Do you have a big ol’ Dutch oven hidden somewhere in your kitchen cabinet? Or perhaps it’s being used as a base on which to layer all the other registry gifts you received but, um, don’t really use and are kind of just sitting in a corner collecting dust?

Get that pot out, and show it some love this weekend. Although it’s heavy and bulky and awkwardly named, it’s a kitchen workhorse. (Or at least, it should be!) Once you start cooking with it, we think you’ll realize just how useful and versatile a Dutch oven can be. Here are five ways to begin:

Chickpea Tikka Masala, above. A vegan take on the British-Indian dish, Chicken Tikka Masala. Instead of chicken, there’s canned chickpeas, and instead of cream, you’ve got coconut milk. (It’s different from chana masala because that curry, made without cream, is spicier from fresh chiles and a little tangy from dried mango powder.) You’ll want to double the recipe — leftovers are excellent packed for lunch.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Braised Chicken Thighs With Tomatillos. This silky number has a Mexican-inspired tomatillo sauce and is served with a chipotle-flavored mayonnaise. (If you don’t want to buy specialty mayo, you can just stir into mayonnaise some chipotle powder, a chopped, canned chipotle in adobo sauce or a few dashes of chipotle-flavored hot sauce.)



(Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post)

Tomato Stew With Basil Dumplings. Here’s a satisfying and homey way to use a few cans of tomatoes. The fluffy dumplings are oh so comforting, and the amount of vinegar and sugar in the stew keeps it interesting.



(Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post)

Chicken and Rice in Lemon Zest Yogurt. Not your typical chicken and rice dish — this is bright and warming, thanks to a hefty dose of lemon zest and a little bit of ground turmeric. It all cooks in a single pot and is ready in about 40 minutes.



(Goran Kosanovic for The Washington Post)

One-Pot Sweet Potato and Bacon Pasta. Basically any recipe that can be made in a single pot gets our vote. This one has you saute a little chopped shallot and thickly sliced bacon before you toss in some short pasta and cubed sweet potato with just enough water to cook it all and create a simple, flavorful sauce. Dinner in 25 minutes? Yeah, sounds good to us, too.

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