Housewares: Stews and Risottos With Emile Henry

In the past couple of days, we’ve published on a few great items for the everyday chef (with dreams and aspirations of being far from ordinary). We’ve looked at a stealthy kitchen knife from France, some German-made pizza-making and garlic-handling tools, and now we return our eyes to another French manufacturer to help complete your dream kitchen. While just about anyone can use a chef’s knife, today’s pair might seem at first glance a bit more niche. Don’t make that mistake though- it’s really easy to make either of this duo into a centerpiece of your regular dinner routine.

Let’s start with the Emile Henry Flame Stewpot. Emile Henry products are ceramic, which makes them much lighter than cast iron, while also being prettier, more colorful, and easier to clean. Made in France, this piece serves as a handy Dutch oven with a 4.2 quart capacity, and comes in a variety of hues (ours was Flame red). We used it for stews- some lentils, vegetables, and even chili- and also tried braising some thicker, fattier cuts of steak inside. We didn’t try making caramel, though we hear it works wonders for prep of that notoriously difficult item, and we look forward to trying other desserts as well. The Flame Top Round Dutch Oven distributes heat evenly for better results, and ceramics are naturally resistant to sticking without requiring as much oil or butter.

The Flame Top Risotto Pot is fairly similar, but smaller, at 2.5 quarts, with a rounder bottom perfect for rice and rice-like dishes. We made not just risotto but a few other similar grains, and the results were very different from your average rice cooker. For best results, with a bit of texture, you want something fairly heavy, with good heat conduction to prevent those gentle grains from getting scorched. This is the perfect dish, if fairly specific. Simply brown mushrooms and maybe add a touch of truffle before adding in the rest of the ingredients like arborio rice, taking the pot from a saute in minutes to a rich and creamy risotto, and serving straight from it at the end while it kept nicely warm. Ours is black, but is available in a host of other shades including olive and figue.

Emile Henry offers a ten year guarantee on all products, and we have always found them durable, plus attractive enough to serve from directly while on the table. Dishwasher safe, their ceramic pots can be used in the microwave, in the oven, on the stovetop- and even taken directly from the freezer into a hot oven without worrying about cracking or breaking. Try that with other glass or metal cookware! Lids always fit nicely, and handles are always present, if a bit small and non-insulated (they get hot easily during cooking). Glazes have held fast over years of use for us, and we have no hesitation about recommending Emile Henry for a perfect kitchen gift for the lucky someone in your life. The Risotto Pot runs about $125 online and in stores, while the Stewpot can be found for a very impressive $90.

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