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An American Dutch oven, 1896

A Dutch oven is a thick-walled cooking pot with a tight-fitting lid. Dutch ovens are usually made of seasoned cast iron; however, some Dutch ovens are instead made of cast aluminium, or are ceramic. Some metal varieties are enameled rather than being seasoned. Dutch ovens have been used as cooking vessels for hundreds of years. They are called casserole dishes in English-speaking countries other than the United States ("casserole" means "pot" in French), and cocottes in French. They are similar to both the Japanese tetsunabe and the Sač, a traditional Balkan cast-iron oven, and are related to the South African Potjie the Australian Bedourie oven and Spanish cazuela.

Contents

HistoryEdit

Early European historyEdit

During the 17th century, brass was the preferred metal for English cookware and domestic utensiles, and the Dutch produced it at the lowest cost, which, however, was still expensive.[1] In 1702, Abraham Darby was a partner in the Brass Works Company of Bristol, which made malt mills for breweries.[2] Apparently in 1704, Darby visited the Netherlands, where he studied the Dutch methods of working brass, including the casting of brass pots.[3] Darby learned that when making castings, the Dutch used molds made of sand rather than the traditional loam and clay, and this innovation produced a finer finish on their brassware.[4] In 1706 he started a new brass mill in the Baptist Mills section of Bristol.[5] There Darby realized that he could sell more kitchen wares if he could replace brass with a cheaper metal, namely, cast iron.[6] Initial experiments to cast iron in sand molds were unsuccessful, but with the aid of one of his workers, James Thomas, a Welshman, he succeeded in casting iron cookware.[7] In 1707 he obtained a patent for the process of casting iron in sand, which derived from the Dutch process.[8] Thus the term "Dutch oven" has endured for over 300 years, since at least 1710.[9][10]

American historyEdit

American Dutch ovens changed over time during the colonial era. These changes included a shallower pot, legs to hold the oven above the coals, and a lid flange to keep the coals on the lid and out of the food.[11] Paul Revere is credited with the design of the flat lid with a ridge for holding coals as well as the addition of legs to the pots.

Colonists and settlers valued cast-iron cookware because of its versatility and durability. Cooks used them to boil, bake, stew, fry, and roast. The ovens were so valuable that wills in the 18th and 19th centuries frequently spelled out the desired inheritor. For example, Mary Ball Washington (mother of President George Washington) specified in her will, dated 20 May 1788, that one-half of her "iron kitchen furniture" should go to her grandson, Fielding Lewis, and the other half to Betty Carter, a granddaughter. This bequest included several Dutch ovens.[12]

Westward bound settlers took Dutch ovens with them. A Dutch oven was among the gear Lewis and Clark carried when they explored the great American Northwest in 1804–1806. Mormon pioneers who settled the American West also took along their Dutch ovens. In fact, a statue raised to honor the Mormon handcart companies who entered Utah’s Salt Lake Valley in the 1850s proudly displays a Dutch oven hanging from the front of the handcart. The Dutch oven is also the official state cooking pot of Texas,[13] Utah and Arkansas.[14][15]

Mountain men exploring the great American frontier used Dutch ovens into the late 19th century. Chuck wagons accompanying western cattle drives also carried Dutch ovens from the mid-19th century into the early 20th century.[16]

Dutch historyEdit

 
A Dutch oven, or braadpan, as it is used in the Netherlands today.

In the Netherlands, a Dutch oven is called a braadpan, which literally translates to roasting pan. Another name for it is sudderpan, which literally translates to 'simmerpan' or 'simmering pot'. The design most used today is a black (with blue inside) enameled steel pan that is suitable for gas and induction heating. The model was introduced in 1891 by BK, a well known Dutch manufacturer of cookware. Cheaper and lighter in weight than cast iron, it proved to be a revolution in the kitchen.[17] A braadpan is mainly used for frying meat only, but it can also be used for making traditional stews such as hachée. Cast-iron models exist, but are used less frequently. Currently, Combekk makes the only true Dutch Oven that is actually made in the Netherlands.

TypesEdit

CampingEdit

A camping, cowboy, or chuckwagon Dutch oven has three legs, a wire bail handle, and a slightly concave, rimmed lid so that coals from the cooking fire can be placed on top as well as below. This provides more uniform internal heat and lets the inside act as an oven. These ovens are typically made of bare cast iron, although some are aluminum. Dutch ovens are often used in Scouting outdoor activities.

