Toolbox Wednesday: The Dutch Oven

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When asked “what is your favorite?” about most things, I tend to take a moment to think. It’s not by choice. Decisions like that are rarely cut and dry and usually require some measure of internal debate. When it comes to cookware, however, there is no hesitation. My favorite piece — the tool I would never want to live without — is the most versatile kitchen essential I’ve ever come across.

It is the Dutch Oven.

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Made of cast iron, dutch ovens last for years, and they come in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Depending on how large you go, the cost for one pot or pan can reach well into the 100s. Rest assured, the immediate and long-term benefits of such an investment will make every dollar you spend on one of these cookware items worth it. And here’s why.

  • Dutch ovens are stovetop and oven safe, which allows you to cook any component of your meal in multiple ways without having to dirty additional cookware.
  • Dutch ovens clean easy. Let them cool before giving them a little soak with warm soapy water and the toughest of grit wipes clean with no elbow grease required.
  • Dutch ovens retain heat. More so than any other kind of pot or pan I’ve ever used, this cast iron cookware stays warm for a very long time, preventing you from having to worry about the meal you made getting cold after you’ve removed it from the heat.
  • Dutch ovens are always ready for the spotlight. It doesn’t matter what kind you get, the look of a dutch oven packs an aesthetic punch suitable for any dinner table.

The One I Recommend

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With so many versions of dutch ovens available, there is one in particular that I consider the most universal and effective. It is the 6 3/4 qt oval dutch oven, specifically made my Le Creuset. And the reason why is simple. It is the PERFECT size.

It doesn’t matter if you are searing off a couple pieces of chicken for you and another or making boeuf bourguignon for a party of 10. The width of this pot and the height of its sides allow you to create virtually anything you want and in any quantity when the occasion calls for it.

I have used this very dutch oven to make dinner for my husband as well as chili for large parties that I have thrown without ever feeling that the pot was either too big or too small.

When purchasing items for your kitchen, the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of money on something with limited use potential. That is why I recommend the 6 3/4 qt oval dutch oven. It doesn’t matter what you are cooking or how much of it you think you will need. This size cast iron pot will supply you with the means to successfully complete virtually any meal.

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