A Dutch oven is an oven-safe, heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid and two side handles. Its straight sides are vertical and the bottom is wide and flat. Dutch ovens can appear in stainless steel or other materials, but I prefer enamel-coated cast iron as it will absorb, distribute, and retain heat evenly and efficiently and is easy to wash to boot. The enamel coating offered by Le Creuset, for example, is dishwasher-safe and freezer-safe, and won't react with tomatoes or other acidic ingredients. The size can range from 2 quarts up to 10 quarts or more.
When selecting and purchasing a Dutch oven to use with Glorious One-Pot Meal recipes, be sure that you choose one that can withstand oven temperatures of up to 450 degrees and can provide enough for almost 1 quart of food per person served. For instance, many of the recipes presented here serve 2 people and call for a 2-quart Dutch oven. Some companies only offer Dutch ovens in half or three-quarter-quart sizes; in this case you would want to step down a bit and use a 3.5-quart Dutch oven to feed 4 people, a 5.5-quart one to feed 6 people, etc. You can of course prepare the recipes in a larger Dutch oven than you need, but be aware that cooking times may increase due to the empty air space.
Elizabeth Yarnell is a Certified Nutritional Consultant, MS patient, inventor and author of the award-winning cookbook, Glorious One-Pot Meals: A new quick & healthy approach to Dutch oven cooking. Her recipes are protected by US patent 6,846,504. Visit Elizabeth online and subscribe to her free newsletter at www.gloriousonepotmeals.com.
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