Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Second Weapon in the Arsenal

It's time to introduce the next major weapon in my culinary arsenal!

 The Dutch Oven
Soon after beginning our cooking adventures, Justin and I decided that we needed some new, better quality pots and pans. Justin did a fair amount of research on what would give us the best bang for our buck. Sure, we could go with some expensive All-Clad cookware (to which I still find myself ogling in the William Sonoma window at the mall)... but instead, the idea of the dutch oven seemed more suited to our current needs.

There are two major players in the dutch oven community: Le Creuset and Lodge. Le Creuset is generally seen as the best you can buy. They're expensive. Worth it... but expensive (especially for our meager budget)! Lodge also consistently ranks well on the cooking sites and is a fair amount cheaper. From the research that Justin did, it's basically a comparison of 100% to 94% satisfaction between the two brands. We chose Lodge.

Soon after the choice was made, Justin added the 4 qt enameled cast iron dutch oven to his Christmas wish list. When he picked up the heavy wrapped box from under the tree that year, his eyes lit up. He unwrapped it hastily and sat staring for a minute, in awe. We had no choice but to bring this baby home, wash it and immediately make some tasty dish in it. 

I've used that pot soo much since we've had it, that we wound up getting the 6 qt Lodge dutch oven to match. We still have both and they are my FAVORITE cooking vessels! HANDS DOWN! The cast iron provides a large, even cooking surface. The enamel makes it non-stick (I've had the bigger one in the oven making an Italian Sunday sauce that ended up coating the top/sides with a thick, black grunge that washed off beautifully clean).  Plus, the things are heavy and virtually indestructible. They'll last you a lifetime! The only caveat to a dutch oven is that you supposedly can't use it on glass top stoves (not a problem for us).

In sum, the next tool I'd recommend that any home cook add to their shed, is the dutch oven. Be it Lodge or Le Creuset, buy a dutch oven to make your day!

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