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Old 07-07-2007, 08:59 AM   #1
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Why a Dutch Oven?

Hi everyone,

I just retired and, believe it or not, will be beginning my cooking "career" at this point in my life.

I have a receipe that I want to try that calls for a Dutch Oven, my question is: What does a Dutch Oven do that neither a casserole, slow cooker or regular pot can do - as in do I really need to go buy one and if so, any recommendations?

Thanks everyone,
Pam

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Old 07-07-2007, 10:02 AM   #2
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Most "Dutch Oven" recipes are designed for outdoor cooking, either in a pit, surrounded by hot coals, or on a heat-proof surface of some kind with hot coals on top and underneath.

That said, enamelled, cast iron Dutch Ovens are becoming all the rage for use inside the home. I have one. I like the fact that it's deep, holds a lot of food, and can go from the stove-top to the oven, and back again. It's holds heat very well, for searing, and is deep enough to hold a small roast and broth. Beans cook very well in one.

While a Dutch Oven isn't a necessary pot, because it's so versatile, it can be used for a wide range of things.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:28 AM   #3
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I second everything Allen said. To continue on and answer your question about recommendations for a Dutch oven I will lett you that Le Cruset is the most popular brand, and for good reason. Their Dutch (also known as French) ovens are excellent. The downside is that they are very very expensive. There are many other brands out there that are less expensive and will perform just as well. The main thing you want is for it to be heavy. That is very important. The heavier it is the better. A lighter pot will not perform as well as a heavy one.
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Old 07-07-2007, 11:33 AM   #4
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I love my enamelled cast iron dutch oven. It is a little heavy, but use it for everything - NY Bread, roasts, chili etc. Got mine at "Kitchen Galore" ! Welcome to the cooking world - enjoy !!
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Old 07-07-2007, 12:47 PM   #5
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Hi, Pam. Welcome to DC

For indoor cooking, a dutch oven is any big heavy pot with a tightly fitting lid. Prefereably with oven-proof handles. You'd use it to make stews, chilis or pot roasts, etc.

They are available in cast iron, coated cast iron, stainless, aluminum and who knows what else. If you have a 4 or 6 quart sauce pan, you can probably make any recipe that calls for a 4 or 6 quart dutch oven.

In a pinch, you can use a deep roasting pan with a tightly crimped foil cover.
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Old 07-07-2007, 03:02 PM   #6
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beware the cheaper dutch oven. Just as we are learning to be careful of Chinese imports of foods because of contamination and use of antibiotics not recognized as safe by our FDA, beware cookware made in China. I seriously doubt we are getting contaminated metals, but we are getting cheaper manufacturing...disc bottoms peel off, enamel cracks and chips off iron easily, tri ply warps and bubbles under normal cooking conditions.

You do get what you pay for, and Le Crueset, Straub, Lodge, and Lafont, do give you what you pay for...top quality and a guarentee they will honor.
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Old 07-09-2007, 09:29 AM   #7
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I LOVE cooking in my Lodege Cast Iron and Rachael Ray Oval Enamal Dutch ovens, especially soups, stews and pot roast!

Just remember to keep the fire or electric burner on low when not boiling, to keep food from sticking aqnd or burning.
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Old 07-15-2007, 12:49 PM   #8
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I don't use mine a whole lot. But when I do its usually for a beef stew. I know that there also pretty good for making broths if your to lazy to do it the old fashioned way. I usually throw in a turkey or chicken carcass after its been carved with some water and mire poix. Great after thanksgiving dinner.
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Old 07-15-2007, 02:03 PM   #9
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If you are looking to buy one, look at the Lodge website or if you have good good camping/ hunting supply store like Bass try looking there. You will find that they are less expensive at these type of stores then at store selling kitchen equipment. Try not to buy mail order unless they ship prepaid, the weight will eat up what you saved in shipping.
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Old 07-15-2007, 03:20 PM   #10
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Also, try Cooking.com, Target, Kmart and Walmart. Also, Bed Bath & Beyond.

