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The under-appreciated rondeau


Fat Guy
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I've seen this piece of cookware called by a few names. Rondeau seems to be what they call it in the culinary schools (see, e.g., the CIA's 7-Ply Clad Copper 6 Quart Rondeau). I've also seen it called a "soup pot," "short stock pot," and "sauce pot," as well as a Dutch oven or insert-nationality-here oven.

What I'm talking about is an approximately 6-7 quart pot with two loop handles, which is maybe 4-5 inches tall and 10-11 inches across, though there are also larger and smaller ones, made of stainless steel or anodized aluminum or a clad material or something else, but not cast iron or enameled cast iron. With a lid.

This is the most used pot in my kitchen, yet I hear very little talk about such pots. I actually have two of them, and on many days you'll find those are the two pots I'm using to prepare dinner. They go from the stovetop to the oven and back again and are very versatile. As the CIA says:

The lower, straight sides and ergonomically designed handles make it an excellent choice for 3-step cooking such as braised short ribs or osso buco that starts on the stove top, moves to the oven and then finishes back on the stove top.

It's also a useful pot for cooking smaller quantities of pasta, like ravioli, where you can get by with a gallon of water. It's great for cooking beans, soup, sauce, stew, steak . . . pretty much anything that can fit in it. You can fry, roast, braise, poach, whatever. Even when it comes to classic braising, I actually prefer my rondeaus to a Le Creuset, Staub or equivalent pot because mine have tempered glass lids. So I can check on the food without lifting the lid.

Who will join me in giving credit to the rondeau for being a great piece of cooking equipment?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I have a 12.5" tin lined heavy copper rondeau that holds around 10 quarts, and I agree that it's a very handy thing. I can braise a whole pork shoulder in it with the cover on, make a double batch of braised shortribs and freeze half of them, or use it to saute four or five pounds of onions for onion confit (or maybe more, but that's how much I usually do). It's also a handy shape for boiling bagels before baking.

Actually the dish I did this weekend with the pork shoulder started with a two hour stovetop braise like a Philippine style adobo, and then a slow roast all day with the cover off as for pulled pork, then I shredded the whole pork shoulder, cooled it in an ice bath, reheated in the morning to reduce the sauce further, cooled again, than reheated again and served it at dinner. It's one of those things that's better on the third day, so I figured I would make it in advance and start eating it on the third reheating. The rondeau was perfect from stovetop to oven to fridge to table.

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If you could only have one pan, I think the rondeau would be it. You can sauté, braise, make sauce, make soup, roast (ok, not so well), poach, blanch, make pasta ...

I've never owned a straight-sided sauté pan. For most of its uses I like either a slope-sided fry pan or a rondeau.

Notes from the underbelly

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Thank you both for your support on this issue. So why in the world isn't this pot more popular? You don't need to be an advanced cook to utilize it. It shouldn't cost any more to make than any other pot. It's far more useful and versatile than a "saute pan" (in which it's virtually impossible to saute anything). I'm particularly puzzled by why the saute pan is so much more popular than the rondeau.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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. . .  I'm particularly puzzled by why the saute pan is so much more popular than the rondeau.

Well, there's the fact that on the Food Network, sautes probably outnumber rondeaus (rondeaux?) by roughtly seven-to-one, so that's the model people follow.

However, for me, it's the handles. A saute pan is more controllable, and lets me maneuver the pan without getting my hand too close to the heat. It can do almost anything a rondeau can except pasta. It takes up less space on the pot rack and in the dishwasher.

None of that is to say that the rondeau is not a great piece of cooking equipment. There's almost always one on my cooktop for some reason or other. It's just not my go-to vessel.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Maybe people like the familiarity of the long handle on a saute pan.

I have 10" and 12" hammered copper saute pans similar in design to the rondeau, except not as deep, and with a single long handle, rather than two loop handles. I can toss the contents of the 10" usually with one hand or two and the 12" with two hands, but a single long handle on the 12.5" rondeau would be unmanageable, so I choose among them based on how big a pan I need and whether it needs to go into the oven.

The 12" saute pan is good for braising a whole chicken or duck on the stovetop. One attraction of the even heat distribution of heavy copper for this is that stovetop braising is more like oven braising.

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Thank you both for your support on this issue. So why in the world isn't this pot more popular? You don't need to be an advanced cook to utilize it. It shouldn't cost any more to make than any other pot. It's far more useful and versatile than a "saute pan" (in which it's virtually impossible to saute anything). I'm particularly puzzled by why the saute pan is so much more popular than the rondeau.

Possibly because the saute pan is what more of us believe we have in our kitchens.

