This Staub Dutch Oven Is Still My Favorite Pot of All Time After 14+ Years
Many years ago, on my first married Christmas, I opened what is still perhaps the most romantic gift my husband has ever given me: An oval Dutch oven from Staub. It was handsome and matte black with a blue bottom and a rough-coated interior. I instantly fell in love with this pot, so solid and permanent. Like our relationship, this was built to last.
But the Dutch oven (also called a cocotte) wasn’t just for show; it turned out to be one of the hardest-working pieces of cookware in my kitchen and I’ve been using it for more than 14 years.
Why I Love the Staub Oval Dutch Oven
The size: I’m on the record for preferring modestly sized Dutch ovens over the huge pieces, and this one hits the sweet spot of capacity and practicality. At four-and-half quarts, it’s big enough for a roast chicken (like Jamie Oliver’s famous chicken in milk), a good batch of stew (like my favorite white bean and bacon situation), or a hefty vegetable side dish (may I suggest Greek-style braised green beans?). It’s not so big that you dread dragging it out of the cupboard for a bicep workout, but it’s still big enough to feel generous and handsome on the table.
The shape: Speaking of handsome, I really love the oval shape of this Dutch oven. For this size and proportion, an oval shape has a certain drama and shows the food off well. The oven-safe cookware can go from the oven straight to the table beautifully. I love using it for dramatically layered dishes like chicken and beans with a bright green streak of mint pesto on top.
The black matte interior and exterior: I know many cooks who prefer a brightly colored Dutch oven. But personally, I adore the minimalist black matte exterior and the way that Staub’s signature rough black interior helps brown and sear food better than the smooth white enamel of other Dutch ovens. It’s also easier to keep clean, but if you do get stains on yours, here’s the best way to get rid of stains on enamel.
A 10-Year (and Beyond) Review of the Staub Oval Dutch Oven
So, after 10 years, how has this pot held up? Brilliantly. I really can’t see much sign of its age, in fact.
The finish on the interior and exterior has weathered to a beautifully dark and burnished black color. The duck egg blue bottom has darkened over time and developed some scratches and burns, but that’s a rarely seen element of the pot and doesn’t affect the taste of my dishes.
My Staub is just as handsome as the day I opened it, and if I were buying my first Dutch oven tomorrow, this is still the one I’d pick. Well, if I could find it anyway. My exact size and color combo doesn’t seem to be available anymore, which is to be expected from something I’ve been using for 14 years. But there are plenty of similar versions. The closest would be the 4.5-quart oval cocotte in Cherry (which also happens to be on major sale!). There are tons of colors for the 4-quart round Dutch ovens if you’re looking for something even more compact, as well as the slightly larger 5.75-quart oval, including my beloved matte black.
While the aesthetics are a personal preference and choosing a favorite color is half the fun, there’s no denying that Staub’s oval Dutch oven will be endlessly versatile for years — and in my case, decades.
Buy: Staub 5.75-Quart Enameled Cast Iron Oval Dutch Oven, $279.95 (originally $380)