"The Dutch Oven Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pot in Your Kitchen" is one of only three dutch oven cookbooks I am aware of on Amazon that provides recipes for indoor cooking with dutch ovens. I found this cookbook locally after recently buying my first cast iron dutch oven. Along with many promising recipes come a number of shortcomings, which I didn't fully appreciate until I got the book home.
First off, although the author initially writes that they use both cast iron and enameled cast iron, she goes on later in the book to recommend enameled cast iron, and, indeed, the care instructions at the beginning of the book are geared toward that preference too. Consequently, this book will not replace the likes of "Cast Iron Cooking for Dummies", a popular title that I was hoping to bypass due to its lack of applicable recipes for a dutch oven (most are geared toward a skillet, and the few dutch oven recipes that appear in that book are for the 7 quart size). Secondly, while the capacities called for in the recipes that appear in "The Dutch Oven Cookbook" range from 2-quarts to 5.5-quarts, most are geared toward a 5.5-quart dutch oven. I have two issues with this: First, I only own one dutch oven, not the variety of sizes called for in this cookbook. Secondly, the dutch oven I own is cast iron of the non-enameled type and because it is built by Lodge it is an even 5-quarts, with the next size being the 7-quart size (and there are no 7-quart recipes in this book).
Because I own a 5-quart dutch oven, most of the recipes would have to be cut down in order to fit, but neatly halving the larger recipes would be overkill so it would be closer to shaving off 1/4 of the ingredients. Similarly, increasing the 3 quart dutch oven recipes would involve slightly less than doubling the recipes -- all of which sounds like too much math for this writer. The alternative, of course, is to eyeball it, but whether recipes will taste like the author intended them becomes iffy at that point. The last FYI that may be of importance to some home cooks is an additional item the description for this book doesn't mention. At the beginning of the "Main Dishes" chapter, the author writes that it is necessary to use a cast iron skillet to brown and braise meats before transferring them to a large dutch oven. Of course, those who own a cast iron skillet will not have an objection to this, but it does add an extra expense and/or step. Now in all fairness, browning and braising is often called for by the better slow cooker cookbooks too. My main issue is that I hadn't planned on buying a cast iron skillet because I already own the more conventional nonstick type. I bought this title precisely because most of the others aimed at indoor cast iron cooks involve a skillet, whereas a dutch oven cookbook is what I'm after.
It might just be that I will keep this dutch oven cookbook despite its drawbacks. Why? Because of another problem entirely: Lack of alternatives. There are at most two other cookbooks, as of this writing, that claim to offer recipes for indoor cast iron dutch oven cooking: "The Cast Iron Chef: The Main Course." and "101 Things to Do with a Dutch Oven". The problem with the latter is that while both outdoor briquette info. and indoor stovetop and oven conversion temps are supposedly offered in the book as per the Amazon description, a reviewer states that a number of the recipes are geared toward camp cooking without the indoor cooking instructions consistently included. Hmm...
Perhaps a general cookbook on so-called one pot meals would be a closer match to what I am looking for. Unfortunately, the ones I have seen thus far suffer from the same problem -- the capacities the authors call for are all over the map and none that I've seen bother to state clearly on the front or back cover to whom their recipes are tailored. It would seem to be an overlooked editorial necessity on the part of publishers to delineate these particular types of cookbooks titles according to serving size, perhaps suggested by key words such as "One Pot Meals for Two" or "One Pot Family Meals". In this way prospective buyers will have some idea how applicable the title is to their household.
In closing, those who shop from a farmer's market will find themselves well served by "The Dutch Oven Cookbook". Those who shop at grocery stores, on the other hand, may find some of the ingredients difficult to find (lemon grass, chanterelle mushrooms, Bosc pears, Cameo, Jonagold, Winesap or Braeburn apples, etc.). The main dish recipes call for roughly 8-16 ingredients, some of which are only available through ethnic markets and/or specialty suppliers mentioned at the back of the book (Mae Ploy Fish Sauce, Couger Gold cheddar cheese, Madras curry powder, Hungarian paprika, Italian parsley and kirschwasser, for example). There's also the occasional recipe that requires more than just a dutch oven or a skillet. "Spaetzle", for example, is a noodle dish that requires a "special piece of equipment".