Braising is one of those tasks that most home chefs won’t do all that often. But, when you do, it can be pretty frustrating if you’re stuck with a bunch of average pots and pans. Sure, you can make do with a large pot, but it just won’t work very well. Braising requires some space, especially since you’re probably going to be working with a pretty large quantity of meats and vegetables. You want even cooking, something oven safe, and pretty big handles to allow you to actually get a secure grip on the pan.
Thankfully, the Le Creuset Signature 5 Quart Braiser meets all of those criteria, and even better, comes in a variety of nice colors. Ours was cherry red, but their entire palette is available, including fennel, the classic flame, cassis, indigo, dijon, and a lovely shade of blue that they call Marseille. As always, their cast iron is excellent- the exterior enamel coating is chip-resistant, and the interior is a nice shade that allows you to easily check on your food as it cooks. We’ve checked out gifts large and small, and keep in mind that their excellence goes beyond cast iron, as we also recommend their stainless steel cookware.
We loved that the pan was dishwasher safe, and works with any cooking surface- electric, gas, as well as induction. Made in France, Le Creuset is always a bit spendy, but in our experience, outlasts other brands and is worth the price. And it always looks classy- even the new black composite knob adds a touch of modernity to a classic design. Not everyone will need a braiser, and perhaps not one this large, which is why other sizes are available as well. Some have asked about the Signature label, which is a collection with a few extra details, like tighter-fitting lids and large handles, as well as easier-to-clean interior enamel. We love this pan, and now just need to find more things to braise! Available online and in stores for around $280.