Let me start by saying I do not need a Dutch oven. I already have two. They last forever. And you don’t really require multiples. But, even so, if I’m being honest, the top item on my holiday wish list is this gorgeous sesame colored four-quart Dutch oven. This glossy pot, just big enough for a big loaf of freshly baked bread, is the product of a collaboration between Staub and Food52—and it’s featured in our gift guide this year.
Technically, Staub calls these French ovens, or cocottes, but in fact, a French oven is just a type of Dutch oven. Staub’s pots are made of cast iron and coated in enamel, just like those by test-winning Le Creuset.
Staub’s cocotte lids have a pattern of cast iron spikes on the underside, which catch condensation and “self-baste”—a handy feature for braising. They’re excellent at both heat retention and even heating, which makes them especially good for food that loves to be cooked low and slow. But this is no one trick pony: Place a few chicken thighs skin-side down in your pot and watch them get a perfect, caramel-colored sear.
My other Dutch ovens are seven-quart hulkers: perfect for cooking big pots of beans, simmering chicken broth, or handling a whole roast. But sometimes they’re goofily large for smaller tasks and recipes. This four-quart size, on the other hand, is particularly well-suited for baking bread, making a little side of vegetables, or warming a small batch of soup. It’s small enough to work as a serving vessel—which is perfect, since I’m hoping to only serve out of my cookware for the rest of the holiday season to cut back on dishes. Maybe, just maybe, this pot will make it to the table by Christmas dinner.
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