Monday, October 1, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things... Dutch Oven

Le Creuset, eat your heart out.
I so badly wanted a dutch oven.  I NEEDED a dutch oven.  I had to have something that I could start on the stove and transfer to the oven to finish without worrying about what temps were okay and handles that might melt off.  Not to mention a large pot that wasn't non stick.  I needed to create a fond once in a while, like for a soup or something, but I just can't bear metal pans that I burn everything to.  I wanted an enameled version instead of the traditional cast iron, so I didn't have to worry about acidic foods reacting with the metal and making an icky taste.  At the size I wanted (5.5 or 6 quarts at least!), a Le Creuset would run me about $300.  Even at the discount "seconds" store. Ouch.  So I did some sleuthing and found another company that has made the cast iron version for a long time, and recently did an enameled version.  I actually bought it at Walmart for $50 (not available there anymore, but amazon has them on prime) and I have fallen in love.  It may not last for 4 generations as the famed french version, but I can afford to buy 6 for the cost of one frenchie.  The Lodge Color dutch oven has worked amazingly well, and I have not been kind to it.  Against the manufacturer's recommendation, I even took it camping and used it over an open fire.  I have had it at least 3 years now, I use it at least once a week, and no chips.   There is some staining and the enamel has crackled inside, but it is only cosmetic.  At first, the cracking of the enamel on the bottom worried me.  I wasn't thrilled at the idea of chunks of enamel coming off in my food.  However, it has had all that for at least 2 years, and it doesn't affect performance at all. I think its just the look of the finish that has cracked and not the actual enamel.  Bottom Line: a must have for every home cook, I swear! (I also broke down and bought a traditional cast iron version for about $30 I think, and it rules, too!)

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