How To Use A Dutch oven? Best Tips for You

Although the cast iron pan is heavy, it has high durability, great heat, and retains heat very well, so it cooks very delicious food. However, not everyone knows how to use cast iron pans in cooking.

Did you know how to use a Dutch oven in the right way?

Even if you are not good at cooking and you are always a disaster in the kitchen, if you know how to use a Dutch oven, it can help you out of that situation. Because of its convenience, it is one of the most popular appliances in the kitchen now. Baking, roasting, broiling, braising, this pot really can do it all for you. Now we will tell you the reason why a Dutch oven should be on every cook’s wishlist.

Dutch ovens are a simple solution for you with multiples ways of cooking

4 Ways Use A Dutch oven

Stovetop and Oven Cooking

using a dutch oven for stove and oven cooking

With cast iron material that absorbs heat well, this pot can be used to combine cooking both on the stove and in the oven. After cooking meat on a gas stove, people will often cover the pot to cook more thoroughly. However, instead of closing the lid with a Dutch oven, you can directly put the pot in the oven to evenly heat around the pot. This tip is especially suitable for stews that require a long cooking time, preventing the food from burning and sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Braising meat

using a dutch oven for braised meat

One of the great features of Dutch ovens is their ability to brown and smoke meat directly on the stovetop, instead of conventional methods that require you to pan-fry the meat before putting it in the pot (like when using a pressure cooker, for example).

After the meat has been sear, you can prepare the broth and sauce as you like, add to the dish, cover the pot, lower the heat, and braise at low temperatures. You can add vegetables to add more flavor to the dish.

Soups and stews

using a dutch oven for soup and stews

With dishes that require long cooking times and low temperatures like soups, stews, and braises, Dutch ovens are a perfect choice for you. It can allow the flavors of the various ingredients to meld and mix well together.

The best meats for your braises are beef chuck, pork shoulder, and anything with a lot of cartilage and fat, such as short ribs, spare ribs, oxtails, and lamb shanks.

You can also soften root vegetables like parsnips, turnips, carrots, or hardy greens like kale and collards.

The cast-iron pot retains heat for a long time. The sealed pot helps to preserve the steam and temperature and the nutrition inside the pot. The stewing efficiency of a cast iron pot is no less than that of a pressure cooker. The cooking time of the cast iron pot is shortened by 50% compared to the normal pot.

Bread-making

using a dutch oven to make bread

How to bake a cake with a Dutch oven

  1. Prepare yeast. Mix the flour and the necessary ingredients, make a hole in the middle and pour in the water – yeast mixture.
  2. Knead the dough by hand until the dough is soft. Add more flour or water if the dough is too wet or too dry.
  3. Let the dough rest and wait for it to rise. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to a day depending on the type of bread you have.
  4. When the dough is large enough, place it on a flat surface that has already been sprinkled with a layer of flour. Shape it into a loaf shape.
  5. Coat a bowl with olive oil, cover with a layer of flour.
  6. Put the Dutch oven into the oven, preheat the pot (temperature 230 degrees Celsius, for 45 minutes – 1 hour). Then put the dough into the Dutch ovens and put it in the oven (remember to cover the pot).
  7. After baking for 45 minutes, open the lid and bake the cake for another 15 minutes. Opening the lid will help the cake to have a beautiful golden color.
  8. Remove the Dutch oven from the oven, cover, and let cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

With this method, you don’t have to knead the dough too much or keep an eye on the fire.

Camping

how to use a dutch oven for camping
How to use a dutch oven for camping

If you are camping on a tour and the camping site already has a kitchen area, you can use the Dutch oven on the campfire or on the camp stove. If you are only going on a trip, the Dutch ovens are not very suitable, but for group camping trips, traveling by car or boat, you should have a Dutch oven in your luggage. Some dishes suitable for camping are casseroles, whole roasted poultry, French toast,… .

2 popular ways to use Dutch oven when camping:

Method 1: Place Dutch oven on hot coals

In this way, you should choose a basic oven with a flat bottom, possibly with legs to keep the oven stable, and a firm handle.

You need to make sure to burn coal in a dry, light windy area. If the soil is moist, there should be a metal pad under the coals. One trick to keep the temperature even when cooking with coal is to choose industrial coals of equal size. When placing the pot, you put some hot coals on the lid to keep the heat evenly distributed.

