Now that we’re spending more time at home than ever, many people look at these uncertain times as the perfect opportunity to improve their culinary skills. Way to turn a crisis into an opportunity! The best part? You can join them too, even if you’re not precisely a chef. Just go get a Dutch oven and you’ll be preparing these tasty, essential bites in no time!
Probably one of the best kitchen appliances you didn’t know you needed, a Dutch oven is a true lifesaver. Technically a fancy cooking pot, its sturdy cylindrical shape and tight-fitting lid provide constant heat at all times. Think of it as a little oven that goes inside your main one, maximizing its heating capabilities. Sounds good, right? Then it’s your turn to try it. We already recommended the BK Cookware Enameled Steel Dutch Oven as a great gift to surprise your mother, but you can use any other model you like. This one is sure working wonders for us!
Here are two of our favorite dishes that you can cook from scratch using a Dutch oven. Bon appetit!
Kneadless Bread in Dutch Oven
We admit it: we never thought we would be able to cook our own hot, crunchy, and delicious homemade bread until COVID-19 struck. But here we are! Being Europeans, we tend to be very picky bread-wise, aiming to find the perfect balance between price and crunchiness…something not always easy to get in America! Preparing your own bread at home is not only something to be proud of but a great way of saving money while avoiding overpriced fancy experiments at the farmers market. Good riddance, $5 baguettes! And the best part, you don’t even need to knead the dough.
We have to credit and thank Joy Food Sunshine for inspiring us to create our own version of this awesome knead-less recipe.
All you need is all-purpose flour (3 cups), salt (2 teaspoons), yeast (2 + 1/2 teaspoons), water (2 + 1/2 cups), and, of course, a Dutch oven. Be sure that the water is warm but not hot if you don’t want to ruin your precious yeast!
First, mix the dry ingredients (flour, yeast, and salt) in a big bowl stirring with a whisk. Then, pour the warm water into the mix and keep stirring with a wooden spoon until you get a sticky and amorphous ball.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen cloth and let it rest for a few hours until it doubles its size. How many hours? Well, that depends. It usually takes around 10 hours or less, but we’ve found out that it only requires a couple of hours during summertime to grow even thrice! We’re not kidding, the dough even overflows the recipient, so take a look from time to time if it’s hot at home.
Toss a bit of flour into the dough keep and push it into a ball with the wooden spoon or your hands. Meanwhile, preheat your kitchen’s oven to 450 F with the Dutch oven inside for about 10 minutes. When the time’s up, carefully transfer the dough to a sheet of oven paper and keep amassing it before finally tossing everything (oven paper included) into the Dutch oven.
Bake it for 30 minutes with the lid on, and 10 more minutes without it to get a crispy surface. And voila! Delicious, crunchy, and 100% homemade bread. Let it cool in a rack for at least 20 minutes and enjoy it with pride.
Pair this glorious bread with our Homemade Nutella spread for a yummy snack you won’t feel guilty about!
Nothing warms your heart like a good cup of chicken noodle soup, especially if you make it yourself. Just oil the Dutch oven, peel and dice the vegetables you want to use, and fry them over the fire for a couple of minutes. Our favorite mix is carrots, potatoes, a bit of leek, half an onion, parsley, and two bay leaves.
Toss skinless chicken thighs and cook them until the underside is brown. Flip them over and repeat the process (around a couple of minutes is more than enough).
Add a pinch of salt and two cups of vegetable broth. Let it simmer for about a minute. Temporarily remove the Dutch oven from the heat and place the chicken into a cutting mat. Cut it into small pieces and remove any bones.
Add the rest of the broth into the Dutch oven and boil the pasta noodles until cooked.
Add the chopped (or shredded) chicken into the mix…and you’re done! A comfy, delicious chicken soup.
Time for dessert! We got a delicious treat for you, and easy as pie. Just toss into the Dutch oven your favorite brand of cookie dough mix (or even better, prepare your own!) and bake it without the lid for about 30 minutes. That’s all! Throw some ice cream on top of it and rejoice watching how it melts over the hot cookie.