The Dutch Oven That’ll Make Your Comfort Food Even More Comforting

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If I had my way, the only meals I’d eat would come out of a Dutch oven. Let me plot this out for you. On Sunday, I’d make bread in the Dutch oven. On Monday, I’d dip that bread into a vegetable soup heavy with carrots, celery, and zucchini. On Tuesday, I’d do something crafty and herbaceous with pork. On Wednesday, I’d bubble up a stew with hunks of beef, baby potatoes, and parsnips, like my grandma makes. On Thursday, I’d attempt one of those weirdo Dutch oven recipes you find online, like fried chicken or enchiladas. On Friday, it’d be pasta bake, to make me forget my sorrows. Then, the weekend would be a happy journey through leftovers.

Why don’t I do this? Because I’m lazy, democracy is crumbling, and buying groceries requires more energy than I have to give. I am my own worst enemy. But, since a gorgeous Staub Dutch oven recently staked its claim on my stovetop, I’m eating a lot of meals from it and planning even more. Enough to last a winter of uncertainty.

staub dutch oven
It’s inconceivable that a bad meal would be cooked under this lid.

Allie Holloway

It’s crafted to make the best meals.

In the 45 years that Staub has been making cast iron Dutch ovens—or cocottes, as the French company calls them—it’s established itself as one of the best brands in the game. The enamel bottom heats fully and the cast iron disperses that heat evenly through the pot and lid, ensuring a slow, all-encompassing cook for every last carrot, beef tip, and potato. On the underside of the lid, you’ll find little nobs of cast iron, which are designed to collect condensation from cooking and release it back into the food. You know—and I don’t use this word to be gross—for optimal moistness. Throw the Dutch oven in the oven for a few hours or heat it on the stove. Either way, it’s just about impossible to screw up a meal, no matter how hesitant you are to call yourself a cook.

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staub dutch oven
Handles mean easy serving. Just mitt up first.

Allie Holloway

It’s a beautiful piece of cookware.

Staub’s cocotte cooks real nice. It’s also pretty. Damn pretty. It’d seem equally at home over a campfire in the shadow of the Grand Tetons, braising up a hare, as it would on the industrial range at Le Coucou in Soho. The cast iron is rugged, sure, but the matte black finish is refined, as are the other colorways Bespoke Post stocks, and the brass handle lends a bit of shine. You don’t have to keep it out on the back burner all the time, but you will. I do.

staub dutch oven
The enameled cast iron is perfected in Staub’s French factory to heat evenly, and then retain that heat.

Allie Holloway

You’ll be using it all winter, and every winter thereafter.

The brightest minds in chemistry, botany, biology, and hell, psychiatry all agree: It is scientifically impossible to make anything but the most comforting of comfort foods in a Dutch oven. Anything scooped from its depths will be fully seasoned, tenderly cooked, rich and savory, lightly browned. It’ll spread warmth and joy through your stomach, like a Santa Claus of the gut. It’ll make you want to nap. Like, a 10-hour nap, your first in months. I am not technically purporting that the Staub Dutch oven is a sleep aid, but in 2020, I’m not ruling it out entirely. The beauty of a Staub is that you’ll be using it the same way when you’re old, wise, and gray. It’ll last you that long—until you’re passing along a stew recipe to your own grandkids.

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Photography by Allie Holloway. Prop styling by Claire Tedaldi for Halley Resources.

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Sarah Rense is the Associate Lifestyle Editor at Esquire, where she covers tech, food, drink, home, and more. 

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