Method 2: Use camp stove to cook with Dutch ovens

Most camp stoves have a built-in rack to support cooking with a Dutch oven. Cooking this way is much easier than cooking with charcoal. You just need to hang up the pot, add cooking oil (if needed) with the food to be processed, cover to keep the heat, and wait for the food to cook.

Braised, roasted, grilled, stewed, steamed dishes are all very easy to do, but baking bread is more difficult. You should prepare bread at home in advance.

Cooking with a camp stove is quite clean and is also quick to prepare. After cooking, you don’t need to clean up the coal crumbs, scattered wood chips, and you don’t need to worry about unstable weather.

Three essential rules when using Dutch ovens

rules when using a Dutch oven

1. Keep the Ingredient List Simple but Flavorful

Your recipes will become much more delicious with umami elevators like tomato paste, minced anchovies, and soy sauce. Chicken broth is the perfect cooking liquid for dishes like cooking liquid for full-flavored rice, grains, and pasta; instead of using water.

Every single ingredient can be used in multiple ways. The Dutch ovens can help retain water in food, preserve nutrients and retain heat well so that you can create your own recipes.

2. Cook in Stages

Each component requires a different technique and seasoning before becoming a perfectly cooked protein plus sides. Staggering the cooking times is essential when we want to pair a tender fish fillet with crisp potatoes or hearty root vegetables with delicate greens. The more complex the dishes, the more you need to pay attention to the characteristics of the ingredients to be able to cook them perfectly.

Staggering the cooking times is essential 

3. Team Up with Your Microwave

From blooming aromatics to par cooking potatoes to cooking up a simple sauce, your microwave is pivotal in enabling you to avoid having to reach for (and later wash) a second pan.

The heat in the microwave can help the food to cook evenly. The marinated flavor penetrates deep inside, making the food softer and more delicious. Using your microwave in conjunction with your Dutch oven is also a big time-saver and will help you keep your recipe prep as efficient as possible.

Some Dutch oven cooking tips for you

The tight-fitting lid, iron material, and the two handles of the Dutch ovens can help you greatly in cooking every day. There are some tips for you to cook with a Dutch oven:

– What you need to keep in mind before preparing the dish is to heat the pan. If you put the ingredients directly into the cold pan, your food will stick to the pan immediately.

To make onions and other veggies sweet, let’s add the oil gently while heating over medium or medium-low heat.

– To make a beef or veal stew more delicious, simmer a strip of orange peel along with the meat.

You should not move the meat in the pan too much. After placing the meat in the pan, observe the edge of the meat in contact with the pan.

When the rim turns caramel brown, it’s time to flip the meat. Depending on your preference for rare or cooked, you can choose the level of doneness for the steak.

– Add the oil and garlic or other aromatics to the pot to infuse oil (over medium or medium-low heat). Keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.

– If you want to brown large amounts of meat, let’s brown in batches to avoid crowding the pot and steam buildup, which makes meat tough.

– When meat and veggies go browning, use kosher salt to salt them lightly. It helps release moisture, make the color looks better, and the final product more flavorful.

– When searing meat and veggies, you must sear the meat first. Put it on a plate, then turn down the heat and add the veggies. The flavor of the meat will be retained on the veggies.

– Cut veggies and meats into evenly-sized pieces so they can be evenly ripe.

– To avoid the simmer or braises’ taste becoming oversalted, season the entire pot only after it has finished cooking and you have tasted it.

– Add the tomato paste to the pot before adding it to liquid. Allow cooking for 2-3 minutes. Your final dish will have a sweeter flavor.

– Chopped fresh herbs should be added to your stew. But don’t cook for a long time. It may kill their taste. Add them right before serving. Unexpected accents can come from basil, parsley, tarragon, or even cilantro.

– With cast iron pots, you should not process acidic foods such as ketchup, lemon, wine, etc., because this can cause the oxidation process to take place faster and the pan is prone to rust. You should cover the entire bottom of the pot before heating with oil or butter before cooking.

Some unique recipes with Dutch oven:

Conclusion

To use your Dutch oven well on a stovetop, you need to consider which materials it is composed of and how to use them on specific surfaces to protect your food, stovetop, and pot. It can be used in various ways, even on an open fire or an induction stove. I hope that through this post, you have already learned how to use a Dutch oven and been able to cook sumptuous dishes for your family.

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