I wanted to find the best Dutch oven to begin exploring a different way of cooking, so I began reading reviews before I settled on one made by a company named lava. I decided to go for the an enameled cast iron oven for several reasons. The first is ease of use. I already hate cleaning up the kitchen after a marathon cooking session, so the sheer size of a Dutch oven is intimidating from a maintenance stand point. The thought of having to clean cast iron, and perhaps messing up the seasoning was a very good starting point in my consideration for passing on the traditional variety.
Along the same lines, I didn’t want to have to season the oven. While online resources say it’s an easy process, it’s not really an idea I’m enamored with. For one I wanted something that had a non stick surface. Cast iron does not have this characteristic, but the when enameled you have a natural non-stick surface that has the same benefit of the iron heating element underneath it. This seemed like the best alternative to avoid seasoning, and the possibility of screwing it up with leaving too much oil in the Dutch oven. If this were to happen then you’d be left with a rancid pot, again not a big deal but for the sake of convenience not one I’m ready to deal with.
I also enjoy the look of the enamled versions. The cast iron dutch ovens look like something out of Grimm’s fairy tales. They look like goddamn witches cauldrons, open the pot and sip eye of newt soup. Nope, not for me, I’m a modern guy with a kitchen full of good looking gadgets. I’ve got the latest ice maker, coffee machine, and convection oven, and I have them in the latest stylish designs. Enameled Dutch ovens allow you to customize your color pallet within your kitchen. We live in a world where presentation is everything, so when you walk in my kitchen I want it to present my best. I like brands that offer choice, and Le Creuset, Staub, and Lava provide me with all the choices I need to have a great center piece to my large cooking implements.
There is nothing you can’t cook with a Dutch oven. This was the other consideration for me. Anyone who cooks with a crockpot or any slow cooker knows that sometimes you want to turn up the heat and get your meal done. At 500 degree maximum temp, a Dutch oven is like a cauldron of flavor speeding up your cook time by nearly double without sacrificing flavor, or technique. These are the perfect accessory to have in your kitchen for preparing big meals for a Sunday dinner, or planning out how to make the best use of your time during the week while cooking for your family. Don’t be put off by the high price of some of the luxury brand Dutch ovens. Are they worth the price tag? Yes. Do they have to be your first Dutch oven? No, dive in slow, grab a cheap one and you’ll be surprised at just how good they are.