Do I want a dutch oven?

I have a Calphalon non-stick skillet that’s a piece of shit. The non-stick surface started peeling off after a few months (hand wash only) and I don’t want to use it anymore. It’s not Teflon, but I don’t want to eat any more pieces of non-stick coating of any stripe. So, I’m going to get a Lodge cast iron skillet (10.25") and I was considering a cast iron lid for it. I can get a lid for $17 or a dutch oven that includes the same size lid for $31.

$14 for a 5 qt. cast iron dutch oven seems like a pretty good value, but I’m not really sure if I want, need or could even use a dutch oven. I don’t know what specific purpose they serve. What does a dutch oven do for me that a covered roasting pan or casserole dish can’t?

I like my dutch ovens (5qt Lodge cast iron & 6½ qt Le Creuset) because I can use them on stove top or in the oven. That means if I’m doing a roast and I want to sear the meat first I don’t have to use two different pans. I have several dishes I make that start on the stove top and finish in the oven, for example lamb pilaf.

I use them both often just for stove top cooking because I like to make large batches of spaghetti sauce, stew or chilli.

Ask your wife if she’ll give you one - maybe as a special gift for a birthday or something. :smiley:

Yes you do and this is why. You cant brown meat on the stove top with a casserole dish and you would want to with a roasting pan. This step is crucial IMO for braising or stewing meet. After that you can just throw it on the oven.

I love my cast iron dutch oven. For the reasons stated above, plus you can use it as a slow cooker with the oven on low with 500 degree browning at the end, and, especially, no knead bread.

Why wait for his birthday? Just wait til the next time he’s asleep.

Thanks for the input. I only roast birds so I don’t think I’m missing the searing ability. I can cook stews and chili in a stainless pot I already have. I get the stove top to oven thing, which is one of the reasons I’m going with cast iron for the skillet, but I’m still unconvinced about the dutch oven.

I guess for $14, it could be worth having. Anyone else?

Yes, you do.

If for no other reason than making no-knead bread as SeaDragonTattoo mentioned.

I think stew tastes better from a dutch oven. You can also make great desserts like cobblers.

You don’t need it, but for my style of cooking, it’s essential. I have three Dutch ovens at home (one enameled pot from Target and two Staub Cocottes which are awesome.) I make tons of stews, and it’s great for that. The heat retention and distribution of the cookware is very even, so virtually nothing ends up burning on the bottom of the pot. I can use them on the stove top, in the oven, or often both. They are also essential for no-knead bread and, in fact, work really well for any kind of bread recipe, no-knead or not. They can tolerate very high heat without issues (like Teflon fumes, for instance) so are as good for searing as they are for low and slow cooking.

I love mine, but I’ve gotten by for years without them, too. Nowadays, my kitchen would be lost without one. I pretty much use them every single day.

Came for this, leaving satisfied. :smiley:

/yes, my inner 12-year-old is quite active. And? :smiley:

According to the definition of a “dutch oven” that I know - no, you don’t want that. :wink:

My wife gave me a dutch oven once. A few days later I gave it back to her.

A big plus one on the Staubs. I make all of my chilis, chicken in a pot-type dishes, and stews in them. They are, however, a little more expensive than the $14 you’re talking about, Jake. As I mentioned before though in the ‘what knife should I get?’ thread, the cooking stores are having pretty expansive sales on their inventory this time of year. There’s plenty of Staub as well. I paid something like ~100 for my 6L oval pot, and the smaller round ones are cheaper. Plus, they should last you forever.

I’ve heard that Lodge is pretty decent stuff. You’ll have to season it, of course, and deal with the idiosyncrasies of cleaning cast iron, but that seems like a great buy. As a replacement for a non-stick skillet, like for cooking eggs, crepes, etc…, I don’t think a dutch oven is what I’d go for, but the cast iron skillet should work just fine.

Lodge also makes enameled dutch ovens similar to Creuset at a much more friendly price. I love mine! Much easier to care for, and it works great.

Warning!!, I have the Lodge cast iron dutch oven. I love it. But there is one thing about it that makes my f’n blood want to boil…

It’s the lid. The underside of the lid has these little spikes that serve absolutely no fucking purpose except to make the thing damn near impossible to clean! Had I’d known this before hand, I probably would have went with another brand.

I believe the spikes are meant to encourage condensation to evenly drip back down into whatever’s cooking in the dutch oven.

The Lodge enameled oven does not have said spikes on the lid.

As far as I know, that is the case. My Staubs have that as well. I like it. I never recall them making clean-up any more difficult. I’m not even entirely sure how you’d get that part dirty unless you’re boiling over some stew.

Well, there was one time I was making a tomato based stew. It didn’t boil over but the dutch oven was filled to capacity. So the condensation on the lid was rather heavy.

I made the mistake of letting the lid sit overnight. By morning time, when I went to clean it, all that stuff was just caked on there. And there’s no way to scrub it either, if you try to use a brillo pad, it just tears apart because of the spikes.

When I do a braise in the oven, the lid to my dutch oven gets a deep brown glaze on the underside. It isn’t particularly difficult to clean.