This Dutch Oven Is Lighter Than Others I’ve Used — I Use It at Least Twice a Week
My grandma was a braiser, my mom is a notorious braiser, and so it only seems fitting that I too have inherited the same enthusiasm and confess to being an unapologetic braiser. I’m Chinese and grew up eating lots of braised dishes — soy-braised chicken and mushrooms, beef shins and tripe, and, my mom’s absolute favorite, soy-braised pork belly with whole-boiled eggs. My mom’s weekly cooking repertoire consisted mainly of braises; it was her go-to technique in the kitchen.
Personally, I think braising is one of the most underrated techniques in the kitchen — you can use any ingredients you have in your fridge and not just braise tougher cuts of meats, which is what the technique is known for. My family braised anything we had from chicken wings to vegetables and even tofu (which, when done correctly, produces the easiest dinner without having to bat an eyelid and something I turn to at least twice a week).
Although you can braise in any pot, the most commonly used one is a heavy-duty pot like a Dutch oven. I’ve tried two popular Dutch oven brands before, but neither really worked for me because they were just so darn heavy. I still have nightmares about bending down to my oven, lifting the 10-pound beast out, and dropping all my hard work on the oven glass door.
But what if I told you there is a better Dutch oven out there? For me, it’s the Emile Henry Delight Round Dutch Oven.
What’s So Great About the Emile Henry Delight Round Dutch Oven
My family didn’t have a Dutch oven because, as mentioned, we braise regularly and traditional Dutch ovens are heavy. Our pot for braising was a simple and humble earthenware or stoneware version, which you can easily pick up at a Chinese grocery store for a few bucks. However, being a serial braiser, I have to admit that the cheap and cheerful grocery-store find was just not good enough for me — so that’s why I initially turned to the Emile Henry Delight Round Dutch Oven, and I’ve never turned back.
Although Emile Henry has a dedicated braiser, I prefer its Delight Dutch Oven because it has all the same features for braising and can also be used on an induction stove. The basic hallmarks of a good braising pot is that the pot should be able to conduct and transfer heat evenly — and Emile Henry’s Dutch oven does just that.
The Dutch oven was based on the brand’s original fondue pot. If you’re a fondue-lover like me, you know that preparing an excellent Swiss-approved fondue relies on evenly melting the cheese so that you don’t burn it and end up with a gooey mess. The even heat distribution translates very well to executing a great French-inspired braised beef bourguignon, where no matter how much caramelization you get on the beef shins, you can easily wash it off the pot. The Emile Henry Dutch oven is very easy to clean, as the ceramic material is scratch-resistant and any crusty bits can be easily washed off with an sponge or, more conveniently, popped into a dishwasher.
The pot is also incredibly light for a Dutch oven, which makes cooking and cleaning so much easier. We’re talking dramatically lighter when compared to other competitive Dutch ovens, which can weigh closer to 10 pounds (whereas the same 4.2-quart Emile Henry version comes in at just under 6 pounds).
The final feature that I think goes unnoticed is the lid itself — it has a large, flat knob on top, which makes it easy to grab without slipping (especially out of the oven) and also offers a nifty little place to put your wooden spoon, which comes in handy because a good braise needs a decent jiggle and stir once in a while. Ingenious.
Happy braising, from one dedicated braiser to another!
Buy: Emile Henry Delight Round Dutch Oven, $290