I bought a ton of stuff from Cooking.com, including small appliances!
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Old 07-15-2007, 06:54 PM   #11
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I don't know the brand of mine offhand, but I love it! It's quite heavy (but not as heavy as cast-iron), & made of shiny "non-stick" stainless steel. The lid is heavy tempered glass, which makes it easy to see what's going on inside without having to lift the lid & let all the heat escape.

It sears nicely & goes beautifully from stovetop to oven. And regardless of what I use it for, it's a snap to clean. I also didn't need to sell a kidney to buy it. Have had it for about 8 years now & it's still just as wonderful use today as the day I bought it.
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:25 PM   #12
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I recently read about a chef complaining about his Le Creuset dutch oven, preferring Staub for two main reasons: the phenolic lid knob of the LC which at some point gets ruined by high oven heat, and the thin handles/tabs of the LC which have broken off on him in the past. Apparently Staub is better on these two features.

Of course I read this review AFTER I had bought my LC!
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:32 PM   #13
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I really wouldn't worry about the LeC.

If a knob were to come off after repeated heating, you could easily replace it. My knob is fine after years of use.

I can't imagine the handles on my LeC falling off.
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Old 07-15-2007, 09:47 PM   #14
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Pam: What's the recipe?

It's very likely that you do not need a Dutch Oven at all.

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Old 07-15-2007, 09:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
I really wouldn't worry about the LeC.

If a knob were to come off after repeated heating, you could easily replace it. My knob is fine after years of use.

I can't imagine the handles on my LeC falling off.
I'm with Andy on this. If I use my Le Creuset at higher temps, I usually just remove the knob. I am able to remove the lid with some potholders if I have to.
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Old 07-16-2007, 06:07 AM   #16
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By the way, I've noticed that the inside of the cover of a Staub dutch oven has many round nubs that are equally spaced out. I gather this is to evenly redistribute condensed steam back into the food as water. The LC cover doesn't have these nubs.

Can anyone say if there's any difference in performance? TIA!
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:50 PM   #17
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Target sells a Chefmate 5 Qt enameled Dutch oven for $ 40. According to Cooks Illustrated, this ove performs equivalent to a Le Creuset.

I have a 5 Qt IKEA Dutch oven (made in France) which works great and is not that expensive ($ 60), see attached link: IKEA | Cooking | Speciality cookware | SENIOR
The only beef I have is that since is dark matte finished inside, is harder to check food, oil, etc. readiness (as opposed to bright, clear enamel)
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:55 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chopstix
By the way, I've noticed that the inside of the cover of a Staub dutch oven has many round nubs that are equally spaced out. I gather this is to evenly redistribute condensed steam back into the food as water. The LC cover doesn't have these nubs.

Can anyone say if there's any difference in performance? TIA!

Either way, the moisture stays in the pot. I don't think it matters much, if at all. The inside of the pot is a very moist environment throughout, including the airspace above the meat and liquid. The liquid condenses on the inside of the lid and drips back into the pot. In a braise, basting doesn't benefit the process.
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Old 07-19-2007, 02:57 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chopstix
I recently read about a chef complaining about his Le Creuset dutch oven, preferring Staub for two main reasons: the phenolic lid knob of the LC which at some point gets ruined by high oven heat, and the thin handles/tabs of the LC which have broken off on him in the past. Apparently Staub is better on these two features.

Of course I read this review AFTER I had bought my LC!
I think that's only if you're using it in a professional kitchen doing high volume. I don't see how this would happen in a home kitchen unless you absolutely abused your Le Creuset.
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Old 07-19-2007, 09:29 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Either way, the moisture stays in the pot. I don't think it matters much, if at all. The inside of the pot is a very moist environment throughout, including the airspace above the meat and liquid. The liquid condenses on the inside of the lid and drips back into the pot. In a braise, basting doesn't benefit the process.
You're most probably right Andy. I haven't noticed any water collecting on the surface of my braise immediately after taking out of the oven. Maybe if I leave the dutch oven to cool while covered... but I never do that, so the absence of nubs on the lid is a non-issue. Thanks.
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