Tips for getting the most out of your Dutch oven

A Dutch oven is a workhorse in the kitchen. The versatile pans are equally at home on the stovetop or in the oven, and are perfect for everything from deep frying to braising to holding hearty soups and stews. Those are not the only uses for Dutch ovens, however, as America's Test Kitchen explains. They provide five innovative uses for Dutch ovens that you might have overlooked. 

dutch oven

The first use is one of those "why didn't I think of that" examples. If you are making a braise or stew that needs to cook with the lid on and oven space is tight, you can maximize the space by inverting the lid of the pan. Line it with aluminum foil and you can bake a side dish of potatoes or roasted vegetables right on top of the pan. 

Although we tend to think of Dutch ovens in the cooking sphere, you can also use them to keep items cool. If you fill an enameled Dutch oven with ice water and let it stand until the pot is thoroughly chilled, you can create a DIY cooler. After about five minutes, drain the water and wipe the pot dry. Transfer the food you want to remain chilled into the pot for serving. Because cast iron is slow to heat and cool, it will keep you foods chilled longer than a regular glass or plastic bowl would. 

Another clever hack is to use the Dutch oven as a makeshift smoker. The article explains how to use heavy-duty aluminum foil, an aluminum pie plate, and wood chips to make a DIY device that will add smoke flavor to chicken, fish, or other meats. 

Photo of How to cook a whole chicken dinner in the Dutch oven from The Kitchn

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