Thursday, November 26, 2015

Dutch Oven Dinner

I'm the kind of girl who would be significantly happier taking a walk with M around Williams Sonoma than Tiffany.

Weird? Maybe. 

Any inclination to change? Nope.

While shiny diamonds are pretty awesome in their own right, they've got nothing on a shiny dutch oven! 


When this arrived at my door a few weeks ago, there may have been some hysteria. 

My love for all things bake/cookware is wonderful (unless you're approaching it from a "financial" or "space in our tiny kitchen" angle... but hey, how about we just don't?). And while a lot of the time, items tend to be more pretty than they are useful, it was most definitely not the case here! 

As I've mentioned time and again, my favorite part of cooking is the connection it provides to the past and to the incredible people in my life, from my grandparents to my parents, presently. I love that I can make a cake in my kitchen, and the apartment will smell just like my grandmother's home when I was 10. I love that after messaging my Mom a million times over a recipe and instructions, once it's complete, I can give my boys a dish my Mom would make me. 


I've honestly never felt a greater connection to the memories of being around my grandmother while she prepared dinner, than I did while preparing this meal. For one, I started at about noon. My grandmother would always start making dinner shortly after breakfast. It wasn't that dinner necessarily needed that much time to cook, but it was when she had the time to dedicate to it and ensure it'd be ready and no one would have to wait to eat. I'll be honest, I'm usually not so great with the "no one waiting" part. Oftentimes, dinner will only be ready (read: I'll start cooking) after M gets home. This was different though. N was napping, Y was happily sitting in his high chair with snacks and excited to watch Mommy cook, and I had both the ingredients and energy to get started!


Even more significant than starting at noon, I made this from intuition and preference rather than from ratios and research. I struggled to keep the measuring spoons in the drawer, and approached the addition of spices from a intuitive angle. I don't think I ever saw my grandmother use an actual measuring spoon (which may also explain why I haven't been able to recreate a few of her recipes...). I stuck to what we like, rather than what would be expected and the reward was an incredible dish arising from the mingling of flavors and simplicity. 

It's no secret that I prefer recipes that involve minimal ingredients, prep time and clean up. This recipe used exactly two dishes: the dutch oven itself, and a plate for preparing the meat. That's it! And the dutch oven is so beautiful in and of itself, that it transfers seamlessly to the table and is a gorgeous serving dish.

A noteworthy feature is it's weightlessness. I've always had my eye on cast iron cookware, but being an itsy bitsy balebusta there's no way I'd be able to lift it, once full, in and out of the oven. Not the case here! This 3qt  dutch oven was light enough, even when full, that I could easily take it from counter, to oven to table with no struggle at all. Nordic Ware's dutch oven is made of cast aluminium. The Pro Cast Traditions line is sturdy, the heat conduction properties are excellent and the value and affordability make them accessible for those looking to purchase a heirloom quality pan without spending hundreds. There's no questioning the quality, and the fact that the product is so gorgeous, with a beautiful, gleaming cranberry colour, is an added bonus! Also, this specific model is the 3qt and it was large enough to double this recipe, at least! It's the perfect size for our family and a filling weeknight dinner! 


The dish came out absolutely excellently! The potatoes were soft, the meat pulled smoothly and the garlic was roasted to perfection. Everything cooked evenly and retained its moisture. Both M & our toddler Y, absolutely loved this and clean up at the end was as easy as the meal prep! 


If you're looking to add to your cookware collection, looking for the perfect gift or simply want to elevate your cooking with minimal effort, this is the line you should look to!

Dutch Oven Dinner (Serves 3)

2 large Sweet Potatoes
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
1-2 tsp Onion Powder
1-2 tsp Garlic Powder
1-2 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 cup BBQ Sauce of your choice (I used a classic Chicken/Rib BBQ Sauce)
2 tbsp Brown Sugar
0.5kg Boneless Blade Steak
5 Cloves of Garlic
1/4 c Sweet Red Wine

*I've added the measurements for the spices, but feel free to add them at your discretion! 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F

Peel and cut the sweet potatoes, into small cubes

Add sweet potatoes to dutch oven and generously drizzle with extra virgin olive oil (4-5 tbsp)

Add 1-2 tsp each of onion powder, garlic powder and paprika

Add 2 tsp of cinnamon 

Add 1/4 tsp of black pepper and 1/2 tsp of sea salt

Mix the potatoes to ensure even distribution.

On a separate plate, mix the BBQ sauce and brown sugar. Dip the steak in the mix until covered well on both sides. Add to dutch oven.

Peel garlic cloves and add to dutch oven.

Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes. 

Remove, stir potatoes and add sweet red wine.

Return to oven and cook for an additional hour, checking occasionally. 

Ready to serve directly to table!


I was generously provided with this Pro Cast Traditions 3qt Cranberry Dutch Oven by Nordic Ware. The opinions and experience provided within this post are completely my own.

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