By Ardith Stephanson
The arrival of summer means the start of outdoor cooking season, where you can enjoy a grill or an outdoor fire and set aside the comfort foods of the winter.
But that doesn’t mean you should set aside your versatile cookware, like your Dutch oven. While you may think it’s intended for cooking cold-weather favourites like soups and stews, a Dutch oven can do so much more, including some amazing summer delights.
A Dutch oven is a thick-walled cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid, and the best are made from seasoned cast iron. Dutch ovens have been used for hundreds of years, and are sometimes called casserole dishes or pots. Once again, that doesn’t mean they are intended only for cooking casseroles.
Get the most out of your Dutch oven, or buy yourself a new one, by learning about the 7 greatest summer uses of a Dutch oven.
1. Make Summertime Meals on the Stovetop
A Dutch oven is great for cooking stews and other one-pot winter meals in the oven, but it’s also perfect for making summertime one-pot delights. And, it’s ideal for use on the stovetop, ensuring you don’t overheat the kitchen by running the oven all day.
Think of one-pot wonders that are ideal for summer eating, like pulled pork, a roast for a beef dip, jambalaya or chicken and rice.
2. Carry It Outside and Cook on the Grill
Your grill isn’t just for direct cooking, like throwing on steaks. It can also serve as an oven or a stovetop, while allowing you to be outside, and preventing you from heating up the house.
With the right kind of Dutch oven, you can use it on your grill.
Use it to make a side dish for those barbecued steaks, like a Dutch oven cheesy potato dish. Make a one-pot summer meal like corn and ham risotto. Or try a summery comfort food like seafood stew.
You can use it to cook in, like boiling cobs of corn, or deep frying potato fries.
And for a fun challenge that’s actually fairly easy, you can also bake bread in a Dutch oven on the grill. The Dutch oven becomes a miniature oven when placed on the grill. Find a no-knead bread recipe and the Dutch oven will beautifully brown the crust.
Get your very own Dutch Oven by clicking here.
3. Take It Camping
With a Dutch oven that’s also safe on a campfire, you can take it camping and enjoy a multitude of fun recipes.
Use it to make baked beans, chili, brisket and other camping classics. Bring your favourite oven or grill recipes with you camping, when you may want a stew on a cooler evening in the tent.
Or try some new recipes that are great sitting around the fire, like a s'mores cake, a Dutch oven dutch baby (perfect for breakfast or dessert) or a campfire cobbler.
The natural non-stick properties of cast iron make cleanup easy when you’re camping, too.
Don't forget to get your Dutch Oven for your next camping trip by clicking here.
4. Use it For Cold Dishes
There’s no rule that says a Dutch oven can only be used for cooking hot dishes. The beauty of cast iron is that it keeps hot items hot, and will keep cold items cold.
Why not boil pasta in it and then mix up a big pasta salad right in the Dutch oven? Heading to a summer potluck? The Dutch oven is excellent for serving and storing picnic salads, ensuring your coleslaw, potato salad or Caesar salad stays cool and ready to eat.
It’s also ideal for packing along to a picnic, since you don’t have to worry about breaking a glass bowl, or having a plastic bowl tip over on the floor of your car. A heavy Dutch oven with its cast iron lid will stay put during your trip to the picnic spot.
5. Make Summer and Autumn Treats In It
A Dutch oven is also ideal for making the most of the summer and autumn harvest from your garden or local farmer’s market.
Make a big batch of relish or pepper jelly in the Dutch oven. Use it to can small batches of pickles or jam. This way, you don’t have to make huge servings of your favourite jars of harvest delights, and you don’t have to keep another big pot in your kitchen.
6. Use the Lid To Expand Your Menu
If you purchase a pre-seasoned 5.2 litre cast iron double Dutch oven from Fresh Australian Kitchen, you’ll get the added versatility that comes with the lid, which doubles as a 25-inch skillet when used separately.
Cook on it like a frying pan, or use it as a lid to create a 5-quart double Dutch oven dish.
Simmer your Dutch baby breakfast creation in the Dutch oven on the campfire while you fry bacon in the frying pan. Or cook beans in the Dutch oven and fry a steak in the lid.
The versatility of a Dutch oven is unmatched in summer and winter.
Experience the full extend of its versatility by getting one of your own here
7. In A Pinch, Use It As A Cooler
The cooling properties of cast iron make it ideal as a cooler between meals. Fill it with ice and cold beer and set it on the deck, at the campsite, or on the beach.
Just be sure to empty the contents before it’s time to cook supper.
Now you know how you can use a Dutch oven in the summer as well as winter. But you need to be sure you choose the most versatile Dutch oven, if you want to try out these 7 great summer uses.
The pre-seasoned 5.2 litre cast iron double Dutch oven from Fresh Australian Kitchen will be able to handle all these summer uses. Use it to sear, fry, bake, grill, broil, braise and sauté anything indoors and outdoors, including in induction ovens, on stove tops, and on barbecues and campfires.
Fresh Australian Kitchen ensures the Dutch oven and its lid, which doubles as a frying pan, are both pre-seasoned and ready to cook straight from the box. The naturally non-stick surface makes cooking easy and cleanup even easier. Cast iron is easy to maintain, and its even heat distribution makes sure your summer (and winter) dishes are cooked evenly and thoroughly.
It’s time to get outside and enjoy the 7 greatest summer uses of a Dutch oven.
Click here to get your pre-seasoned Dutch Oven today.
Ardith Stephanson has spent over 30 years as a journalist, writer and communications professional, and now focuses exclusively on her freelance writing business. You can follow her personal blog theardizan.com