Most people have heard of Dutch ovens, but few know exactly what they are, or how they can be used in the kitchen.Some people think that this kind of pot is too old-fashioned for modern use, but many cooks still use them today. This guide will tell you things you need to know about these useful and durable ovens.
What is a Dutch Oven?
A Dutch Oven is a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. It is usually made of cast iron, either plain or enameled, though some modern ones are made of aluminum, ceramic, or steel.
They first gained popularity as a campfire oven, because they could be used for so many different types of cooking, including boiling, steaming, baking, and roasting. when you were out camping. The Dutch oven could replace several different types of pots and pans, which was important when all of your worldly belongings had to be stowed atop a pack horse.
The heavy metal construction also meant that they were difficult to damage, even when crossing heavy terrain, and these useful cooking tools were often were passed down through generations.
Alternate Names for Dutch Ovens
These ovens are also referred to as French ovens, cocottes, camp ovens, and casserole dishes. Names often vary depending on the country where they are used.
Two Types of Dutch Oven
Dutch ovens are still popular today. They can be divided into two separate types of oven, depending on how they are used:
Dutch Ovens for Camping
The same qualities that made Dutch ovens a favorite of settlers moving into the Wild West continue to make them popular among campers today. While most chuckwagon Dutch ovens are made of bare steel, aluminum ovens are not as durable, but are much easier to carry with you on the trail.
Modern-day Dutch camping ovens usually have three legs to hold the pan above the coals and rim along the top that allows coals to be placed on the lid for even cooking from each side. A handle stretches from one side of the pot to the other, allowing it to be hung over the fire if need be.
Dutch Ovens for the Kitchen
Dutch ovens used in modern kitchens have a flat base to make them rest more easily on the stovetop, and small handles on each side of the pot, plus they are generally enameled, which makes them more colorful and eliminates the need for seasoning.
When to Use Dutch Ovens
Dutch ovens are excellent for long, slow cooking. They are often used for chili, stews, and beans. In the kitchen, these versatile pots can be used in the oven or on the stove. Some other uses for Dutch ovens include:
- Roasting – set in the oven for fantastic roast beef, pork, or chicken.
- Baking – create breads, biscuits, and cakes in your Dutch oven.
- Steaming – cook fresh, fantastic, healthy vegetables, fish, and seafood.
- Boiling – use for rice, potatoes, and other side dishes as well as for coffee or hot chocolate.
- Pan Frying – the lid of a Dutch oven can be used as a griddle. Make pancakes, fried eggs, or grilled cheese sandwiches.
Care of Dutch Ovens
If your Dutch oven is made of bare cast iron, it must be seasoned before use like any other cast iron pot or pan. When cleaning cast iron cookware, don’t use soap – it will destroy the seasoning. Simply scrub with plain water and then heat the pan until all of the remaining residue burns off.
A Dutch oven is a fun and versatile tool to have on hand, whether you intend to cook at home or on the trail. If you don’t already own one, you should consider adding it to your kitchen; it could become one of your favorite pieces of cookware.
More Information about Dutch Ovens
The Versatile All Clad Dutch Oven
A Quick Guide to Dutch Ovens – How to Season your Dutch Oven
The All Purpose Dutch Oven
Tips for Using Your Dutch Oven
How to Store Your Dutch Oven
Why are Dutch Ovens Called Dutch
Dutch Ovens- Quick Facts
What to Look for When buying a Dutch Oven