I think when I first learned of a Dutch Oven, as a child, it was purely “urban slang.” My only thought was that… because we are Dutch and my older brother really had a knack for bad gas, I was often just a victim of The Dutch Oven.
It wasn’t until I entered college, the food movement was taking place, and William-Sonoma was nearby where I worked (which meant my pointless wandering during lunch breaks was sometimes at William-Sonoma) did I learn that there was infact a Kitchen cookware called The Dutch Oven. It seemed fancy, with it’s $300 price tag. For $300, I figured the thing had better produce gold with whatever crap I threw in and served up a few hours later. It was enticing, sure, but I never took the bait. Not even with our wedding registry.
But then a year ago, one was given to us. Not really as a gift, though still in the box. And not the $300 Le Croissant one (as I liked to call it). But still a Dutch Oven all the same. It looked really nice sitting in my cupboard for as long as it did. I will confess: Once I put it on my bucket list for 2014 (to use it- #32) I made a go at Au Gratin potatoes early in January.
Which led to my very first lesson when dealing with The Dutch Oven: Even though I pulled out the Au Gratin Potatoes looking mouthwateringly FABULOUS, because I left the lid on for another 30 minutes while I continued to prep the rest of dinner, the potatoes also continued to cook. Heat trapped inside, the potatoes turned an icky over-steamed brown and mostly lost their appeal at that point. I would call it “successful” like my bucket list demanded. Defeated, my Dutch Oven retreated back to the cupboard for another 4 months.
Until this week, when I felt refreshed and hungry for some French Onion Soup.
I followed the advice of some random cookbook, simmering it for several hours before scooping it into individual bowls, adding some toasted baguettes and gruyere cheese and throwing it back into the broiler to give it that nice toasty and melted crisp top layer. Just as good as any 5 star restaurant, if you ask my family & neighbors!
But really, the Dutch Oven, in my foodie-ignorance, seem like nothing more than a glorified crockpot. And considering that since the soup I have also made the innards of homemade lasagna using the Dutch Oven and STILL can’t scrap off all the leftovers from the inside… I’m not convince I will regularly use this cookware. Unless it’s for soup. Easier to clean. For now, #32 is checked off my list!