Dutch Ovens and Dutch Oven Cooking

Lodge ceramic lined Dutch Oven.
A friend recently asked me about a Dutch Oven.  She had just acquired one and had never used one.  Her interest was, "what to do with it now that she had one?"  She suggested I address this here for her as well as others.

To my knowledge there are basically two vessels commonly called "Dutch Ovens."  The first one is quite historic and was first used in this country by setting hot coals atop the lid as well as positioning it's base over coals either hanging above or sitting atop.  Thus forming an "oven " within it's chamber.

The lid of this type Dutch Oven has a rim or lip around the perimeter of the outside top edge. This helps keep the hot coals were they need to be for baking at a campfire or in an open fireplace.  Sometimes the lower pan is footed with about an inch or maybe a little longer nail like foot usually 4 evenly placed around the outside curve.

Le Creusent Dutch Oven,  or maybe it is a French Oven?
The second type is what my family has always used and is a large deep usually cast iron vessel with an equally heavy tight fitting lid.  It may have a handle on one or both sides and/or across the top.

Country Store Dutch Oven.
The major issue to remember with them if they are cast iron is that it must be seasoned to cook properly.  When it is new wash and wipe dry and rub well with oil and wipe again is a general direction.  If there are manufacturers directions I would recommend you follow them over mine.  Never put a cast iron vessel of any kind in the dish washer unless it is coated with enamel or ceramic and has the approval and recommendation of the manufacturer.  Sometimes it is necessary to season a pan again and you just repeat these easy steps.

Small Lodge Dutch Oven.
My friend asked me what I cook in mine and so I started rattling off all of the things I use them for and she looked at me with amazement.  You see there is nothing magical about them.  They just are wonderful conductors of heat and cook evenly.  Here are my uses.....

I bake at least 2 types of yeast bread in a Dutch Oven.
I always make Swiss Steak in a Dutch Oven.
I use it for Pot Roast and Pork Roast and Roast Chicken.
I make soups and Chili in a dutch oven.
I make big pots of green beans and soup beans in them.
I roast potatoes in a covered Dutch Oven.
I fry chicken in a dutch oven.
I bake meat loaf in a Dutch Oven.
I have baked crisps and cobblers in Dutch Ovens.

The list goes on. 

So the moral of this story is it is good for lots of uses.  The only draw back I can think of is it is heavy and the weight can become an issue.  I really like my brand new ceramic coated Lodge Dutch Oven as it is so very easy to clean and the ceramic coating makes it nonreactive.  I have several though and love and use  them all!

1 comment:

Unknown said...


Indeed a good post, And I believe having a dutch oven in our all important kitchen is crucial it helps us cook the best food for our family,, so that's why we need the best dutch oven, and recently I have purchased one of the best dutch ovens available, because i want to make best food with the best dutch oven.
By the way, Keep up the good work.