Best Dutch Oven Recipes

My husband got me an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven (5 qt.) for my Christmas present. I’ve always wanted one. Now I have to decide what I’m going to cook to break it in.

So, I am calling on you, SDMB, to share with me your best recipes for this type of cooking vessel. I’d love to hear some suggestions besides the standard pot roast and/or coq au vin.


This recipe for bread has been passed around the Dope for years, but it is by far the best thing I have ever made in my Dutch oven. (Link is to NY Times, and I do not think you need to log on or anything.)

The no-knead bread is indeed a wonderful non-obvious use of the Dutch oven. Be aware that if you have a plastic-type handle that it isn’t meant for those temperatures, though, and you should swap in a metal handle. If you have a metal handle (like in a Staub), you’re fine. For all I know, the plastic handle might survive those temps, but the warnings included usually have a note saying they’re only rated for something like 400F.

Would covering the plastic handles with heavy foil do it? Maybe you can just unscrew the plastic handles if you’re going to bake in a hot oven.

I always use my Dutch oven to make chicken and dumplings. Great comfort food with no heavy lifting (except lifting the Dutch oven).

Here’s how I make it:

A package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts, if you must, but thighs are so much better)
A bag of frozen soup vegetables
A can of cream of chicken soup (fat-free is fine)
Chicken bouillon concentrate of some sort (I like Better than Bouillon)
Bisquick or other biscuit mix
Celery seed

Toss the chicken parts in flour (you can add seasoning, if you like) and saute in a little oil until the pieces are lightly browned. Dump in the bag of frozen vegetables and add the can of soup plus a soup can of water and some of the bouillon concentrate (the recommended amount for a cup of water). Mush everything around a little bit to blend the soup and water. You should have enough liquid to cover the chicken and vegetables. Add more water and bouillon concentrate if necessary. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Mix up a batch of the biscuit mix, to which you have added about a teaspoon of celery seed. Add a little more liquid than the standard biscuit recipe calls for. The dumpling dough should be pretty soft. Drop dollops of the dough into the simmering liquid. Cook UNCOVERED for 10 minutes, then cover and cook for another 10. Done!

My recipe:

1 pound of pink beans
1 smoked pork shank
1 whole head of garlic
1 bay leaf
Water to cover the beans by 3"
Three hours and twenty minutes at 320 degrees

Check once or twice to make sure the beans are always covered by the water, adding some if it’s looking dry. Only add salt to taste at the very end of the cooking time.

“Dutch oven recipes” is almost akin to “kitchen recipes.” Once you start to use a good enameled dutch oven, you learn to cook all over again. There’s simply nothing like it for browning and sauteing, turning saute goods into sauce or casserole, making chili or stew, or almost everything that doesn’t involve boiling water. You don’t need to find specific recipes (like “pressure cooker recipes” or “microwave recipes” or gawdelpus “slow cooker recipes”) - a dutch oven is just the right tool for many, many recipes you’ve been doing with less capable tools.

Go. Cook. Have Fun.

Pot roast is the classic. Chuck roast and veggies cooked low&slow with a little liquid.

Any stew recipe that you like will be even better cooked in the oven.

Beef bourguinon, or its Belgian peasant cousin, carbonnade, made with beer. Recipes abound on the intertoobs.

Oso Bucco, braised short ribs, cabbage rolls, carnitas, chicken-n-dumplin’s, sausage cassoulet, no knead bread…

Look up recipes that call for braising. I got a 7qt one for Christmas this year. My 5qt one wasn’t quite big enough to hold the cuts of meat I get at BJs.

The one trick to use with all liquid-based recipes is to wrap the underside of the lid with foil. It helps retain the water… important when using very little… and makes lid cleanup a wipe instead of a hard scour. Burned on spatters can be as hard as the enamel.

QFT. Dutch ovens and their lids don’t form as tight of a “seal” as some other pot/lid assemblies do. A layer of foil helps form a much tighter seal and you can let the pot go for a lot longer without checking on the level of liquid.

Interesting. I’ve never had an issue with this, even cooking stews where I add almost no additional water (like 1/4 cup). Of course, I usually have a lot of onions in my stews, which release TONS of water when cooking.

I first used it only on delicate braising recipes where it was easy for an inch of water to just magically vanish, leaving $30 worth of meat baking into rubber. I finally advanced to using on pretty much every oven dish - even with a well-made dutch oven, it improves the seal a lot and just the simplification of lid cleanup makes it worthwhile.

Try it, but adapt your recipes if you’re accustomed to a lot of boil-off.

This X 10.

If you only use your dutch oven for pot roast, you will believe that it was worth the price. All the other uses are also good. I think that it’s best to use a chuck roast, dredge it in seasoned flour, and brown it in a little oil or fat of some sort, and then let it become a wonderful, wonderful meal. Or three.

I also do a chicken pot roast, in which I substitute a whole chicken for the beef, and surround it with onions, carrots, celery, and potatoes. I stuff both cavities with onion, celery, and carrots, too. My husband isn’t really fond of most chicken dishes, but he will request this dish sometimes.

On the advice of experts (like the crew at Cook’s) and experience, I’ve concluded that flouring beef before cooking is a messy waste of time. The purpose is to get some flour or other gluten into the dish to create a thicker gravy/pan sauce; it does nothing to or for the meat.

Brown the meat bare, and then whip the flour into a good roux in the pan before dumping everything back in for oven time. Much less messy, doesn’t give the meat a mealy or crumbly exterior in spots and (IMHO) results in a better dish.

It’s not necessary with my Dutch oven for the recipes I do. I actually have some pictures of this. Here is some chicken paprikash in the Dutch oven. I added maybe 1/4 cup water to it. It’s just onions and chicken thighs. Here it is a couple hours later. No additional liquid. Those thighs and onions just release a lot of liquid. I do the same thing with beef stew (usually from chuck or short rib). It could be the amount of onions I use. I like to go 2:1 meat:onions by weight, and I find too much additional liquid is not only unnecessary, it dilutes the dish. (Actually, I have pictures of the beef stew, too. Before. And here is after. No more than 1/4 cup or so of additional liquid.)

But it’s possible my Dutch oven just has a tighter seal.

Dutch ovens are the best for making a Roux, then its just a little bit more for Etouffee, either chicken or shrimp or the best crawfish.
Start with equal parts of good oil, and flour, 1/2 cup each heat oven to 300
on top of the stove mix the flour and oil and start the browining, mix well no lumps, use a whisk.
once its going move to oven, keep an eye on it and stir every five min or so it doesn’t burn. this will take about 30 min. to get the color you need.
2 entire bunches of celery
2 bell pepper
1 large onion
4 entire bulbs of garlic
all chopped
once the Roux is the color of peanut butter add all in stir to coal the vegies and cook about 10 to 15 min til they wilt and give up some of their moisture
add in the meat (for shrimp or crawfish raw, for chicken parboiled)
cook another 10 till warmed and cooked thru
serve over rice with a sprinkle of Tabascco for you heat.

Oh, these sound good! I’ve had to postpone my first use, but I’ll definitely be giving some of these a try.