I was at the beach last weekend for a wedding, when the topic of Dutch ovens came up. My friend Laura, the bride, asked me what she should make in her new Le Creuset when we were at the afterparty. In that particular setting I didn’t quite have a list of recipes to rattle off to her, but right away I shouted, “Ricotta! Ya gotta make ricotta, it’s so easy….but uhhhh, remind me tomorrow,” and I went back to my prosecco split and totally not embarrassing Snapchat story.
The next day, she did remind me while also giving me such a nice compliment. She registered for her Le Creuset all because of this post and now I just feel so validated, y’all! Thanks, Laura!! Our friend Kathleen also happened to be looking for some Dutch oven inspiration, so earlier this week, I sat down to gather some of my favorite recipes from A Pinch of This* and some other relevant links to share with them, and now, all of you.
Do you ever have one of those funny days or weeks where everyone and everything seems to be aligned with each other? During my first day of classes senior year, Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus was discussed in every single class. Driving home from New Hampshire a few weeks ago, every (creepy) podcast we listened to seemed to line up with all the New England states we were driving through. In the past week, I’ve been alerted to the difference between Diamond Crystal and Morton’s kosher salts by about five different food outlets. And now, after I was asked about what to cook in a Dutch oven, there’s content popping up all over about how to use your Dutch oven and how to clean your enameled cast iron and 46 things to braise this fall! I’m not saying it’s coincidental; I was a theater major/Shakespeare minor, of course there was a common starting point in my classes. The podcast we were listening to, Lore, is all about folklore and the colonies are rife with all sorts of old, creepy stories. And it’s fall, finally, so with seasonal change, so changes our cooking, and we’re all gravitating towards richer, heartier meals that are ideal for Dutch ovens. (Don’t ask me about the salt thing. That’s just weird.)
All that rambling is to say that it was pretty easy to find links and inspiration to share with my friends during this seasonal transition.
The Dutch oven/enameled cast iron pot/cocotte/whatever you call it is an essential. It can and should be used year-round, but it’s true that it does get pulled out more often in the colder months. This thick-walled, lidded cooking vessel is ideal for cooking things low and slow, like stews, and soups, and bread, and roasts, and sauces, and, and, and, everything!
So without further ado, here is the (slightly edited) email I sent them, embellished with some photos. I hope it inspires you to pull out your Dutch oven, or even invest in one this fall.