People have used Dutch ovens for over 3 centuries as an essential kitchen utensil, and it is still used all over the world. However, there are many people out there who do not know what it is.
Do not let the name fool you. A Dutch oven is neither Dutch nor an oven. It is, in fact, a deep pot, with thick walls and a tight-fitting lid.
Dutch ovens are expensive, so, if you want to avail of the benefits a Dutch oven provides but can’t afford to buy one, getting a substitute is a good idea.
We have prepared a comprehensive guide to help you out with that!
What is the Best Dutch Oven Substitute?
Although there are a few options you can choose from as a dutch oven substitute, a slow cooker definitely stands out.
How and why? Let’s explore that in detail.
Also called a pressure cooker, the cooking pot follows the same principles as the Dutch oven. You can cook food and leave it unattended for hours, just like you would with a Dutch oven.
Slow cookers are perfect for dishes you need to cook at a low temperature for a while. With a slow cooker, you get the same taste and tenderness in the dish.
However, a slow cooker takes longer than a Dutch oven.
There are other benefits to using a slow cooker. They are a cheaper alternative to a Dutch oven and are quite economical to use.
If you want a healthier lifestyle, this low-fat cooking option is a great idea. So, if you are as impressed with this Dutch oven substitute as we are, here are a few tips to use it efficiently.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Using a Slow Cooker
Take it Easy on the Liquids
The tight lid of a slow cooker prevents evaporation. This means you need to reduce the liquid in the dish by a third.
Just make sure it covers the ingredients and you will be good to go. You can lift the lid once to check the liquid levels and add more if needed.
Do refrain from taking the lid off again and again as it helps the heat escape, ruining the taste.
Increase the Cooking Time
When cooking in a slow cooker, many people do not know how long to cook a dish. Just follow a simple formula, and you will do okay.
Always double the recommended cooking time when using a slow cooker. For instance, if a dish takes 30 minutes to cook, leave it in the slow cooker for an hour.
If a dish takes two hours to cook, the slow cooker will get it done in 4 hours.
Use Flour for Richness
The liquid inside the slow cooker cannot get thick on its own. That is why you need to add a few ingredients of your own to get the desired result.
You can add a few teaspoons of flour to the ingredients beforehand. However, the best option is to make a cornflour paste.
Just add a few teaspoons of cornflour in half a cup of cold water and mix it well. Pour the mixture in the cooker and let it simmer for the desired consistency.
Let it Cook in Peace
The best part about using a slow cooker is that you do not need to keep an eye on the food. In fact, checking the food continuously just increases the cooking time.
When you take the lid off, heat escapes and interrupts the cooking process. So, leave it alone, and soon, you will have a scrumptious dish to enjoy.
Remove Fat from Meat
When cooking meat in a slow cooker, you do not need any oil. The moisture inside the pot helps extract the flavor from the ingredients.
As for the fat on meat, it just melts, and you end up with pools of oil in the dish. So, if you are looking for healthier food options, trim away the fat before cooking it in a slow cooker.
It might take you a while to get used to the slow cooker. But once you do, you will love the tender food you can treat yourself with!
Casserole dishes are second in line for the title of the best Dutch oven substitute. They are large and deep bowls that you can use to cook and as serving dishes.
They are the second-best substitute as they provide a consistent taste. With a tight-fitting lid, a casserole dish can trap heat inside. This provides the food with a consistent temperature that adds flavor to the recipe.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Using a Casserole Dish
Mind the Material
The level of heat a casserole dish can take depends on the material used. Although all casserole dishes are oven-proof, there are only a few that you can use on a stovetop.
Always find out the highest temperature a dish can bear before using it to cook.
Prepare the Ingredients Beforehand
A casserole dish is convenient to use but there is a drawback to it too. You cannot roast or sauté in a casserole dish, so you have to prepare the ingredients in advance.
Then you can combine all the ingredients in the casserole dish to follow the recipe.
Casserole dishes are dishwasher safe, but hardened food needs extra attention. To get the dish squeaky clean, soak it in lukewarm water first.
Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid and leave it for an hour. This step will ensure that the crusted-on food comes off easily, and you get a clean casserole dish once again.
Always Grease the Dish
If you want a perfect dish every time, make sure you grease the dish. You can use butter, oil, or nonstick cooking spray.
This simple step can save you loads of trouble later on. You can easily prevent the dish from burning the ingredients. It also makes cleanup a hassle-free process.
To make it work more efficiently, seal the lid with a paste of water and flour. This way, not even a wisp of steam will escape, and you will get tender meat that will tantalize your taste buds.
Even roasting pans make great substitutes for a Dutch oven. Just get one that has a heavy lid, and you will be good to go.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Using a Frying Pan
Two in One
Most people love the convenience of a frying pan because it can brown and simmer.
You do not have to use another utensil for the process. As soon as the ingredients are brown, add the remaining ingredients to simmer.
A frying pan is a good substitute for a Dutch oven, but it can’t be used for baking.
If you want to bake, the next option is a better alternative.
Usually used for cooking in the wilderness, clay pots are a natural substitute to a Dutch oven. It makes cooking easier and faster, but the best part is that it saves energy.
Available in different types, shapes, and sizes, a clay pot can surely solve your cooking dilemma.
Now that you can get glazed clay pots, you have to be careful. Placing them on an open fire can be dangerous. Always use a heat diffuser between the heat source and the clay pot.
Tips to Keep in Mind When Using a Clay Pot
The heat a clay pot forms are natural and food-friendly. It does not cause a loss of nutrients, so you can still enjoy a healthy meal.
So, if you want to take your life on a more natural and healthier path, choose pure clay pots.
They Do not Leach
Clay does not react with the food while cooking, which is more than we can say about other materials.
A Dutch oven prevents the steam from escaping. The moisture sticks to the lid and slides back on the food to prevent the loss of nutrients.
Clay pots offer the same advantage of self-basting to provide tasty and nutritious food.
Not All Clays are Equal
You can find clay pots of numerous kinds but not all of them are good enough to cook in. Some clay pots use synthetic materials, which is only good for displaying or serving cold food.
Go for clay pots made of pure clay as it does not have any contaminants.
Now that you have a few great substitutes for a Dutch oven, you can keep exploring your culinary skills. Try each option first and then decide which one works the best for you!
Other articles you may like: