Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Dutch Oven 101

The Dutch Oven is my Mom and my favorite pot. Made of cast iron and often enamel-coated, it's the perfect partner to the cast iron skillet - our favorite pan. Dutch Ovens have loop handles and flat bottoms, and always come with lids. They are approximately 4" - 5" deep and range in capacity from 2 - 13 quarts. The name "Dutch Oven" is believed to have originated in the eighteenth century, when the cookware was manufactured in England and brought to the US by Dutch traders.

Historically, the pot was used primarily outdoors. During the pioneer days in the western United States, for example, Dutch Oven cooking was the most important cooking method used. Today, a strong following still cooks with Dutch Ovens over a campfire.

A heavy pot, the Dutch Oven slow-cooks tough meats and melds flavors together to produce melt-in-your mouth tender bites. Use medium to low heat to attain the best results. We prefer the Dutch Oven to Crock-Pot cookery because it slow-cooks without accumulating excess moisture. (See my previous blog article, Cast Iron 101, which talks about pans that "sweat.")

So, grab your Dutch Oven and a sense of culinary adventure - let's make some mouths water!

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