up to the dishwasher, the glass lid lets you see what’s cooking, and best of all, it cooks very evenly and browns meat perfectly, much better than most nonstick pans…just as good as the cast iron one.  The handles stay cool on the cooktop, and the whole thing is oven-proof.
Myrna had an old Magnalite cast aluminum Dutch oven that she bought inexpensively at an estate auction, that she used for years.  It had a ribbed bottom so she couldn’t use it on her glass stove top, but she can use it in the oven.  The newer Magnalite models are round, with flat bottoms and a removable trivet to keep meat out of the juices instead of the older ribbed bottom.  Myrna's has been passed on to the younger generation.
She now uses a Calphalon tri-ply stainless steel 5 quart model.  She likes it but says it’s pretty heavy to use, and she’d like a smaller model.  The tri-ply stainless models cook pretty evenly on the stovetop and can go in the dishwasher too.
Last Christmas Myrna purchased two enameled cast iron models from Aldi’s at a good price and gave them to her daughter and granddaughter.  They both are very satisfied, and say their pans cook evenly and serve the purpose.
None of these Dutch ovens are cheap, but they have earned a place in our small kitchens for cooking roasts, stews and soups, as well as an extra good sized pot to help on canning day.


Cooking in your Dutch Oven:

Chicken or Turkey Stew with Dumplings
Southwest Cheese Soup
Spareribs and Sauerkraut
Individual Pot Roasts with Herbs and Carrots
Braised Pork and Cabbage
Freezer Herbed Tomato Soup
Beef Bourguignonne

4 comments:

  1. I never had used a Dutch oven before in my life (an enamelware roaster does not count!) until I bought a 5.5 qt Le Creuset 4 years ago. I ADORE cooking in that pot and can't believe how wonderfully well it sears meats (I have found coconut oil to be the best fat for searing) before slow-cooking in the oven. And it cleans up so beautifully--just a little baking soda and a no-scratch sponge take care of everything. I would never, ever put it in the dishwasher. After drying, I rub the interior with just a smidge of coconut oil to maintain the slight sheen.

    I am currently hunting for a 3.5 qt Le Creuset for smaller dinners, now that my kids are in college. Since I refuse to pay retail, that means Ebay. But I'm in no hurry....

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  2. They occasionally have them at T.J. Maxx or Home Goods at a reduced price...not as much selection.

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  3. I bought an off brand enameled pot at Shopko a few years back for $30 and I love it. It was drastically reduced, but I remember thinking it was a lot of money for a pot, even on sale and even though I knew how expensive the top brands are. I'm glad I bought it and I don't know how I lived so long without one.

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    1. That is about what I paid for the off brand from Aldi's. So far, my daughter says it is working very well and she gets a lot of use from it. Glad you are using yours a lot also. They are one of the most used items in my kitchen.

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