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Tag: cast iron

How to Clean the Outside of an Enamel-coated Cast Iron Dutch Oven

Reader question: Elizabeth, the outside of my Dutch Oven is getting black, with much cooking use.  Is there anything that will take this off.  I am still enjoying cooking this way.  I don’t do it all the time, but a lot. ~ Joanne E., DenverLeCreusetCleaner

Hi Joanne, Nice to hear from you and to learn that you are still enjoying GOPMs!

Le Creuset makes a cast iron cleaning solution that you can use to scrub your pot clean. There are retail Le Creuset stores (in Cherry Creek in Denver) and outlet stores that both should carry it, or you  get it online through Amazon.

Be sure to wear gloves when you use it because this is toxic. I usually make my husband do this chore as it takes a bit of scrubbing effort.

Happy cooking!  ~Elizabeth


Will Cast Aluminum Cookware Work The Same As Cast Iron Cookware?

Reader question: Possible addition to your Dutch Oven Deals blog post:  I spotted these Art & Cuisine cast aluminum cocottes at, at just under $40 for the 2.5qt size in a gorgeous purple.  This appears to have a metal lid knob & handles, too.  The only thing is that it’s manufacturer-rated oven-safe to only 400 degrees F – possibly because of the removable silicone handle grips included.  Here’s a link to the manufacturer’s website.  And here’s a link to the listing on Amazon. I know it’s cast aluminum, not cast iron – but would this be worth investigating? ~ Catherine M., Dwight, IL

A cast iron Dutch oven from Le Creuset.

Hi Catherine. Thanks for keeping your eyes open for good deals on a pot for making Glorious One-Pot Meals. I wish the pots you found would be a good option for making GOPMs, but here are the reasons why they won’t work and you shouldn’t use them:

1. Cast aluminum has different heat conduction properties than cast iron does. There’s a reason top chefs like to prepare food with cast iron cookware: it absorbs, retains, and distributes the heat differently than any other type of cookware. This affects how the food cooks.

2. You should never cook with aluminum cookware because it will leach aluminum, a heavy metal, into your food where you will ingest it. Aluminum is not biodegradable or digestible; instead it is bio-accumulative, meaning that it builds up in your body. Too many heavy metals in your body can cause symptoms of poisoning. Aluminum toxicity may cause effects ranging from flatulence and heartburn to skin problems, liver disease, mental retardation, and Parkinson’s. If you own any aluminum cookware, you should stop using it for food immediately.

Aluminum cookware will usually be value-priced as aluminum is a cheap metal, but this is one time when you should pass up the bargain.

Looking for a Dutch oven?

Reader question: I don’t know what size cast iron Dutch oven to buy to use with Glorious One-Pot Meals.  My sister said that the commonly available 2 3/4 qt. size is better, for more vegetables for two people, but your recipes say 2-qt and to fill it up.  Also, stores are not carrying the 2 qut anymore.  What to do? – Amy, Denver, CO

Thanks for writing, Amy! Before I can answer this the question to ask is: How many people are you feeding?

Glorious One-Pot Meals generally follow the 1-quart-pot-per-person guideline. This means that you can safely fill the pot up to the brim with food and know you’ll be cooking the right amount for the number of people eating, likely with a little left over, but not a huge amount.

Yes, I like to use the 2-quart enameled cast Dutch oven when cooking for 2 people for a couple reasons: the method works best when the pot is filled to the brim, and I don’t have to think about how much food I’m putting in since I’m filling it to the top. The 2 3/4-quart is barely larger than the 2-quart – you won’t notice much of a difference, maybe a couple more minutes to cook sometimes, certainly room for more veggies or anything else… Depend on your nose to tell you when dinner is ready. It’s also possible to cook smaller amounts in a larger pot with good results, so you’ll have a lot of flexibility to work with whatever size pot you get.

You’re not the first one to tell me that they’re having troubles finding the 2-quart Le Creuset enameled cast iron Dutch oven in stores. I heard it several times this weekend when I appeared at the Englewood Public Library’s Meet the Faces Behind the Books event. I was touched by how many owners of the original edition of Glorious One-Pot Meals sought me out to tell me how much they loved the book and the cooking method. Hearing enthusiastic testimonials from busy home cooks is what keeps me going on the darkest days! 🙂  It was wonderful to see and connect with all of you!

If you’re having trouble finding the perfect cast iron Dutch oven for your cooking endeavors, I’ve added a new page to this site, Dutch Oven Deals, where I can post links, coupons, and recommendations for Dutch ovens. You can always access this from the link on the side column.