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Dutch oven/braising cookware


forever_young_ca
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I am an experienced home cook, serious about cooking and wanting to buy good equipment - although I am not a professional chef by any means.

I am looking for a quality braising pan/dutch oven - something that I can use for browning on top of the stove and then put in the oven to bake for a couple of hours, then put back on top of the stove for thickening - for use with stews, casseroles etc. What would you suggest?

Currently I have a motley collection of saucepans - different favorites for different uses - some All Clad stainless steel saucepans & one All Clad non stick fry pan, a 30 year old enambled cast iron saute pan wedding gift and my grandmother's three cast iron fry pans.

However, I am missing a good dutch oven or braising pan. Help! Have been looking at Le Crueset or All Clad. :unsure:

Any suggestions are welcome

Life is short, eat dessert first

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You can go shallow or deep--that's up to you and what you want to do with it. I do this sort of thing in an 8 qt stockpot from Williams-Sonoma which was $50. I don't think you need to spend a lot for this piece; the Chefmate that people have been talking about sounds great. Le Creuset would also be a good choice. I'm an All-Clad fan, but they will charge you a fortune for a big pot, and it's not worth it.

Matthew Amster-Burton, aka "mamster"

Author, Hungry Monkey, coming in May

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I live in Canada (Vancouver) so I don't think I have access to the ChefMate that I have seen discussed.

Would prefer something deep rather than shallow I think. That is why I was thinking of a Dutch Oven style.

The reason that I am looking is my last attempt was in my 25 year old roasting pan which has worn very thin and the chicken cattiatore was saved just before the burnt stage - :blush: with company waiting in the dining room!

Was wondering about the weight of Le Crueset once a 4 1/2 qt or so if full of food. Perhaps I can skip the gym workout for that day!

Life is short, eat dessert first

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Mamster - I think f_y_c is looking for a shallower piece than a stockpot. All-Clad has called their Dutch Oven a stockpot for some time, but it has the demensions of a Dutch Oven; it's seven or eight quarts I believe. I saw at W-S that they now have one called a Dutch Oven that has a rounded bottom, perhaps smaller capacity, $210.

I think the Le Cruset 4 1/2 qt is a little under $200. And you are right, it will not be a light weight. I currently use well-seasoned cast iron, but want a 4 1/2 or 5 1/2 qt. Le Cruset, because the enamel will allow me to do more things in it.

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I don't think I want a rounded bottom (mine is already tooooooooo rounded - lol) :biggrin:

Actually, because I want to be able to brown in the dutch oven I think I would prefer to have a reguar bottom.

I think I will have a look at Le Crueset - 4/12 or 5/12 qt. I have heard of people getting great deals on these at yard sales/second hand stores, but I never seem to have that kind of luck. Will look for a sale perhaps.

Life is short, eat dessert first

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We had a good thread on Le Creuset French ovens (they call the French, not Dutch):

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?act=ST&f=3&t=11194

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'd get the Le Creuset, unless you're compulsive about trying to complete your All Clad line. Mine is an oval 5 qt. or so that I picked up at the Gilroy outlets for $80 a few years ago. It's pretty heavy even empty, but I like that solid kinda feel.

My only regret is the oval shape. On second thought, I'd get a round one. It's easier to stir in a steady rhythmic fashion with a round one. I use it to make risotto since it has the right kinda thickness to ensure even heating without burning. I also leave it simmering for hours for meat based stews/pasta sauces.

Edited by Wimpy (log)
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I made the argument for the oval shape on the other thread:

In terms of round versus oval I would be very much inclined towards the oval. As a round dutch oven user (mine is not Le Creuset, but that's not relevant to the discussion), my testimony is that more often than not I wish it had an oval shape instead. Most of the naturally occurring products that I have trouble with are long -- roasts, shanks, briskets -- whereas pretty much nothing you'd braise whole is going to be round. If they are the same number of quarts they will hold the same amount of stuff, yet there are more things the oval one will hold than there are things that the round one will hold. And like Tommy I don't buy the heat distribution argument -- you're talking about a very small difference in the measurements and the extremely heavy cast-iron should compensate anyway.

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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Le Cruset is VERY expensive, but worth every penny. I have an oval and a round pan and fine them both useful. However, I tried making veal osso buco in the oval and found I was only able to fit 4, so if you are looking for a larger, all purpose pan you should get the larger round pot.

But these pans are outstanding, very heavy, conduct heat very well I have a tough time getting things to stick to it.

