If you read Becky Krystal’s guide to Dutch ovens, you know that the pot is a true kitchen essential, a workhorse unlike any other that can get just about every job done. Stews? Braises? Deep—frying and bread-baking? A Dutch oven can do all that — and more!

If you need some inspiration to dust yours off and use it to its full potential, read on.

The ultimate stew pot

Red Pepian, above. Dutch ovens are well regarded as a stew pot, so put yours to the test with this saucy, bright chicken stew from Guatemala. Sesame and pumpkin seeds add nutty notes and thicken the base. We like to throw in some extra seeds on top as a garnish.


Keep it saucy

Yassa Chicken (Poulet Yassa). If you’ve got a dish that requires some sauce, a Dutch oven is great for keeping everything warm without letting ingredients getting too stuck to the bottom. This Senegalese recipe has a short ingredient list and a big payoff.


Get that bread

Overnight Dutch Oven Bread. When you want to make a beautifully crusty, artisanal-style loaf but don’t have much experience baking bread, your Dutch oven is the key. You’re sort of creating an oven within your oven (ovenception?) and also using the Dutch oven to preserve the shape of the bread. This recipe from our Baking Basics newsletter series is a wonderful place to start.


Fry, fry away

Pork Milanese With Gribiche. This dish is a love-letter from a writer to her husband, and also a lesson on why you should fry in a Dutch oven! High sides and even heating take the stress out of frying with extremely hot (and splattering) oil. Your reward is this gorgeously crispy pork cutlet.


Braised meats

Wine-Braised Pot Roast. The way a Dutch oven circulates heat makes meat fall apart. This pot roast is the perfect example of that: the meat becomes extremely tender, and because of all the time it spends mingling with wine and aromatics, it’s supremely flavorful, too. Read all about braising, the flexible, foolproof path to tender meat in Becky’s guide here.


Soups and Chili

Tomato and Eggplant Soup. Dutch ovens look the part when it comes to a hot bowl of soup. Take this veggie-packed tomato soup that’s sure to have folks coming back for a second bowl.

And everything else:

Sesame Chicken Cabbage Rolls. Nestle these into the bottom of a Dutch oven, then gently steam them to tender perfection.

Overnight Chicken. A slow-roasted chicken? So perfectly tender. All you need is your trusty Dutch oven and a good night’s sleep to get this simple chicken on the table.

Steamed Rice With Cumin and Potatoes. You’ll get a gorgeous crust on the bottom of this vivid golden rice with your Dutch oven.

Slow Cooker Cannoli Cream Rice Pudding. Yes, even dessert! This creamy and delicious pudding can be made on the stovetop in a Dutch oven.

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