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Does Enameled Cast Iron Work Differently Than Seasoned Cast Iron?

Reader question: I recently purchased your book but have not received it yet. I have a cast iron Dutch oven without the enamel. Will I need to change your recipes to adapt to the Dutch oven that I have? ~ Sue, Waukesha, WIenameled cast iron Dutch oven

Sue, the first response I always have to questions like this one is that, for the purpose of Glorious One-Pot Meals: “Cast iron is cast iron is cast iron.”

Humans have been using cast iron to fashion cooking utensils since the Iron Age because cast iron absorbs, distributes, and retains heat evenly. These properties make cast iron a top choice of many chefs when it comes to cookware.

The benefits to using an enameled cast iron Dutch oven is that it won’t rust, is often dishwasher-safe (check the brand), and is usually lighter weight than an unseasoned cast iron pot of the same size (the enamel coating enables the walls of the pot to be thinner while still retaining tensile strength). Enameled cast iron is also non-reactive to acidic foods and non-leaching, making it one of the safest materials to cook food in.

glorious one pot meals elizabeth yarnell healthySeasoned cast iron Dutch ovens will work just fine for preparing Glorious One-Pot Meals as well, they just need different care. Seasoned cast iron pots should never be washed with soap, for example, and will rust if not dried properly and oiled for storage. If you purchase an unseasoned cast iron Dutch oven, you will need to season it yourself before using. You should be aware that un-enameled seasoned cast iron may leach iron into your food, especially when the iron is in contact with acidic foods such as lemons or tomatoes. This is not necessarily a bad thing as we can use some iron in our body for red blood cells and oxygen transport; too much iron may cause constipation, though.

So, the answer to your question is that the recipes in Glorious One-Pot Meals should work just fine in your un-enameled seasoned cast iron Dutch oven. Depending on the number of diners you plan to feed, you may choose to double or triple the recipes. Just be sure to check the chart in the front of the book to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

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