Do Double Duty
Years ago when I moved into my first apartment, my
grandmother gave me a Dutch oven as a housewarming present.
I didn't have the foggiest idea what to do with it. In
fact, at the time I was sure I was the only 21-year-old in
New York City who owned one.
It stayed in my kitchen cabinet for years. Whenever I moved
it came with me, but I treated that poor pot like an
outcast, wondering every so often if I would ever use it.
Today it's one of my best friends.
Why such a change in attitude? I learned just how versatile
and indispensable it is. From the oven to the table, from
the fridge to the range, from soups to stews, there's
little this pot can not do.
You know which pot I'm talking about: the one that doesn't
look like any other. It's big - typically holding about 5
quarts - and heavy. This gem heats evenly, has large,
sturdy handles and has a heavy, tight-fitting lid that is
What a Dutch oven does best is long, slow cooking. One pot
dishes like chilli, stew, pot roast and soup are perfect
candidates. One of our family favorites is 40 Clove Garlic
Chicken. The tight fitting lid keeps all the juices inside,
while the dome actually returns the condensation from the
cooking steam back to the pot. The net effect is
self-basted braising. The food is tender and its taste is a
meld of all the ingredients.
The Dutch oven happily does its thing with low heat on the
stove top or in the oven. It's elegant enough to bring it
to the table and serve from - just make sure you put a heat
resistant pad or trivet underneath.
Do you like cooking one day and eating the next? Not a
problem - the oven will go right into the fridge. In fact,
Dutch oven owners learn that dishes like stew actually
improve by sitting overnight in the fridge after they're
LeCreuset a French company known for its line of
enamel-coated cast iron cookware has been selling ovens for
many years. They may have caught your eye in the store
because they come in seven colors. Imagine that - a color
to match any decor!
Sizes range from two quarts to 13 quarts. A 4 ½ quart pot
costs about $135 and a 5 ½ quart pot costs about $150. The
oven is incredibly sturdy. It won't wear out and it keeps
its luster long after it's broken in. Clean up is a snap
Yes, there are other manufacturers that sell ovens, but in
my humble opinion the LeCreuset is the best value