The Dutch oven was invented in the Netherlands and is considered a staple in many American kitchens. Used for centuries to bake breads and other foods, it’s also the best way to cook on a campfire. The Dutch oven was invented in the Netherlands and is considered a staple in many American kitchens. Used for centuries to bake breads and other foods, it’s also the best way to cook on a campfire. The Dutch oven was invented in the Netherlands and is considered a staple in many American kitchens. Used for centuries to bake breads and other foods, it’s also the best way to cook on a campfire. The Dutch oven was invented in the Netherlands and is considered a staple in many American kitchens. Used for

One of the most amazing cooking ideas that came from the Dutch oven is the outdoor cooking concept. Being able to cook meals in the comfort of your outdoor area while being surrounded by nature, and not worrying about the food getting spoiled. This was the ultimate way to cook and the key to keeping food fresh.

A Dutch oven is a cast iron cooking vessel that originated in the Netherlands during the early 18th century. It has been used for centuries in the Netherlands as a means of cooking over an open flame. Although the Dutch oven has been used extensively for baking, roasting, and frying, its history dates back long before the potato was introduced.

Why a Dutch oven and no other options? There can be up to three different cookers with the same name. The best known, however, is a heavy pot with steep sides and a sturdy lid.


Ironically, the Dutch oven was the catalyst for the use of cast iron for cookware and was a viable entry into the burgeoning industrial age. In the early 1700s, a British metalworker went to Holland and saw the dinnerware used there. He loved what he saw and the sand casting technique used to make the brass and took his ideas with him. However, he wanted to find a cheaper metal than brass and chose cast iron….. …after several attempts. When they helped him understand the casting technique, he sold a Dutch oven, and the cast iron cooking pot industry began.

In the past 300 years Dutch ovens have spread all over the world. We see evidence of this at the national level on a regular basis. Paul Revers is credited with the invention of the rimmed lid, which allows the coals to be placed on the lid to achieve a real result in the oven. Mary Washington (George’s mother) left him many Dutch ovens and other iron kitchen furniture.

From Lewis and Clark to the westward cattle drive, they were involved in the cooking and westward expansion of America. One is even immortalized by a Mormon statue of the Handcart Society, settlers who used handcarts to transport their goods during emigration to Utah and Salt Lake City.

One pot, many functions

The variety of cooking styles a Dutch oven can offer is the most likely reason for its longevity. Part of this diversity was reflected in the design. The above flange on the top allows the heat source to be used from above. Small feet to support the stove in the ground to promote heat circulation. The concentric dimensions allow the pots to be stacked to take advantage of all the heat from the fire.

When steel emerged, the lighter, less brittle metal prevailed. The Dutch themselves describe the enamelled steel versions that still exist….. although they call it a frying pan. Steel has contributed to its increasing popularity in Australia. Variants are used in South Africa and more curved versions are used in Russia. They can all be low heat, high heat, braising, steaming, baking, simmering or roasting.

How they work

Enamelled steel and cast iron, as well as bright cast iron, have excellent thermal conductivity. Although cast iron is the big winner in this category. Because of the large mass of a Dutch oven, the heat is evenly distributed in the pan and over the food to be cooked. We are spoiled for being able to control the use of heat so well in our modern cooking processes. In those days, stoves and ovens still worked with flames. An experienced cook could control the temperature, but it was always dependent on the grilling and fluctuations of the heat coming from the flame.

High quality Dutch ovens are usually quite heavy. In addition to heat dissipation, this weight also contributes to a more stable heat transfer from the source to the food. During slow cooking, the heat source may dissipate, but the residual heat from the pan will maintain the heat. This gives the cook an opportunity to recover, increase the heat source, add wood or anything else to continue the cooking process. This durability has been an important factor in the longevity of Dutch ovens in kitchens past and present.

The weight also ensures that the lid is properly sealed, so that no steam can escape and excess pressure can escape if necessary. However, you can’t use it to pressure cook like you can with a real pressure cooker. Because steam is a good conductor of heat, it improves cooking. Especially this group of cooking styles – braising, boiling, stewing, etc., which rely on the use of liquid, it makes sense that the Dutch oven is effective in these cooking techniques.

Non-stick properties and cleanliness

The appearance of the Dutch cast iron stove showed that it was an excellent and inexpensive material for the kitchen. Long before the advent of synthetic non-stick surfaces, cast iron performed exactly this function. If you use and maintain it properly, you will get excellent results, both in terms of cooking quality and, perhaps more importantly, the ease with which you can clean it for a safe and healthy kitchen in the future.

The main difference between steel and cast iron is the carbon content. Cast iron has a higher percentage, giving it a slightly rough texture and a rougher feel than steel. That’s why seasoning is so important, it fills some of the pores on the surface to help release the food particles. That is why preheating is so important: The expansion caused by heat helps close the pores. Steel, on the other hand, offers a smoother surface that, while requiring a lot of maintenance, is easier to maintain than cast iron.

The next evolution, enameled steel, gave similar results, and many even believe it to be superior in terms of cleaning. Enameling contributes to some extent to heat dissipation, but more importantly, it provides a smoother surface that is easier to clean and requires little maintenance. The enamelling of cast iron then completed the choice of material for most Dutch stoves.

Beef shanks stewed in a Dutch oven

We have seen that you can prepare an amazing variety of dishes in a Dutch oven. But from the classic braised roast to the even more classic boeuf bourguignon, it’s when it’s slow cooked with beef that it’s at its best. We share a classic recipe featuring tough beef, which is known to benefit from patient cooking techniques.

Braised beef shank recipe

Roughly chop the classic vegetables and save them for the mirepoix;

  • ½ large onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 stalks of celery

Cook the meat over medium heat in the bottom of a skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil, about 5 minutes on each side;

  • 2 to 3 pounds of beef shank with bones cut into pieces

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove the shanks and set aside.

Over medium heat, add the chopped mirpoix. Bake until lightly browned and caramelized. Add;

  • 1 tablespoon pressed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Cook for another 2 minutes. Add;

  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with their juice
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth

Bring to a boil and return the shanks to the pan. Also add;

  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 inches of fresh rosemary (a ball of gauze will hold the rosemary needles)

Cover and put in the oven. Cook for 3 to 4 hours until the meat is cooked through. Check halfway through if you need more liquid. If so, add warm water to cover the shins.

Remove the appliance from the oven. Remove the horsetail, rosemary and bay leaves.

Put everything else in the food processor. Also remove the marrow from the bones and add it to the mixture along with two tablespoons of butter. Beat several times until everything is well mixed.

Serve the shanks over mashed potatoes, rice, couscous or pasta with mashed potatoes sauce.

All about Dutch ovens, from the history of the dutch oven to ways to use one.. Read more about dutch oven substitute and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the origin of the Dutch oven?

The Dutch oven is a type of pot with a tight-fitting lid that is used for cooking. It was originally designed in the Netherlands and has been used since the 16th century.

What were old Dutch ovens made of?

The Dutch ovens were made of cast iron.

Dutch ovens became popular in the United States in the early 1800s.

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