Rumor has it that they are very easy to clean too.

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I love my Magnalite dutch oven and use it for soups, stews, braising and cooking (short ribs, coq au vin) at least once or twice a week. It's a little pricey but conducts heat beautifully and after 10+ years still looks great. You can view it here -- they call it an oval roaster.

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In terms of round versus oval I would be very much inclined towards the oval. As a round dutch oven user (mine is not Le Creuset, but that's not relevant to the discussion), my testimony is that more often than not I wish it had an oval shape instead. Most of the naturally occurring products that I have trouble with are long -- roasts, shanks, briskets -- whereas pretty much nothing you'd braise whole is going to be round. If they are the same number of quarts they will hold the same amount of stuff, yet there are more things the oval one will hold than there are things that the round one will hold.

if we compare the oval to the round, we see that they're not all that much different, as far as what they can hold.

we'll pick price point and capacity as a baseline:

7 quart round

$240 msrp

11.25 inches long

6.5 quart oval

$230 msrp

12.5 inches long

for these two particular products, there's really not that much of a difference in "length." it might simply come down to aesthetics and practicality of the shape when considering your over/stovetop space. i think i'd pick the heart shape if had it to do it all over again. :wub:

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Thanks guys - you have helped me alot. I am a new poster so my first experience here was great!

You have helped me make the decision to Le Crueset, I think. After 30+ years of cooking I guess it is time to treat myself.

The hardest decision is if I want my bottom rounded, oval or heart shaped! LOL :wub: , plus making myself wait until I can get a good sale!

Life is short, eat dessert first

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I saw a Kmart ad that Martha Stewart was now making/selling cast iron enamel dutch ovens through Kmart. I think for 20-40. I don't know if they have kmart in canada or if they are being sold there, but you might look online.

Also, which part of canada are you in? If eastern, I highly recommend checking out the Le Creuset outlets in Maine. I am sure that this time of year, you could get a great deal. Last summer, I got an 8 qt. stockpot for $70.

The merits of french ovens have been weighed in enough, but you couldn't get me to part with mine. I have a round one... it is like a trustworthy dog/baby sitter. You can leave it with your meats/soups/chilis and know that everything is okay. Mine takes a lot of use and shoving about into my oven...it's worth the investment. I think that Le Creuset cast iron enamel products are guaranteed for 100 years.

Edit: I payed 70 usd, not 0.

Edited by nerissa (log)
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Nerissa, I am from Vancouver, Canada - west coast, so the nearest Le Crueset factory outlet is in Oregon - alas. However, there are many stores selling Le Crueset so I am sure I can come up with some sort of deal.

Thanks Fat Guy for the tip on the previous thread. Reading it jogged my memory about handles that I did not like on a previous dutch oven. I will pay more attention to them on whatever purchase I make. I have seen the dutch/french ovens with the ice cube tops - does it really work?

I am going on the "hunt" this weekend. We have a local warehouse that sells quality kitchen equipment at discount prices, so I will check them out first, then look around at all the other usual places.

Life is short, eat dessert first

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What about "Chasseur" cast iron cook ware? Basically the same as Le Creuset, but cheaper and the colours are better. Also in regards to the saucepand and frying pans, the handles are still wooden, not that sucky plastic that Le Creuset has gone for in the last 2 years or so.

Chasseur

Plus, who has ever heard of Chicken "Le Creuset"?

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I have an oval Le Cruset, and I love it. I took all of my mother's and grandmother's Le Crusets because they were too heavy for them. A friend too just had an apartment sale and was selling them for $10 to $20, so do try to keep an eye on yard sales etc..

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I'll add to the confusion by making a pitch for a plain cast iron 'Dutch' oven. I have a couple and use them for both stove top and oven braising. They work great, are easier to clean than enameled cast iron (and don't chip), and are much cheaper.

Jim

olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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They work great, are easier to clean than enameled cast iron (and don't chip), and are much cheaper.

enameled cast iron like the le creuset? if so, no way. le creuset is effortless to keep clean. not that cast iron isn't, but i don't think there's a disparity.

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They work great, are easier to clean than enameled cast iron (and don't chip), and are much cheaper.

enameled cast iron like the le creuset? if so, no way. le creuset is effortless to keep clean. not that cast iron isn't, but i don't think there's a disparity.

And you can put in the dishwasher.

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I like the plain cast iron, too, but they do have limitations. You can't do a long simmering tomato based soup or chili in them without damaging the seasoning and imparting a metllic taste to your food.

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