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What to Cook In A New Dutch Oven

As of last weekend, I am the proud new owner of a 5qt enameled cast iron dutch oven (in blue!). The question that has plagued me all week is how to break this sucker in!

Off the top of my head I'm thinking some pulled pork tacos; pork butt seasoned with oregano, cumin and paprika and slowly braised for a few hours. I could, however, use some suggestions on braising liquids if anyone has them to give.

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  1. pork braising liquid? beer!! or with different seasoning than the oregano, ginger ale and orange juice.

    2 Replies
      1. re: eurotransient

        i'm sure it would. no problem. but i can't quite see it with the ginger. i might just bump up the ginger with fresh grated.

    1. A little splash of beer never hurts. Maybe something in a Mexican style with a little splash of lime juice. Those tacos sound really good...

      And of course there's the NYT no knead bread. The recipe calls for a 6-8qt dutch oven, but my 3.5qt one works just fine, so there's no reason yours wouldn't work as well.

      1. Fun! Mine is red, also 5 qt, and I love it. I had two reasons for buying it: coq au vin, and boef bourguignon. I always have on hand chicken and beef stock that i've frozen in ice cube trays. So when I have some time I fry up some bacon cubes, sear one of the proteins in the fat, saute mirepoix, mix a little flour to thicken, tomato paste, add some stock cubes, glugs of wine, bay leaf & thyme, cover and let it cook low and slow. Toward the end also typically add in mushrooms that have been sauteed separately. The sauce is excellent with whole grain pasta too because it can stand up to the texture. The process is gratifying and you'll love it.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Niblet

          Oh, I totally had coq au vin and boef bourguignon on the brain when I bought the dutch oven. That said, I went a little overboard with french cooking last weekend (two souffles!), so I'd like to move into another culinary arena this weekend.

          Your description of making both dishes sounds way less complicated than full recipes I've seen!

          1. re: eurotransient

            Souffles! In the dutch oven -- way to jump to the head of the class! What kind of souffles did you make? I must admit, I purchased a gorgeous tureen for just that purpose and I've never made a souffle, ever.

            1. re: Niblet

              Haha, the souffle wasn't IN the dutch oven -- just a regular 'ole ramekin! I made a cheese souffle for breakfast, but that was really just practice for vanilla dessert souffle that night.

              All in all it wasn't so bad, actually! Both souffle's definitely rose, though maybe not to ridiculous, comic effect. They both absolutely came out with the right fluffy texture in the middle. A total success!

              You should go ahead and give it a go! It's really not terribly difficult. I used Julia Child's recipe in Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Easy to follow and overall pretty painless to execute! Whipping up those egg whites by hand definitely leaves the forearm a bit sore, though.

              1. re: eurotransient

                Thank you for the encouragement, I'll do it! As it turns out there are a few similar items on my "make soon" list, to which I have just added blue cheese souffle with strip steak. The other items include roast beef with yorkshire pudding, and beef wellington. Puffy with beef seems to be what I'm craving these days.

        2. congrats on your purchase! I got my first dutch oven a few months ago (insert inappropriate joke here) and it has quickly become my favorite tool in the kitchen.

          Some things I have made in just the past few weeks

          white chicken chili, Italian meat sauce, braised lamb shank, deep fried goodness for the NFL playoffs (fill with oil and heat, then drop stuff in!), thai style shrimp curry soup, new orleans style rice and beans.

          It goes in the oven, it works beautifully on the stove. I love it.

          EDIT: to your question on liquids - I would brown the pork in vegetable oil or bacon fat (preferably), then add some garlic and tomato paste, as well as some red onion and hot peppers - I like serranos - and some powdered spices, then simmer that for a bit, pour in some chicken stock and beer, bring to boil, reduce heat and drop in the pork. yum!

          1. Braised short ribs (John Besh or jfoods recipe) and a loaf of no-knead bread.