Thursday, September 2, 2010

decidedly dutch

With fall swiftly approaching, you all know what that means! Football, sweaters, leaves changing color...I'm not one to play favorites, but autumn holds a special place in my heart. I've mentioned a few fun reasons to love the season of fall, but there is one very important reason why I love it so much: the food. Fall means it's time for soups, stews and roasts!

For a while now, I've been stowing away extra cash to go toward my very own Dutch oven. Yes, most people my age are trying to save for a getaway to Vegas or maybe have a coin jar going for Thursday night beers. Well, I want an oven. I'd like to blame it on Amy Adams for her role in Julie & Julia. Or maybe it is Williams-Sonoma's beautiful arrangements of ovens that taunt me through the shop window? Whatever the case may be, I'm on a mission.

As you may well know, Dutch ovens (at least the nice ones) are pretty pricey. I want to be sure about my purchase before I drop that kind of dough on a piece of cast iron. I was very confused at first - Staub, Lodge, Le Creuset; buy French or buy American? Enamel or no enamel? It's all overwhelming for someone just venturing into slow-cooking.  So after a lot of homework, here's the side-by-side comparison I have come up with:

Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven, 5 1/2-Qt
  • Price: $$$$
  • French-made
  • 4.9 stars (out of 5) Customer Reviews on
  • What's the difference? Smooth under-lid; even cooking. Heavy lid to lock in moisture.


Lodge Enamel Dutch Oven, 6-Qt
  • Price: $$
  • American-made (TN)
  • What's the difference? Much less expensive, enamel does not last nearly as long. Susceptible to chipping.

Staub Round Dutch Oven, 5 1/2-Qt.
  • Price: $$$$
  • French-made
  • 5 stars (out of 5) Customer reviews on
  • What's the difference? Multi-layered enamel, chip-resistant. Bumped lid to increase basting liquid.


So after narrowing it down to these three contenders, I'm trying to find a winner. Have any of you ever dabbled in the kitchen with one of these lovely cast iron cookers? I need some help! Also, if you have any amazing slow-cooker or dutch oven recipes you'd like to divulge, do share!


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