Published on October 7th, 2010 | by Greg0
Oui Oui: The Joys of Cooking with Le Creuset Iron Cookware
Smart chefs understand the crucial role that quality cookware plays in whipping up a great meal. The wrong cooking vehicle can invite a variety of disasters, from quickly burning the veggies to presenting undercooked meat to unsuspecting dinner guests.
The French company Le Creuset has been making beautiful, handmade cast iron cookware since 1925, and we’ve previously extolled the virtues of their cookware in some previous coverage of their unique Doufeu. It’s easy to appreciate their hardy and impermeable enamel coating, allowing the cookware to be used to safely marinate raw food prior to cooking as easily as it can store leftover food. Additionally, the cast iron allows distribution of heat evenly, due to the even thickness of the base, walls, and lids. As always, the main downside of cast iron is the weight- both of today’s items are fairly heavy, but quite worth the heft.
The 3.5-quart Le Creuset Braiser Casserole is a versatile dish that can be used to braise, marinate, poach, bake, or brown food. The Braiser’s shallow base allows the maximum amount of contact between the food and the heat source, and is ideal for searing foods at high temperatures and then cooking all ingredients slowly and evenly. The casserole can be effortlessly transported from refrigerator to oven, or tabletop, in part due to the fact that all Le Creuset iron items feature knobs and handles which are ovenproof up to 400F. No more burned fingertips! Furthermore, food will retain its heat throughout serving. At $175 or so and available widely, the Braiser Casserole is an investment, but one that will undoubtedly provide a lifetime of enjoyment and convenience. The Braiser Casserole, in addition to coming in the low-key Black Onyx we’ve been using, comes in a variety of other bright and bold colors, in line with the Le Creuset tradition. The Braiser Casserole also comes in 2.25 quart and 5 quart sizes.
The charming Le Creuset enameled cast-iron 2-1/4-quart saucier pan, covered in an expertly applied glossy porcelain coating, makes creating the perfect sauce a breeze. Thoughtful features such as a wide and shallow design and curved side edges enable efficient stirring. The pan’s broad cooking surface speeds evaporation â€“ ideal for reducing sauces. We also loved making up some risotto in this pan, which can be a bit of a tricky item to prepare. The wide and shallow design quickens cooking time, plus steam vents in the lid help prevent liquid from boiling over, and the pan’s easy-to-clean enamel surfaces are scratch-resistant. This pan also comes in their traditional range of colors, though we were quite fond of the beautiful eggplant-colored cassis version that we tested. Considerable savings from the $220 list price can be found at Amazon.com.
Both items offer any chef a good range of flexible uses, and the combination of durability and ease of cleaning meant that we turned to these as go-to pots much more than expected. Backed by a lifetime guarantee for the original owner, and reasonably priced, let Le Creuset make your life a bit easier (and more colorful)!