•Is it devotion? Well, not just kitchen eye-candy, Dutch ovens are the key to hearty one-pot cooking. Although it is easy to define the modern cooking marvel, it’s path in history was much harder to pursue, as this pot, that goes by the “Dutch Oven” isn’t actually dutch. They can be found all over the world, sizes and shapes and adapt to a variety of cuisines, uses and conditions.

•Most today are used in outdoor cooking camp settings (largely as bean pots) because of its thick cast iron, three sturdy little legs that rest above the hot coals, it also boast a heavy lid that can be covered with coals to distribute the heat all around. These are still found indoors in our kitchens, they are made to be used in modern ovens and on modern stove tops, of wood, electric and gas burners.

•So to make it short and sweet, I studied the timeline and cut it into thirds.

1) The Netherlands; called a “braapan,” roughly translates into a frying cauldron or roasting pan. Beginning in the 17th century, initially cast of brass, they created a collection in different sizes and shapes using sand to make the molds which produced a high-quality pot with a smooth surface. Today, we have transformed them to an enameled steel pan, lighter, cheaper, suitable for gas and induction cooking. The perfect hardware for outdoor cooking.

2) The English; so this dude, Abraham Darby returned to England after visiting the Netherlands and becoming fascinated with the Dutch Oven’s cooking process. He tried to recreate a cheaper product, refining it to use an economical metal of cast iron. Eventually in 1707, he patented a casting procedure and named it the “Dutch Oven.”

Hence, it’s namesake.

3) The Americas: brought to the new colonies, these “English” pots designs, were continually changed during the colonial era. Here’s a fun fact though: “Paul Revere, the famous Patriot of our country, was credited with adding legs to the pots and designing the flat lid with a ridge around it to hold hot coals.” The little ridges on the inside of the lid perform equally as important, it was found that the condensation that was created while cooking, dripped back into the pot for basting.

The settlers used this type of cookware for its durability and versatility and they became a prized possession used by pioneers, homesteaders, miners and ranchers after Lewis and Clark carried the metal pots on their expeditions through the American Wild West.

It became one of the few items they took home when returning from their voyages.

•In 1896, Joseph Lodge built a cast iron foundry in Tennessee, where to this day, the “Lodge Company” still produces their famous cast iron Dutch Ovens.

•An heirloom-worthy pot that has been cooking up hearty stews, that can fry, also braises, roasts, bakes, steams and stews, and has made bread for centuries is already in your appliance graveyard, just forgotten. Deep enough to handle large cuts of meats and quarts of broths, they’re designed to both conduct and retain heat and sends condensing moisture back into the food. They are heavy, most weigh in at almost 10 pounds, but that makes hefty and excellent heat control, and they look stylish on the table, going from oven to table when you’re ready…

•It works well with both savory dishes and sweet dishes and with its heat retention and durability provides a wide cooking area that evenly heats a nonreactive interior and is oven safe up to 500*. What’s not to Love!

•Delicious recipes and tips to help you make the most of this versatile pot.

•Cherries and Burgundy wine will make your house smell sooo good as these ribs cook. What’s better is the fall-off the bone tenderness a Dutch oven brings. This is an excellent special occasion dish, as in Valentine’s day, New Years Day, special Birthday or for the holidays, when you need to prep as much as possible in advance. Serve it with smashed potatoes, yams, green beans, rosemary and garlic bread and with a Pinot Noir.

The Recipes:

Cherry Balsamic Short Ribs

Prep: 30 min. Cooking: 3 1/2-4 hours Yields: 6

3 lb bone-in beef short ribs, trimmed

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

3 Tbsp. Olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped carrots

1 bulb fennel, sliced (¾ cup)

1 cup of Burgundy wine

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

8 sprigs of fresh thyme

3 bay leaves

2 ½ Tbsp. beef demi-glace (You can find this in the specialty aisle or online. In

a pinch, you could use Worcestershire sauce)

4 cups less-sodium chicken stock

1 cup cherry-flavored cola

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

2 cups frozen pitted tart cherries, thawed

1 Tbsp. butter

Fresh thyme or Italian parsley, for garnish

Directions:

1. Preheat to 350*F. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper.

2. Heat a 6 Qt. Dutch oven medium heat until it just begins to smoke. (about 5 minutes).

Drizzle in 1 ½ Tbsp. oil. Sear half of ribs until golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with other half of ribs. Do not drain drippings from pot.