Bedourie ovenEdit

In Australia, a bedourie camp oven is a steel cookpot shaped and used like a Dutch oven. Named after Bedourie, Queensland, the Bedourie ovens were developed as a more robust (non-breakable) alternative to the more fragile cast-iron Dutch ovens.[18][19]

PotjieEdit

 
A cast-iron potjie on a fire

In South Africa, a potjie /pˈɔɪk/, directly translated "pottle or little pot"[20] from Afrikaans or Dutch, is unlike most other Dutch ovens, in that it is round bottomed. Traditionally, it is a single cast, cast-iron pot, reinforced with external double or triple circumscribing ribs, a bail handle for suspending the pot, and three short legs for resting the pot. It is similar in appearance to a cauldron. It has a matching handled lid, which is recessed, and convex to allow for hot coals to rest on top, providing additional heat from above. When the vessel is to be stored long term, care must be taken to avoid rust forming by seasoning. "Potjie" can also refer to the technique of cooking potjiekos. Among the recipes which require a potjie, there is one for a type of bread called "potbrood", which literally means "pot bread".

Among the South African indigenous peoples (specifically Zulus) these pots also became known as phutu pots, after a popular food prepared in it. The larger pots are normally used for large gatherings e.g. Funerals or weddings to prepare large quantities of food. Wooden spoons referred to as Kombe in the Tsonga language are used for mixing and stirring.

This tradition originated in the Netherlands during the Siege of Leiden and was brought to South Africa by Dutch immigrants.[21] It persisted over the years with the Voortrekkers and survives today as a traditional Afrikaner method of cooking.[20] It is still in common use by South African campers, both domestic and international.

ChugunokEdit

 
Chugunok with a long handled tool and lifting roller
 
Chugunok holding tool

In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a chugunok is a cast-iron pot used in a modern oven or in a traditional Russian oven, hearth, or a campfire. A chugunok is used in a variety of cooking methods including high temperature cooking, low-temperature cooking, thermal cooking, slow cooking, smothering, roasting, baking, braising, and stewing.

The shape of a chugunok is similar to a traditional crock with a narrow top and bottom and wider in the middle. When used inside a traditional oven, a long handled holding tool is used with a roller that serves as a lever to lift a heavy chugunok in and out of the oven. Since there are no handles, it's inconvenient to use a chugunok on a stovetop.

 
A variety of chugunoks are used to prepare an entire meal

Often several chugunoks of different sizes are used in the oven at the same time to prepare the entire meal. Dishes usually cooked in a chugunok are roast meat with vegetables called "zharkoye," holubtsi, potato babka, stuffed peppers, and baked milk.

Use in cookingEdit

Dutch ovens are well suited for long, slow cooking, such as in making roasts, stews, and casseroles. Virtually any recipe that can be cooked in a conventional oven can be cooked in a Dutch oven.

When cooking over a campfire, it is possible to use old-style lipped cast-iron Dutch ovens as true baking ovens, to prepare biscuits, cakes, breads, pizzas, and even pies. A smaller baking pan can be placed inside the ovens, used and replaced with another as the first batch is completed. It is also possible to stack Dutch ovens on top of each other, conserving the heat that would normally rise from the hot coals on the top. These stacks can be as high as 5 or 6 pots.

Seasoning and careEdit

Bare cast ironEdit

Americans traditionally season their iron Dutch ovens like other cast-iron cookware.

After use Dutch ovens are typically cleaned like other cast-iron cookware: with boiling water and a brush, and no soap. After the oven has been dried, it should be given a thin coating of cooking oil to prevent rusting. Whether that should be a vegetable fat or an animal fat (such as lard) is hotly contested[citation needed]. Saturated fats are more stable than polyunsaturated fats, which tend to go rancid more quickly. If the oven is used regularly, this poses no issue. Mustard oil provides the highest temperature resistance, which would be conducive to cooking.

Where possible, a cleaned and freshly oiled Dutch oven should be stored in a clean, dry location with the lid ajar or off to promote air circulation and to avoid the smell and taste of rancid oil. If the Dutch oven must be stored with the lid on, a paper towel or piece of newspaper should be placed inside the oven to absorb any moisture.

With care, after much use the surfaces of the Dutch oven will become dark black, very smooth, shiny and non-stick. With proper care, a Dutch oven will provide long service.[22]

Enameled ovensEdit

Enameled ovens do not need to be seasoned before use. However, they lose some of the other advantages of bare cast iron. For example, deep frying is usually not recommended in enameled ovens; the enamel coating is not able to withstand high heat, and is best suited for water-based cooking.

