As winter temperatures grip the nation, cozy, hearty meals and recipes are a seasonal essential.

The Dutch oven is a perfect and versatile kitchen tool that can be a winter warrior in the kitchen to tackle everything from bread to braises, for weeknight meals or weekend baking.

Natalya Drozhzhin, the creator behind Momsdish -- a food blog filled with simple and approachable recipes -- shared two of her beloved and easy dishes that make the most of a Dutch oven.

Dutch-Oven No-Knead Bread

PHOTO: A simple no-knead fresh baked bread using a Dutch oven.
A simple no-knead fresh baked bread using a Dutch oven.


3 cups flour

1 teaspoon dry yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cup lukewarm water (110 °F)


Combine the dry ingredients together.

Add in the wet ingredients, and stir to combine everything together until the dry ingredients are no longer visible.

Cover the dough using a plastic wrap, and allow for the dough to sit for at least 12 hours.

Flour a working surface, and shape the dough into a bread shape. Sprinkle the parchment paper with flour, and place the dough on it. Cover it using a towel, and allow it to rise.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees, with the Dutch oven inside. Place the bread dough inside of the dutch oven together with parchment paper. Bake it for 30 minutes with the lid on.

Remove the lid, and bake the bread for another 15 minutes. Leave the bread on a wire rack to cool down before cutting into it.

Uzbek Plov -- Lamb and Vegetable Pilaf

PHOTO: This rice pilaf and braised lamb dish comes together in a cast-iron Dutch oven.
This rice pilaf and braised lamb dish comes together in a cast-iron Dutch oven.

"Plov is a very popular, historic Uzbek dish. Also referred to as 'pilaf' or 'palov,'" Drozhzhin said the meal is "made up of long-grain rice, tender chunks of lamb, onions and carrots."

1 1/2 lbs lamb (or beef)
2 medium onions
5 medium carrots
3 cup long grain rice
3 bay leaves
1 bulb of garlic
1/2 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons cumin (optional)


Prepare ingredients for the recipe. Clean carrots, and cut them into long slices about 1/4-inch thick. Dice onions into small pieces. Cut meat into 1-inch cubes.

Preheat oil in the Dutch oven over high heat. Using tongs, brown the sides of the meat. Add onions and carrots, and cook until the onion turns translucent and the carrots soften.

Add rice and bay leaves to the Dutch oven. Saute for a couple of minutes. Remove a couple of the top layers of a garlic head, and cut off the small part of the clove edges. Place the garlic clove inside of the rice. Cover the cooking ingredients with boiled water. The water should be filled just about 1 inch over the rice. Season with salt and pepper.

Once it simmers, turn the heat down to very low. Cook for about 40-50 minutes. About 20 minutes into cooking, turn over the top layer of rice to promote even cooking.

Easy Braised Beef with Mushrooms

PHOTO: Dutch oven braised beef with mushrooms.
Dutch oven braised beef with mushrooms.

This hearty meal is tender and flavorful and comes together in one pan for a perfect winter dinner.


3 lbs chuck roast
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions
1 lb mushrooms
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon salt, adjust to taste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 bay leaves
2 cups beef broth


Trim the beef of any excess fat, and cut it into 3-inch pieces. Set it aside.

Chop the onions into 1-inch chunks and the mushrooms into halves. Set the veggies aside.

Preheat a Dutch oven with 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add in the beef, and brown each piece on all sides. Remove the beef from the pot, and set it aside.

In the same pan, add 2 more tablespoons of oil, and cook the onions and mushrooms in the beef drippings until they turn a light shade of brown.

Add the beef back into the pan, and season the pot with salt, cumin and black pepper. Add in bay leaves and beef broth. Cover with a lid.

Bake in a preheated oven to 375 degrees for about 90 minutes or until beef is tender. Serve immediately with your favorite side dish, and enjoy!

Braised beef is the perfect candidate for meal prep. Super versatile, it can be used in plenty of different ways throughout the week. Whether you have leftovers or want to freeze some away for a rainy day, here are a couple of different ways to store braised beef.

Tips to store leftovers

Refrigerator: If you think you’ll eat the braised beef within a week, feel free to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The container will keep the beef from soaking up any lingering smells in your fridge, while also allowing it to continue developing its flavor.

Freezer: If you’d like to keep braised beef on hand for up to three months, freeze it in a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. To do so, first let it cool down completely. Feel free to store it in one big bag, or portion it out into several smaller bags. To thaw, place a bag in the freezer overnight.

Recipes reprinted courtesy of Momsdish.