Blame it on the fact that I binge-watched the entirety of Netflix's Salt Fat Acid Heat, a four-part docuseries based on Samin Nosrat's brilliant cookbook, in one sitting, but I finally invested in a Dutch oven. Although I've proclaimed many, many, many times that I don't love cooking, I can honestly say this classic piece of cast-iron cookware was worth every penny. Of course, I didn't need a $300 Dutch oven, but after acquiring a one, my food (and, at the risk of sounding overly dramatic, my life) has drastically improved.
Typically I cut any and all corners in pursuit of an under-30-minute meal on busy weeknights, but this sturdy pot has boosted my kitchen confidence, inspiring me to attempt recipes that I'd typically shy away from. While I opted to add a pricey Staub Dutch oven to my cookware arsenal, there are plenty of affordable options on the market to choose from, too, including under-$100 Milo and Lodge models. But no matter the brand printed on the bottom of your pot, trust me: You're going to want to bookmark these easy Dutch oven recipes to break it in.
From braised kale with crispy chicken to coq au vin, these are the recipes I swear by for channeling Julia Child on those Sunday afternoons that afford a bit more time spent over the stovetop.
One- Pot Braised Kale With Crispy Chicken
The Recipe: One-Pot Braised Kale With Crispy Chicken
Why I Love It: Ready in about 45 minutes from start to finish (most of which involves walking away and letting everything simmer on the stove, undisturbed), this braised kale with crispy chicken is a one-pot meal that makes actually makes braising seem like an approachable cooking method. I'd consider this a great starter recipe for breaking in a Dutch oven.
Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup
The Recipe: Spicy Chicken Tortilla Soup
Why I Love It: Brimming with fire-roasted tomatoes, smoky enchilada sauce, and spicy green chiles, this chicken tortilla soup only gets more flavorful as it bubbles away on the stove. Hot tip: Make a big batch on Sunday evening, and ladle individual servings into containers to freeze for later. Trust me; come Thursday, you'll be glad you did.
Chorizo Bolognese Pasta With Kale Pesto and Burrata
Why I Love It: Before I discovered this recipe, homemade Bolognese never seemed worth the extra effort. Made with accessible store-bought ingredients like canned San Marzano tomatoes and sun-dried tomato pesto, this chorizo version is delicious proof that I was dead wrong. As an added bonus, stirring up your own pasta sauce makes you feel like Ina Garten, guaranteed.
Coq Au Vin With Cheesy Cauliflower Grits
The Recipe: Coq Au Vin With Cheesy Cauliflower Grits
Why I Love It: Coq au vin is a classic French recipe that I didn't have the gall to attempt until very recently. Although it was surprisingly easier to make than I'd anticipated, be forewarned: This is a time-consuming recipe best attempted on a Sunday afternoon when you have a few hours to spare. That said, your efforts will be rewarded with fall-off-the-bone tender chicken and cheesy cauliflower grits, which are much easier to make than cauliflower rice, in case you were wondering.
Golden Turmeric Chicken Soup
The Recipe: Golden Turmeric Chicken Soup
Why I Love It: Deemed "dope soup" by recipe creator Sarah of Broma Bakery, this golden turmeric chicken soup really is lick-the-bowl-clean delicious. Although I tend to steer clear of recipes that call for ingredients I don't use frequently (looking at you, fish sauce), this soup is worth reevaluating your pantry staples for.
Braised Chicken Escabèche With Roasted Apples and Grapes
Why I Love It: The recipe might sound fancy (what with the French and all), but this is a one-pan, under-an-hour kind of meal. Made with apples, grapes, and thyme, it's the perfect recipe for putting seasonal produce to good use now that we're entering late fall / early winter. Plus, it only requires 15 minutes of active prep time, making it a more realistic fancy French recipe than the coq au vin if you're strapped for time.
Smoky Squash Chili With Quinoa, Pinto, and Black Beans
Why I Love It: This smoky squash chili is so satisfying that my meat-loving boyfriend doesn't even know it's vegan. (Juan, if you're reading this, I guess the secret is out!) Filled with butternut squash, pinto beans, and black beans, this protein-packed chili has that stick-to-your-ribs consistency you really want in a comfort food recipe.