Cast-iron Dutch oven cookery

I have a pre-seasoned cast-iron Lodge Dutch oven with a basting lid. I never use it. See, things that go into a pot often have tomatoes in them and I’m leery about acids messing up the seasoning. Can you give me some ideas (read: recipes) on what I can cook in it?

Oh – This is an oven-style Dutch oven, not a campfire-style.

I’ve got a 7 qt. one, and its most frequest use is for Uzbek plov. But it’s also great for any kind of slow-cooked stew.

I cook anything I want in mine. The seasoning in a dutch oven, at least for me, isn’t as important as the seasoning in my skillets. Even if I’m browning meat or something in it and get some sticky spots, the hours of simmering that happen afterwards loosen things up just fine. Just be sure to oil it well before you put it away so it doesn’t get rusty.

Looks tasty. I’d like to try it already made so I know what it’s supposed to taste like.

When I make a roast, I make a roast. It’s been forever since I’ve made pot roast. I’ve been thinking I might make one in it. I thought of making chili in it, but I’m likely to put tomatoes in it and I wonder about the acid for such a long cooking time.

When I make a roast, I make hamburgers. But I’m willing to meet you in the middle here. :wink:

Really though, if you’re making a roast what does the seasoning really do for you? If you’re making chili what does the seasoning do for you? Put whatever you want in there, if the seasoning comes off, who cares? The hours of braising/simmering will take off the stuck on bits. I absolutely wouldn’t advocate it for a cast iron skillet, but a dutch oven has a different task, no need to stand on ceremony just because it’s made of cast iron.

My experience with cast iron cooking pots is that they get huge amounts of orange rust on the lid that drips down into whatever is in the pot. How to avoid this?

You need to season the lid the same as the pot/pan.

Or at least keep it coated with oil.

Lumpy, scrub the rust off using steel wool, Brillo pads and/or a stiff wire brush. This will take some elbow grease. Naval jelly (available at hardware stores and, I think, Walmart) will take it off too. Rinse it off well and dry thoroughly with a towel. You might even want to warm it up on the stovetop to evaporate the moisture. Then put a little peanut or canola oil on a paper towel and wipe it on the lid. Not a lot, just enough to make it glisten. Then repeat the oil treatment every time you use it and you should have no further problem.

On the other hand, you can get a brand new pre-seasoned 5 qt. Lodge dutch oven with lid for around $35 or so. Might be worth it to save the hassle of trying to restore the old lid. Just be sure to dry everything and wipe it lightly with oil before you put it away. That’s the key to long life and happiness with cast iron cookware.

Johnny L.A., I imagine you saw the no-knead bread links I put in the other thread so I won’t repeat them here. But they turn out great in a cast iron dutch oven. Boeuf Bourgignon is another great one for dutch ovens and recipes are all over the web - including Julia Child’s.

Plov is kind of like the Central Asian equivalent of chili; everyone thinks theirs is the only authentic version. I’ve had a few different renditions (Turkmen, Uzbek, Kyrgyz) and the main common threads are generally lamb (though I’ve also seen chicken or beef versions), lots of carrots and onions, cumin, and garlic. Other common additions: chickpeas, raisins, barberries, turmeric…what I’m trying to say is if it tastes good, who cares? Give it a try!

I’ve posted this recipe before…it is dead simple, cheap, and way more delicious than you might think:


Ingredients: 1.5-ish lbs. hamburger, 1 onion, 4-5 potatoes, 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup

Preheat oven to 400.

Brown 4 large, thick hamburger patties on high. You want to sear them, not cook them completely.

Put the patties into a dutch oven or deep casserole dish. Top each patty with a slice of onion. Slice the potatoes into 1/2 inch thick slices and layer on top.

Warm the soup in the microwave for a minute or two to soften it. Stir in salt and pepper to taste (You can add things like garlic powder or thyme if you like). Spread the soup over the top of the potatoes. Cover and bake about an hour.

I use mine for a number of things, but two of my favorites are Guinness Stew and White Bean Chili.

I use cast iron every day both in commercial kitchens and at home. I cook whatever I want in them. Even spaghetti sauce. The trick is to use them all the time. At this point even a slow simmered tomato sauce wont take off the seasoning. I sometimes even toss them in dishwashers.

Case iron is cheap versatile, wont scratch, warp burn or corrode. I has even heating and easy cleaning. The handles don’t loosen or come off. The best way to take care of them is use them all the time for whatever.

It is cast iron you can’t ruin it. The worse you threat them the better they get it seems.

True dat…as long as you don’t let acidic stuff sit in it too long, you’re good. Cast iron is tough stuff once it’s seasoned.