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Virginia Willis' Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs with Herbed Grits

Virginia Willis

Virginia Willis' Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs with Herbed Grits


6 flavor-packed, (mostly) one-pot dishes to cook in a Dutch oven

Confession: If I was on a desert island (that magically had a working kitchen), and could only have one piece of kitchen cookware, it would be — hands down — a Dutch oven. A good Dutch oven does the work of multiple pots and pans; it can go from stovetop, to oven, to table with ease, and it can even just straight up be used as kitchen decor — it's that gorgeous. 

Like any essential kitchen tool, it's smart to invest in a quality piece that you can rely on for all of your deglazing, braising, frying, simmering, or whatever recipe you want to tackle, for years to come. And once you've found your new favorite Dutch oven, try it out on one of these six recipes.

Virginia Willis' Red Wine-Braised Short Ribs with Herbed Grits
From a master in Southern cooking, who can make anyone a skilled braiser with her expert tips, this rich and deeply flavorful meal is the perfect way to warm up when the temperature drops. Served with some creamy stone-ground herbed grits, you'll be lucky if you have any leftovers.  
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Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder
A twist on a traditional braise, this wintertime meal uses apple cider instead of wine to get all of the tasty brown bits from the bottom of the pot, adding a tart and sweet note that pairs perfectly with fall-apart pork shoulder. Don't go throwing the braising liquid away once the shoulder's done — reduce down the remaining liquid while the pork is resting for a flavorful sauce.  
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Seafood Gumbo
Cooking up the perfect gumbo like this is easier than you think — all you need is a good Dutch oven and a mix of both classic and suprising Southern ingredients (crawfish! poblano peppers!) to create a deeply flavorful one-pot meal. Making a seafood stock from leftover shrimp shells and heads will add even more depth to your gumbo, but don't sweat it; pre-bought seafood stock, clam juice or chicken broth all work just fine.
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Chicken and Dumplings
A hearty stew made that much more magical with dumplings poached in its broth, chicken and dumplings is a classic homestyle meal that will statisfy everyone at the table. Poaching chicken and making homemade stock makes this tasty dinner even better, but feel free to use a rotisserie chicken and pre-made broth in its place for a quick, practically one-pot weeknight meal. 
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Virginia Willis' Smoky Vegan Collard Greens
Don't let the title fool you, but thanks to spicy chipotle peppers and savory tomato juice, these vegan collard greens are packed with flavor. Using a Dutch oven makes quick work out of tenderizing normally low-and-slow greens by surrounding them in heat so they can soak up all of that umami-laden cooking liquid. 
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Portobello Mushroom Stew
Packed with lots of seasonal vegetables, this mushroom stew is a delicious vegetarian riff on classic beef stew that is sure to impress meat-eaters and herbivores alike. The mushroom stock takes a bit of extra time, but it is well worth it — a low simmer in a Dutch oven results in a deep, rich base for a satifying stew.
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Photo credit (Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder, Seafood Gumbo, Chicken and Dumplings): Ramona King 
Photo credit (Virginia Willis' Smoky Vegan Collard Greens): Virgina Willis

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Dena Rayess is a recipe editor and cookbook author based in San Francisco. She enjoys exploring new foodways in and around the Bay Area and beyond, and has been known to whip up a mean house cocktail at dinner parties.