When I graduated from culinary school, I was gifted a big, red Le Creuset dutch oven.
It was a very generous gift, but at the time I didn’t know why I needed it. It is pretty, so I kept it on my stovetop, but rarely used it, as it was heavy, and I had a decent set of stainless steel pots.
Then I used it for a big batch of chili and my life changed. Since then, I’ve used it for soups, stews, to braise meat, and perhaps my favorite use of it — baking bread.
What is so special about this Dutch oven? Let me count the ways.
It’s heavy and retains heat well, so when you’re sautéing onions for soup, they cook evenly. No more burning foods.
It has a heavy, tightly sealed lid. So no air or steam is getting out of the pot. This is one of the reasons it’s so useful for baking bread. You get a crisp crust and chewy interior.
Mine is enameled cast iron, so it’s super easy to clean, even burnt on stuff comes off pretty easily.
They’re a beautiful piece of cookware that looks great sitting out on your stovetop and they come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and price levels. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a fancy French one to get the benefits.
It’s especially nice in the fall and winter when you want to cook lots of soups, stews and other hearty dishes.