Today, I thought to myself, what if I only had one pan? What would it be? It didn’t take long for me to zero in on a cast-iron Dutch oven that is flat on the bottom and has a lid.
A Dutch oven is probably the most versatile pan you can have in your kitchen. You can use it to sauté, steam, simmer, fry, and bake almost anything. Let’s teach others how to use one!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I would love a griddle, a frying pan, and more. But, if I only had one pan, what would I choose? For me, a 5 or 6-quart Dutch oven is the largest one I can carry when full. Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron 5-quart Dutch Oven I have several 6-Quart Dutch Ovens with legs as well.
But today, I’m talking about the flat-bottom Dutch Oven. The Dutch Ovens with legs and the lids with a lip can stack and cook with multiple Dutch Ovens on top of each other. What a versatile cookware choice for your kitchen inventory!
If I Only Had One Pan-What Would It Be?
Why are they called Dutch ovens?
We all know that Dutch ovens are designed as a thick-walled pot used for cooking and they come with a tight-fitting lid. The cast iron materials, along with the design for the lid and possibly legs, make them very efficient. The cast iron materials have made them economical enough that almost any family can afford one or more.
I’ve wondered for a long time how they got their name. My research provided some interesting history. Back in the early 1700’s, a fellow from Bristol, England by the name of Abraham Darby was involved in making brass materials used in the brewery business.
He decided to visit the Netherlands to see how they manufactured their brass since it seemed so popular. He found out they used sand to cast the metal rather than the traditional loam and clay. Their brass products had a nice fine finish which he liked, but their products tended to be more expensive.
He returned to England and spent years trying to find a way to cast a more cost-effective material so he could sell them to the masses. He finally developed and patented a sand-cast iron pot that he felt was fitting to call a Dutch oven due to its roots from the Netherlands.
How do I use and care for my Dutch oven?
Let’s talk about cast iron first of all. You must hand wash it, or if it’s seasoned well, you can wipe it out while it’s still hot, using a hot pad. I don’t recommend cast iron pans on glass stovetops, it can scratch them and even crack them if you are not careful. Also, the heat required to make them efficient to cook properly is significant.
The nice thing is this, you can use a Dutch Oven on your gas stovetop, in your oven, on your barbecue, and even in your fire pit, if you have the right equipment to use.
I have the cutest RED Lodge Dutch Oven, I love it, but it can’t be used outside. It’s perfect for dishes made in the house that are cooked on the gas stovetop and in the oven. It makes the best Sourdough bread! In case you missed this post, How To Make A Sourdough Starter + Bread
If I Only Had One Pan-What Would It Be?
Please keep in mind there are other brands of cast-iron Dutch ovens. I only have Lodge Dutch ovens. When I first started buying them you had to season them yourself, now they come pre-seasoned. In case you missed this post, How To Season Cast Iron Pans.
Now, look at this Dutch oven with the lid off. I want you to think about all the things you can do if you only had this one pan.
Here are just a few things you can do with a 5-6 Quart Dutch oven:
- Boil water
- Make soup
- Boil spaghetti or any pasta
- Cook beans
- Cook rice
- Bake potatoes
- Bake bread
- Make a pizza
- Make your favorite breakfast casserole
- Make Puffy Pancakes Popeye Pancakes Recipe
- Biscuits are easy to make in it
- Cook Grilled cheese sandwiches
- Cornbread is awesome in castiron
- Brownies bake evenly
- Scramble eggs
- Fried or over-easy eggs
- French Toast
- Pork Chops
- Cook roasts
- Fry chicken
- Bake a ham
- Pulled pork
- Sloppy Joes
- Chicken pot pie
- Hashbrowns with cooked bacon bit with cheese
- Peach cobbler
- Literally any casseole
- Short ribs
- Macaroni and cheese
- Scalloped potatoes
This is the 5-quart Duch oven with the lid on.
How do I clean cast iron?
Here’s the deal, you can go to thrift stores and hopefully find some cast iron cookware. I realize everyone is now on the lookout for cast iron cookware at garage sales, thrift stores, and antique stores. In most cases, you can scrub the rust off with a scrubber and then use some fine steel wool to make the cast iron smooth again.
Remember, some cast iron cookware is seasoned when you purchase them, yay! Then all you have to do is wash them with warm soapy water (I know it says not to this, but I need to know they are clean). Then you lightly rub some oil on them after heating them in the oven the FIRST time.
Cast Iron Cookware
Here are the instructions on how to season used or old cast iron cookware:
- Scrub the used cast irons pans to get as much debris off of them as possible. Sometimes you will see some black residue, that’s okay.
- Lightly “sand” the pans and lids with fine steel wool.
- Wash the cast iron cookware with warm soapy water and pat dry.
- Coat the pans completely with vegetable oil.
- Place a large piece of foil in your oven and place the lid and pan upside down to catch the drips from the oil.
- Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake your cast iron cookware for 60 minutes.
- Turn the oven off after 60 minutes and let the pans sit overnight, or until cool.
- Remove the pans and lids and wipe off any excess oil with a soft cloth.
- I place paper towels between my pans and store them in bags, or at least those you don’t use very often.
Is there a charcoal chart I can use to determine the temperature?
Years ago, I contacted Lodge Manufacturing to see if I could use their website information in my posts and they said yes. Here is a PRINTABLE Lodge Dutch Oven time and temperature chart I put together after getting permission from the company: Dutch Oven Cooking Chart
In case you missed my DIY Dutch oven stand from years ago:
My awesome brother-in-law built this for Mark and me. How To Make A Dutch Oven Stand
I hope you enjoyed my post, if I only had one pan, what would it be? It’s all about making do with what we have and making it work if we had to.
It’s teaching our family to cook from scratch and eating at home. Please keep prepping, stay safe, stay well. May God Bless this world, Linda