A Dutch oven is nothing but a simple cooking vessel that is endowed with thick walls and a tight fitting metal lid. It is one of the most popular kitchen utensils across the world, and is generally made of iron. Though these days, you can also get it in other materials such as, stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. The variants with enamels are easy to clean and less likely to rust compared to plain cast iron.
The first reference to these ovens was when the Dutch started using them during the late 17th century. Their system of producing cast iron vessels was more advanced when compared to the American system back then. The dutch vessels had a smoother surface which they obtained by using dry sand to make the molds. Englishman Abraham Darby visited Netherlands to see how iron vessels were made smoother.
After observing their technique, he decided to improve the production of cast iron metals in England and started producing cast metal vessels. They instantly became popular with American colonies in Britain. Later, the Americans made some changes to the original vessel by making it a little shallower and adding a flange to pile hot coals on the vessel and legs to place it properly in the oven. The added flange also prevented coal from entering into the food and ensured its safety.
Great utility value is what makes the dutch oven special and important. Another feature being, they are extremely durable and are good for bulk cooking. Various foods that included beans, meats, pies, breads, pizzas, and also biscuits and cakes were baked with this vessel. The Dutch oven is also known as stew pot or heavy casserole. It is primarily used for braising and stewing tough meats and vegetables.
The tight-fitting lid of the oven ensures to hold the heat and moisture inside the vessel. It can also be used for roasting food items, as the lid enhances the condensation in the pot and radiates heat inside which results in a closed oven that can cook in the moist heat. Using this vessel in an oven has an additional advantage as the pot radiates the oven's heat evenly throughout the pot which results in well-cooked food. It can also be creatively used for any preparation that needs to go from the oven to the stove top and vice versa.
You can cook multiple recipes with a Dutch oven. Today, there are many manufacturers who make them in various shapes, sizes, colors, and added features. By using these advanced and improved vessels, you can experiment with various recipes such as the Prairie chicken, Italian zucchini, and trail-side beans. These recipes are sure to serve your taste buds with exotic tastes.