3. Add onion, celery, carrots, fennel and remaining 1/8 tsp. S&P to pot. Cool,

stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft and onions translucent. 7-9 minutes.

Stir in the wine, scraping up browned bits.

4. Bring to boil; cook until liquid is reduced by half, 6-8 minutes. Stir in rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, and demi-glace until well combined. Stir in stock, cherry cola, and balsamic vinegar. Push ribs into mixture; spread cherries and any juice over the ribs. Bring to boil.

5. Cover pot and transfer to the oven; cook until meat is tender and falling

off the bones. (3 ½ to 4 hours) Check at 3 hours.

6. Transfer ribs and cherries to serving platter, Strain remaining mixture through fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, skim off fat and return to pot. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and cook, uncovered stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 10-12 minutes. Whisk in butter. Serve over the ribs. Garnish with thyme leaves and if desired, sprinkle with additional pepper.

~So as you all know, Scrappy Chef does not have a specialty cuisine, I like to dabble and I’d like to think I’m diversified. I cook French-Canadian, Italian, Mexican, American, Mediterranean, very little Asian (I’m trying and learning slowly!), all types of cuisine. I don’t place limitations on proteins, pastas, vegetables or dairy. What I do like is the historical and purposes of foods and equipment, and using it creating and blending flavors together developing delicious dishes.

~This stew has a Mediterranean influence. The ingredients are not overbearing, commonly found and uses fresh fish, you would almost think it was a coastal food, but the stewed tomatoes, artichokes, pitted olives and blend of aromatic spices tends to sway in the Turkish flavor. It is vibrant and very tasty, and adds a great change to your menu rotation.

Turkish Fish Stew

Hands-on: 30 minutes Total: 40 min Yields: 4

Ingredients:

4 cups of water

1 ½ cups dried couscous

2 Tbsp. Olive oil

½ cup chopped white onions

1 green bell pepper, chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 (14.5-oz) can stewed tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 (12-oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, undrained

12 small pitted green olives

2 tsp. capers

2 Tbsp. dry white wine (like a Chardonnay)

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 tsp. Sumac (You could sub. additional lemon juice or 1 tsp. lemon zest)

1 tsp. dried basil or 1 Tbsp. Chopped fresh basil, plus leaves for garnish

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 tsp. minced fresh ginger

¼ tsp. black pepper

1 lb. cod or haddock fillets, cut into 1-1 1/2-inch chunks

Directions:

1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in couscous, remove

from heat, cover and let it stand 5-6 minutes.

2. Heat oil in a 4-to-6 Qt. Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and bell

peppers; cook until tender, about 6-7 minutes. Add garlic; cook, stirring,

about 2-3 minutes.

3. Stir in tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives, capers, wine, lemon juice, and remaining cup of water. Stir in sumac, basil, cumin, red pepper, ginger and black pepper.

4. Bring to a boil, stir in your fish. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until fish flakes, about 10 minutes. Serve over couscous and garnish.

Dutch Oven Tips:

• Season them with oil, regularly to prevent rust.

• Never put them in the dishwasher.

• They are affordable and durable and come in colors.

• To clean, let cool fill with hot water add 2 Tbsp. baking soda, cover and let it sit, 15-20 minutes, drain water, scrape insides with spatula, scour with non- steel wool. Give one more wash.

~Happy Fooding! Happy Dutch-ing! Keep in touch fans, my mailbox loves you, and I enjoy reading your messages.~My E-mail: [email protected]~And lastly, stupendous news for all of you, and I will have bragging rights soon~big things are coming this way for Scrappy Chef, I can’t wait to share the info with you.~Stay tuned!

~And the last words are from: yourtango.com~Sometimes a little comfort food can go a long way.

Credit: “The Vintage Gentlemen,” “Researching Food History”.

Comments are not available on this story.