I think the nomenclature is kind of interesting - for instance, I have a 6 qt. All-Clad MC (not the MC2 line, so I don't know if it's made anymore) soup pot - I suppose it could be a rondeau. It's not a stock pot, yet it's probably a little taller than a true rondeau.

When I worked in a restaurant kitchen, all I recall is that the rondeau was HUGE and weighed a lot. And we never used it to cook briskets or lamb shanks - those were done in covered roasters. It was used, however, for large batches of various sauces and things like caponata.

And can it really NOT be called a rondeau if it's enameled cast iron?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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David, if your avatar is a picture of a rondeau, it looks a lot different from what Fat Guy is describing.

The avatar is a 9.5x9.5" stockpot. The photo of the brisket is in a 12.5x5" rondeau, but maybe the vertical crop and the high camera angle makes it look a bit distorted. More photos on this blog entry--

http://familyoffood.blogspot.com/2008/01/j...-soul-food.html

Different crops, but they're all from the same camera angle.

This is the pot in question (and no, I didn't pay that much for it)--

http://www.buycoppercookware.com/product_i...products_id=246

Edited by David A. Goldfarb (log)
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It is about the same size as one of my Bourgeat "Casserole" pans and slightly deeper than my Bourgeat Saute Brazier. I use both for very similar purposes. These two, the latter 5 1/4 quarts and the former, 5 3/4 quarts are a very handy size and the loop handles allow them to fit into my small oven better than the regular saute pan with the long handle - has the same capacity (5 1/4 quarts).

I also have another which is in between these two, also copper and "made in France" stamped on it but no maker's name. It is not quite as heavy and has smaller brass handles which are a bit more awkward for me so I don't use it as much as the others.

This particular size is just about perfect for braising, the lids fit snugly and meats browned on the stovetop, prior to going into the oven, develop a beautiful fond.

Casserole: gallery_17399_60_151342.jpg

Saute/brazier: gallery_17399_60_59097.jpg

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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When I worked in a restaurant kitchen, all I recall is that the rondeau was HUGE and weighed a lot.

Yes, in commercial kitchens the rondeaus are often massive. I recently was asked to dump out the water in one, so I went to grab it and chef was like, "Woah, you need another guy to help!" I didn't think I needed another guy but I obeyed. I'm glad I did because full of boiling water that thing was too heavy even for two guys to carry safely. But the rondeaus available for home kitchens tend to run in the 6-quart range, so they're pretty manageable -- unless they happen to be made of case iron, in which case they're more difficult to manipulate.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I've been a huge champion of the rondeau since my eGCI class back in 2003:

Quote

Rondeau (Braiser, Casserole, Low Casserole): This is a low, wide, double-handled pan. The sides are right around one-third as tall as the diameter of the pan. This can be a very versatile pan for tasks as diverse as browning bones to poaching delicate meats and fishes. The lack of a long handle means it won’t take up much stovetop real estate, and it goes easily from stovetop to oven. The two major variants (not that all manufacturers stick to the same nomenclature) are the Casserole and the Low Casserole, which have sides that tend to be higher or lower than those of a Rondeau. A Casserole is essentially a large saucepan with two loop handles instead of one long handle, while a Low Casserole is essentially a sauté pan with two loop handles instead of one long handle. Another variant on this theme is the high end Paella Pan, such as those manufactured by Sitram and Paderno, which has deep curved sides and a thick conductive base.


The "rondeau versus sauté pan" question is an interesting one. Very few home cooks actually sauté, and most of the things they would like to do are better executed in either a frypan, rondeau or large curved sauteuse evasée. Notwithstanding this fact, it is also the case that most home cooks purchase cookware based on looks rather than out of any meaningful matching of their cooking needs with the functional characteristics of individual pieces of cookware. What this means is that lots of home cooks have a sauté pan because they want a sauté pan. It's as simple as that. It's for the same reason that lots of home cooks have a gigantic Le Creuset enameled cast iron casserole. Most of these would be better served trading both the sauté pan and the enameled cast iron casserole for a large rondeau made out of heavy gauge stainless steel with a thick aluminum base. On the other hand, if you already have that sauté pan and big Le Creuset, there's probably not much need for a rondeau. Edited by slkinsey (log)

--

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After surveying the pots and pans hanging from the ceiling in my big pantry, I discovered two more.

The bottom one is a Calphalon 8 1/2 quart and is one of the original anodized aluminum that I have owned for at least 22 years having bought it prior to my move to this home.

There is also a Calphalon copper one - second from top - which someone gave me a few years ago and it also has stainless steel interior and is much lighter in weight than the others and has a brushed finish.

