On some random Sunday around the start of this year, I was browsing the colorful pile of advertisements that had spilled out of the Times and littered the table in our break room at work. I generally don't shop for things based on those ads, but I love to flip through the pages and look at all the junk for sale in the wide world of retail.
On the particular Sunday in question, I came across an ad for a Lodge brand Dutch oven, on sale and with a coupon for additional savings. I had to have it. So much so, that we braved Seattle traffic and drove across town to reap the savings that the flier promised us.
It was shiny and brand new. It was red. It was mine.
Straight off, I discovered the short rib recipe that I posted back in January. I would consider the Dutch oven a worthwhile investment just to make these short ribs a few times a year. If you haven't tried them yet, please please please do yourself the favor.
Despite being content with the aforementioned one pot wonder, my eyes have recently been opened to the fact that the world is teeming with reasons to bring the Dutch oven out of hiding. I've discovered a legion of recipes that have kept the glossy red enamel of my DO out of the cabinet and practically glued to the stove top.
It all started with a trip to a used book sale a couple of weekends back. I'm a sucker for books, especially those that have had one or several lives already, and the price is definitely more up my alley for the 'already been read' models.
Of course I spent the bulk of my time searching the cookbook table. I pulled random titles that caught my eye and made my choices with a minimum of actual reading, amidst the crowd of people smushed into the stuffy garage holding much of the sale. I have a hard time maintaining my sanity in that kind of environment (elbow to the face, anyone?).
In the end, it was worth the heat and frustration, because I came home with a book called The Dutch Oven Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pot in Your Kitchen, by Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne. It's not the type of cookbook that I would usually go for, spur of the moment. I'm a glossy-page, photo-for-every-recipe kind of girl, while this book is a matte-page, small-photo-section-in-the-middle kind of publication.
On the surface, it just didn't seem like we had enough in common.
Luckily I didn't let my frivolous nature stop me from taking a chance on what's turned out to be my favorite cookbook. I've made two recipes from it in the past week and have no intention of shelving it any time soon.
With names like Halibut, Corn & Smoked Salmon Chowder, Kabocha Squash Soup with Toasted Coconut, and Bay Braised Artichokes, why would I want to stop now?
The recipe below was my first choice from the book, for two obvious reasons. #1 - Andouille. #2 - clams. I wanted some hot sausage on clam action in my life, pronto. (Yes, I have the sense of humor of a 15 year old boy.)
The reality is, I live just a ten minute walk from some of the best seafood vendors in the city, so clams are in no short supply. And spicy sausage? I live for it. Even though we don't eat true Andouille in my household (my sweetheart doesn't partake in pork), the jalapeno chicken sausage we've come to love, was the perfect replacement. You should use whatever type of spicy sausage that does it for you.
Another bonus about this recipe is its simplicity and speed. I had everything I needed already, except the clams, and I only spent about 30 minutes preparing it. What more can you ask for?
If you don't own a Dutch oven, my first suggestion is that you invest in one. The enameled cast iron is an incredible heat conductor for even cooking, and it's made for both stove top and oven use. It's bad ass.
My second suggestion is that you make this recipe anyway using a large, heavy soup pot. I know you'll love it. Cheers!
Spicy Roasted Clams with Andouille
3 T. unsalted butter
1/2 C. diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. andouille sausage or other spicy sausage, cut into 1/4" slices
2 lb. fresh Manila clams, well rinsed and desanded
1/2 C. white wine
2 C. vegetable or chicken broth
Salt & pepper, to taste
Sriracha or other hot sauce, to taste
chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
- Melt butter in your large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, stir, and saute for several minutes.
- Add the sausage and cook for 1-2 minutes, then add clams and wine. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until clams have opened. Add chicken broth and simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper, and hot sauce.
- Serve hot, garnished with parsley.