When the temperatures finally reflect the fall season, I’m cooking out of my Dutch oven most days out of the week. A Dutch oven is an essential piece of equipment for making stews, braises, and other one-pot dinners, which makes it perfect for easy, hearty, comforting meals on cooler fall nights. Here are three recipes that I love making during the autumn season that utilize the glorious Dutch oven.
Italian Sausage, Potato, Mushroom, and Kale Soup
This is a spinoff of Portuguese Kale Soup that uses Italian sausage and adds mushrooms for a perfect hearty, fall soup. We like to serve this with crusty, artisan bread or dinner rolls that are slathered in butter.
- 2 teaspoons avocado oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into thin half moons
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
- 1-pound small round potatoes, halved (The Little Potato Company Blushing Belle or Boomer Gold)
- 8 ounces button or cremini mushrooms, caps and stems sliced
- 6 cups chicken bone broth
- 4 cups fresh kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces (1 small bunch)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
- ¾ cups half-and-half
- Grated or shredded parmesan cheese for serving
- Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes, then add the garlic and Italian sausage. Use a spoon or spatula to break up the Italian sausage, cook until sausage is completely browned, 5-7 minutes.
Add the potatoes, mushrooms, and bone broth, stir gently to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover with lid and allow to cook for 35-40 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. Add the kale and allow to simmer another 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch or arrowroot into the half-and-half. Remove lid and whisk the cornstarch slurry into the soup. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture has come to a boil and thickened, usually 1 to 2 minutes (you may need to turn the heat up to medium-low).
Once the soup is thickened, ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with parmesan cheese and parsley.
Chicken Cacciatore with Red Peppers, Tomato, and Onion
A simple and quick braise of chicken legs that has the depth of flavor like it has been cooking for hours. We like to serve this with crispy, roasted potatoes, and sometimes with buttery egg noodles.
- 3 to 4 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken legs (thighs and drumsticks separated) (approximately 3 thighs and 3 drumsticks)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 large red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
- 5 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- ¾ cup dry white wine (or chicken stock/broth)
- 2 (14.5 ounces) cans diced tomatoes, drained (save ½ cup reserved juices from can)
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, sage, or thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Minced flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper.
In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Working in batches, add chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer chicken to a platter as it finishes cooking and set aside.
Add onions, pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until softened, about 8 minutes.
Add wine and bring to a simmer. Add tomatoes and reserved juices, along with herb sprigs and bay leaf. Return to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Nestle chicken and any accumulated juices into liquid and vegetables.
Transfer to oven and cook, uncovered, until chicken is fully cooked through and tender and sauce is slightly reduced and thickened, about 30 minutes. Discard herb sprigs and bay leaf. Serve right away, garnishing with minced parsley if desired.
Creamy Mac and Cheese
My family loves creamy mac and cheese! And, every once in a while, I will make a batch of it in the Dutch oven. This mac and cheese is made with béchamel sauce that starts with a blond roux. Combine that with cream cheese and you get the creamiest, cheesiest mac and cheese ever! We usually serve this with smoked, pulled pork and a side of Brussels sprouts. The ultimate comfort food meal! *Important Note: Make sure to grate the cheese yourself because most pre-shredded cheeses contain anti-caking ingredients which make it difficult to create a creamy béchamel sauce.*
- 1-pound dried pasta (elbow, fusilli, penne, zucca, etc)
- 4 + 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups whole milk (warmed)
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco (optional)
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
- 8 ounces Monterey Jack, shredded
- 8 ounces parmesan cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces cream cheese, if using a block, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
- Salt and pepper to taste
Boil pasta to al dente in heavily salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Reserve about ½ cup of pasta water.
In the Dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in ¼ cup of flour slowly, stirring out all the lumps. Cook for about 5 minutes while stirring, allowing the roux to darken slightly to a white sand color.
Whisk in the warmed milk a little at a time until it is all incorporated and mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer, lower heat, then continue to cook while stirring frequently for about 5 minutes until thickened. Add in smoked paprika and hot sauce (if using). Start adding in the cheeses a little at a time while stirring. Stir until cheese is melted into the sauce and remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the cooked pasta with a splash of pasta water to the cheese sauce. Mix until combined.
In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the panko breadcrumbs. Toast over medium heat until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs over the top of the mac and cheese and serve warm.
About Organic Beth
Beth Blessing (Organic Beth) has a Masters in Nutrition and is the co-founder of Green Bean Delivery. She is a mother of three who loves supporting family farms and searching for unique, artisanal products. Her goal is to help others eat better and live a more natural, holistic life through healthy recipes and practical tips.