There is also a much larger copper one with tin lining which is too heavy for me to lift from the upper shelf where it is stored. The cabinet is 24 inches deep and the handles just clear the door so it is pretty big.

It is so big it will not fit on my current stovetop and hasn't been used since I sold my old house that included my big old Garland range. Offhand I can't recall how long I have had it, I may have inherited it but it has been around as long as I can remember. I do recall that I had it re-tinned about thirty years ago and at the time it cost 150.00 for the process. I shudder to think what it would cost now. :blink:

All of these are less than 5 inches high - the Calphalon is 4 3/4 inches tall.

gallery_17399_60_3982.jpg

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I'm a big fan too. We have 3 large ones at work -- used mostly for frying onions. The 3 will handle 100+ lbs. of onions at a time. They're also the perfect pot for matzo balls and I like to do pureed soups in them -- cook them up and puree with an immersion blender right in the pot.

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I most often use the Calphalon as a bain marie for baking cheesecakes and custards as it is easier to lift it from the oven without spilling the hot water. It is also just deep enough to keep the convection fan from producing ripples on the surface of the custards, etc.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have an All-Clad 8qt "stock pot". The pot is about 12" wide by 6.5" tall. I always knew this wasn't a great pot for making stock, hence the quotes. I have a proper stock pot for making stock.

When I first read this thread, I was confused about the difference between my pot and a Rondeau. But now that I reread Sam's lesson, I see where my pot fits in. All-Clad's stainless steel line doesn't have a "Rondeau," but it has both a 3qt and a 4qt casserole (the diameter on these is roughly twice the height, as with my "stock pot").

I agree with Fat Guy that this pot really is great. It is clearly the most useful pot I own, but since I also have a saute pan and Staub French Oven, the "stock pot" gets used less than it could be.

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While a rondeau can be used for sautéing, a sauté pan has a long straight handle, which I believe makes it more effective in actually sautéing than a rondeau would.

Personally, I have three rondeau pans, though the only time I would sauté in one of them is if I was building flavors (fond) for which I would continue to use the same rondeau in the cooking process. Otherwise I would use a sauté pan, as a sauté pan offers slanted sides and a long handle to save my hands from being burned.

And while we’re throwing around fancy French terminology, I believe the “correct” French term for a stock pot is marmite

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I have an All-Clad 8qt "stock pot". The pot is about 12" wide by 6.5" tall. I always knew this wasn't a great pot for making stock, hence the quotes. I have a proper stock pot for making stock.

All-Clad has always gone their own way when it comes to naming their various pieces of cookware. Even within a given All-Clad category, the geometry of the pan can change.

--

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I think the rondeau actually IS a popular pan. The name just isn't so popular. Most people who have one call it something else, if they call it anything at all.

Mine is an old calphalon ... 5qt with 4" or so sides. I don't remember what the company called it in the catalog. Nothing Frenchy sounding.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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I think the rondeau actually IS a popular pan. The name just isn't so popular. Most people who have one call it something else, if they call it anything at all.

Mine is an old calphalon ... 5qt with 4" or so sides. I don't remember what the company called it in the catalog. Nothing Frenchy sounding.

Is that the one with the heavy cover that can be used as a roaster or paella pan? My father has one of those, and it's a great pot. He used to use the cover for making deep dish pizzas.

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. . . .

Very few home cooks actually sauté, and most of the things they would like to do are better executed in either a frypan, rondeau or large curved sauteuse evasée.  Notwithstanding this fact . . .

Without for a second impugning the very valuable "Understanding Stovetop Cookware" course, this is not a fact; it's an opinion. I suspect the conjecture about true sauteeing is correct (my opinion), but the rest is questionable. It depends on what one cooks and how one cooks it. The rim-to-bottom ratio of a frypan is inefficient for shallow frying (I'd also assert that a frypan is a better vessel for sauteeing than a saute pan, anyway); the sides of a rondeau (likewise most sautee evassees) are too high for easy turning of fried items. Saute pans come with lids; frypans don't. To each his own.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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Mine is an old calphalon ... 5qt with 4" or so sides. I don't remember what the company called it in the catalog. Nothing Frenchy sounding.

Some forensic investigation via Google reveals that when I purchased my pots Calphalon was using the name "saucier" for this piece. Later an almost identical pot was given the less Frenchy sounding name "chili pot." The same investigation reveals that my pots are probably 5, not 6 quarts. I've never actually measured, though. Maybe I will some day.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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P.S. Love the marketing mumbo-jumbo on the chili pot: "The bold, fiery flavors that make chili so good are easier than ever to attain."

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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