Thursday, April 28, 2011

Stock Pot or Dutch Oven

This week we are going to look at stock pots and/or Dutch ovens.  There is a difference between the two.  Typically a Dutch oven is wider than it is high.  They are usually 4 to 6 quart in size although they can be found smaller and larger.  They are normally made of cast iron or coated cast iron.  The Dutch oven is made to go inside an oven as well as to be used on top of a stove.

In contrast, a stock pot is usually higher than it is wide and made mostly of stainless steel.  The stock pot will range from 6 to 20 quarts in a home kitchen.  However, most cookware sets that are sold come with 6 or 8 quart stock pot sizes.  Because they are usually taller, using them in the oven is a little more difficult.

If you remember from an earlier blog on my personal cookware set from, I have an 8 quart stock pot.  However, with my set I have a 5 quart sauteuse pan with a lid.  It will work as a Dutch oven in most of my needs.  I also have a 20 quart stock pot that I use when I'm canning salsa and other things.

You should get and use what works for your needs and not worry about what it is called.  To simplify for the future, I will refer to them as stock pots throughout this blog.

What can you do with them?  Well, you can use it for any kind of meal that needs to be done or finished in an oven.  Some examples would be pot roast, braised short ribs or a corned beef and cabbage dinner for St. Patrick's Day.  I use my stock pot mainly for items that are done on a stove top.  Cooking pasta is a good one as you need a large pot of water to properly cook pasta.  You can use it in making a large batch of spaghetti sauce to freeze.  It is great for soups.  That is where mine gets most of its use.

My wife and I both love soup, all kinds of soup, and stews too.  We make them year round but winter is the prime season for soup.  It is truly a comfort food and it's filling.  My cookbook which is on schedule for this September has a dozen soup recipes in it.  Below is a recipe for a Spicy Black Bean Soup.  I hope you try it and please let me know how it turned out for you.

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