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Why You Need a Dutch Oven in your Kitchen Arsenal

The pride of every kitchen, the Dutch oven is on every gift registry and in every well-stocked cabinet (if it ever sees a day when it’s not in use). A good Dutch oven is a kitchen essential, heavy and thick enough to conduct and retain heat and deep enough to handle large cuts of meat and quarts of cooking liquid. While a Dutch oven is ideal for braises, stews, and chilis, you can ask it to do much more. Below are a few Dutch oven uses that make it such a kitchen must-have.

Use Your Dutch to Cook Pasta Directly in the Sauce: Dutch ovens are perfect for serving up a pasta feast, and the best part is that they help you eliminate the pot of boiling water. The key to cooking pasta through without all that water is to use an intensely flavored, moisture-heavy cooking liquid that can easily work as a sauce. We like using combinations of water, wine, the liquid from canned tomatoes, and broth, depending on the flavor profile of the dish. This trick will save you time and turn out a pot of fully loaded pasta.

Use Your Dutch Oven to Steam Side Dishes: When we want sides that don’t disappear into the dish, we look to our steamer basket to hold vegetables above the fray. Placing our steamer basket above the protein and cooking liquid allows vegetables like broccoli and asparagus to steam through under the Dutch oven’s tight seal without turning soggy, a trick that makes it easy to serve up a distinct side right from the same pot containing even the sauciest entrée.

Use Your Dutch Oven to Cook Hearty Stews: Great stews are defined by their thick, rich texture. Rather than lengthen our ingredient lists with added thickening agents, we use the low-and-slow cooking technique to our advantage, allowing starchy ingredients to break down and add body to a stew naturally. From cooking sweet potatoes until they start to disintegrate to simmering quinoa until it sloughs off its starch, our best thickeners are right in front of our faces.