When it comes to cookware, a Dutch oven is an investment that is totally worth its cost. I'm convinced there is nothing this hefty pot can't do, and I use it more than any other in my collection. Like most pots it's a whiz on the stovetop, but its cast iron core means it can (and should!) also be used in the oven.
1. Braised meat and vegetables
Any time I embark on the lengthy process of braising meat or vegetables, a Dutch oven is the first thing I always reach for since it can move seamlessly between the oven and stove. Braising is a low, slow cooking method that starts on the stovetop — typically with searing — then moves to the oven where the recipe finishes over a low temperature.
Get a recipe: Chicken in Coconut Milk with Lemongrass
Dutch ovens are ideal for making all types of stews. A couple years ago I made a stew recipe that called for the bulk of the cooking to happen in the oven. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense; it really isn't all that different than braising. Now I cook amost all stews in a covered Dutch oven in the oven at no higher than 300°F or whatever cook time a recipe indicates.
3. Roast chicken
There are a lot of ways you can roast a chicken, and Dutch ovens are a near-perfect vessel for cooking up a juicy, crispy-skinned bird. Cook it solo or fill the bottom of the pot with a bed of thick-cut root vegetables.
Make it: How To Roast a Chicken
There are several ways to cook dried beans, each with their own merits, one of which is using a Dutch oven to cook them in the oven. It's a hands-off process that produces evenly cooked beans that are unlikely to crack, and ready in about two hours.
Try it: How To Cook Beans in the Oven
Your Dutch oven can even be used for baking loaves of yeasted bread that finish with a crisp, crackly crust and a pillowy soft insides.
Make it: Whole Wheat No-Knead Bread
5 Great Dutch Ovens
- Le Creuset 3.5-Quart Wide Oval French Oven, $180 at Crate & Barrel
- Lodge 6-Quart Lodge Color Enamel Dutch Oven, $50
- Staub 4 1/4-quart Oval Dutch Ovens, $280
- Food Network 5.5-qt. Enameled Cast-Iron Dutch Oven, $100 at Kohl's
- Emile Henry Round 7-Quart Dutch Oven, $186