With this cold weather outside I tend to use my Dutch ovens very often. I can say that I use them almost every day. I make soups in it, stews, various cassaroles and my favorite risottos. This is definitely the season I use this type of cookware the most. So, I was thinking today about all the dishes I make using my Dutch ovens and I came to the conclusion that this is the most used piece of cookware (alonside with my fry pans) in my kitchen. So here is a list of my top 10 dishes I make using my Dutch ovens:
1. Leek and potato soup: a great winter soup that will warm your body and prepare your stomach for other dishes (eventhough sometimes the soup is just enough for a meal). It’s even more delicious if you add some sour cream and toasted bread. I make in on my stove top and finish it in my oven.
2. Lentils and bean soup: another great winter soup. I absolutely adore it. For more taste I add smoked meat and celery. To make it more dense you can add a potato and to add some color to it use a chopped carrot or two. The Dutch ovens are ideal for making lentil soups because they use medium or low temperatures, preventing the lentils from overcooking.
3. Stuffed artichokes: A great dish. I stuff the atichokes with bread crumbs, parsley, chopped garlic and olive oil. You can add parmesan cheese as well. The cocotte is ideal because with slow cooking the artichokes tenderize and the sauce doesn’t dry out. You can use the stuffing for tomatoes as well.
4. Minestrone: the minestrone can be prepared in the summer and in the winter variation depending on the vegetables that are available on your local market. I sometimes use frozen vegetables as well but I prefer the fresh ones. In the summer variation I use fresh peas, carrots, spinach,tomato, cauliflower, green beans and other vegetables. My winter minestrone contains potatoes, carrots, celery, beans, leek, cabbage, etc. Great meal if you are on a diet!
5. Spinach risotto: since fresh spinach is a summer vegetable I mostly make this risotto during the warmer season. But If you use frozen spinaches you can make it a great winter dish, especially if you add pancetta and parmesan cheese. A great risotto everybody loves.
6. Spinach soup: like the spinach risotto this is an excellent recipe you can both make in the summer using fresh spinach or in the winter using the frozen ingredients. Like leek soup I start this one on my stovetop and finish it in my oven. The sour cream and the toasted bread are a must!
7. Moussaka: the mother of all cassaroles. I have two different moussaka recipes. The first one is made using minced meat, potatos, aubergines and Bechamel sauce. This is the moussaka they typically serve in Greece. The second recipe is the one my mother used to make and it’s without aubergines and instead of the Bechamel sauce I use a mixture of sour cream and eggs. Very tasty as well.
8. Wiener goulash: this is another recipe my mother taught me. I make it using beef meat and the secret is in adding a little bit of Hungarian paprika (both for taste and color), caraway seeds and a pinch of marjoran (or if you prefer thyme). You can eat it by itself (with a loaf of bread) or you can make a side dish with mashed potatoes or bread dumplings (or knodel).
9. Chicken stew: I like chicken stew very much. It’s a tasty and inexpensive dish. You can make potato gnocchi to accompany it. This is one of my favorite dished and my kids absolutely love it. Don’t forget the parmesan cheese on the gnocchi.
10. Chicken Nicoise: A great summer dish. I stuff the chicken with garlic, tomatoes, olives and various herbs. Then I saute the chicken in the cocotte, leave it for a while and then make a delicious sauce using the chicken juices in the pot and and adding some chicken stock.