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The Best Dutch Oven Recipes: Stews, Braises, & Bread

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Photo courtesy of Angela Hardison

HERO TOOLS

Our time in the kitchen is so much better when we have the right gear. So here’s to tools—the luxe, the lo-fi, and the utilitarian—and all the wonderful things they’ll help you do.

The Dutch oven is one of those pieces of cookware that lives up to the hype. These pots are known for their heavy, thick cast-iron enamel walls and tight-fitting lids—making them useful for a number of different cooking methods and techniques. They’re also incredibly durable. If you care for it correctly, you’ll have a family heirloom on your hands.

Our pick has always been Staub. We love the New French Oven (3.75 quarts) and Round Cocotte (7 quarts). The names are different, but they’re both versions of a Dutch oven. The New French Oven has a more rounded base designed for soups and sauces. The Round Cocotte has a flat base with a larger surface area ideal for browning and sautéing. You can use them interchangeably with success, though.


  1. Staub x goop 7QT Round Cocotte

    Staub x goop

     


  2. Staub x goop

    Staub x goop
    7QT Round Cocotte

     

Staub has always offered beautiful colors and timeless designs, but there are two unique design features of these pots. First, Staub developed a signature matte enamel finish for the interior of its pans in lieu of glossy enamel. This matte finish allows for excellent browning, as you’d get from a traditional cast-iron pan, but without the high-maintenance care and seasoning. And it will age beautifully. (Glossy enamel coating tends to show every stain and scratch.) The other innovative piece is in the lid. Both the New French Oven and Round Cocotte have a textured pattern on the interior lid that collects moisture, allowing it to slowly drip back into the pot—so your food will essentially self-baste as it cooks.

A good Dutch oven is an investment, but if you consider its many uses and long life span, it’s definitely a good one. It’s reliable and sturdy—the type of piece you’ll reach for again and again for everyday cooking. It’s expertly designed for specific cooking techniques, which will help you experiment with and master new recipes. And with that elegant and timeless look, you’ll be so pleased to have it on your table for holidays and special occasions for years to come.

WHAT TO COOK IN YOUR DUTCH OVEN

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SOUPS AND STEWS

The heavy cast-iron base makes a Dutch oven great for even heat distribution and retention, so anything that needs to cook for a long time, like soups and stews. You can also bring the pot right to the table—it’s beautiful to serve from and will stay nice and hot.

BRAISES AND ROASTS

A Dutch oven is also a dream when it comes to recipes that start on the stove and finish in the oven. Braised meats and roasts both cook beautifully in this pot, and again, will look stunning served tableside.

BREAD

The thick walls and tight-fitting lid make the Dutch oven a favorite for home bread baking. It gives the effect of baking your bread in a small oven within your oven. If you preheat your Dutch oven before adding your dough, you’ll be able to develop and retain some steam, which helps create those glossy little blistered bubbles and that shatteringly crispy crust.

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