Enameled ovens can usually be cleaned like ordinary cookware, and some brands can be put in the dishwasher.

However, enamel is not as resistant to scratches as iron.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Rosen, William, The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention (Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press, 2010),p. 145.
  2. ^ See:
    • (Rosen, 2010), p. 145.
    • (Burwood, 1999), p. 396.
  3. ^ See:
    • (Rosen, 2010), p. 146.
    • (Burwood, 1999), p. 396.
    • (Ashton, 1924), p. 27.
  4. ^ See:
    • (Rosen, 2010), p. 146.
    • (Burwood, 1999), p. 396.
    • Ashton, Thomas Southcliffe, Iron and Steel in the Industrial Revolution (Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1924), pp. 26–27.
  5. ^ See:
    • (Percy, 1864), p. 887.
    • (Burwood, 1999), p. 396.
  6. ^ See:
    • (Rosen, 2010), p. 146.
    • (Percy, 1864), p. 887.
  7. ^ See:
    • (Ashton, 1924), p. 27.
    • Burwood, Stephen, "Abraham Darby" in: Magill, Frank N., ed., The 17th and 18th Centuries: Dictionary of World Biography, vol. 4 (Ipswich, Massachusetts: Salem Press, Inc., 1999), pp. 396–398 ; see p. 396.
    • Percy, John, Metallurgy: The Art of Extracting Metals from Their Ores and Adapting Them to Various Purposes of Manufacture (London, England: John Murray, 1864), p. 887.
  8. ^ Darby, Abraham, "Casting iron bellied pots in sand only," British patent no. 380 (issued: 1707), in: Woodcroft, Bennet, ed., Appendix to Reference Index of Patents of Invention, Containing Abstracts from such of the Early Patents … (London, England: Great Seal Patent Office, 1855), p. 46.
  9. ^ Dutch Ovens Chronicled 3–4
  10. ^ The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states that the term "Dutch oven" first appeared in print in 1769. See: Merriam-Webster EtymologyOnLine also states that the first occurrence of the term "Dutch oven" was in 1769. See article: Dutch (adj.) Indeed, a "Dutch oven" is mentioned in the records of the Augusta county (Virginia) courthouse for October 20, 1769: Chalkley, Lyman, Chronicles of the Scotch-Irish settlement in Virginia … (Rosslyn, Virginia: Commonwealth Printing Co., 1912), vol. 1, p. 159. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary and Researching Food History agree that several very different cooking devices were called "Dutch ovens": a cast-iron pan with legs and a lid; a roughly rectangular box that was open on one side and that was used to roast meats; and a compartment in a brick hearth that was used for baking.
  11. ^ Dutch Ovens Chronicled 11-14
  12. ^ Dutch Ovens Chronicled 28
  13. ^ https://www.npr.org/2005/04/22/4616266/texas-pays-tribute-to-the-dutch-oven
  14. ^ "Utah Symbols — Dutch Oven". Pioneer.utah.gov. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  15. ^ "Where Can I Find a List of Official State Cooking Vessels?". Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  16. ^ Dutch Ovens Chronicled 33-54
  17. ^ (in Dutch) A History of BK (De geschiedenis van BK) Archived 2013-10-02 at the Wayback Machine., Retrieved 15 September 2013
  18. ^ Redden Illustration. "Camping and outdoor cookware, fish smoker, cookers and frypans". Southern Metal Spinners. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  19. ^ "Camp Oven Cooking In Australia (Cocia) - Camp Oven Cooking". Aussiecampovencook.com. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  20. ^ a b Stan Engelbrecht; Tamsen de Beer; Ree Treweek (2005). African salad: A portrait of South Africans at Home. Day One Publishing. ISBN 0-620-35451-8. 
  21. ^ "Potjiekos". FOOD24. Archived from the original on October 27, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  22. ^ "Lodge Cast Iron Cookware". Lodgemfg.com. Archived from the original on 2013-05-12. Retrieved 2013-09-13. 

Further readingEdit

  • Ragsdale, John (2006). Dutch Oven Cooking (4th edition) (paperback). Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 978-1-58979-352-1. 
  • Stucki, Dick (2006). Dutch Oven Cookin'. Bonnevile Publishing Co. ISBN 978-0-925838-00-1. 
  • Mills, Sheila (2008). The Outdoor Dutch Oven Cookbook. McGraw-Hill Professional. ISBN 978-0-07-154660-7. 
  • Joan S. Larsen. Lovin' Dutch Ovens. 1991 LFS Publications.