I will admit it. For years, whenever I heard anyone speak of a Dutch Oven, I just thought they were referring to a large cooking pot. Then I started watching Barefoot Contessa and she schooled me. For those of you who still don’t know what a Dutch Oven is (I know, probably not many of you), a Dutch Oven is a heavy cooking pot with a tightly fitting lid. It can be used for braising and deep-frying. It can also go from the top of the stove straight into the oven. For example, if you were making stew you could brown the meat on top of the stove, then add your veggies and liquid and put the Dutch Oven into the oven to finish cooking the stew. Most Dutch ovens are made of cast iron and have an enamel coating over the cast iron which prevents them from rusting.
After watching Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network) talk about her Dutch Oven, I decided that I just had to have one to make a stew recipe that she recommended (Parker’s Beef Stew). So, I did some research and found out what type of cookware she recommends. Then I typed that name brand into Amazon and searched for results. Well, I did get results. And the first thing I learned was that I cannot afford that particular brand name. I won’t even bother to share it with you. It will only depress you when you see how much those Dutch Ovens cost, so why go there?
The good news is that I continued to do research and I found the perfect Dutch Oven (at least for me). It is relatively affordable (this is still a lot of cash to shell out for a pot – I don’t care what anyone says!), and I have to tell you – its beautiful. My choice was the Tramontina 6.5 Qt Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven I bought a red one and it is so pretty that I don’t even put it away in the cupboard. It is always positioned on the back burner of my stove and red color looks fantastic in my kitchen. I’ve used it several times now and it works great and cleans easily. It is also about less than one-third of the cost of that other brand. Although the other brand does come in a lot of colors – even purple! – so there’s that. Personally, I will pocket the extra money and enjoy my beautiful red Dutch Oven.