Trying Le Crueset?

velodougFebruary 12, 2005

We are slowly replacing our old Revereware and Farberware. The next item on the program was to be another All-Clad saucepan. We already have a MC (not MC2) saucepan and stockpot. Fortunately, we saw and handled the MC2 saucepans at Wegmans before we ordered one. Neither of us liked the new handles at all. That's the end of All-Clad for us. Immediately across the aisle was a big display of Le Creuset. I've long admired it for the appearance but I never handled any pieces until this. It feels just as nice as it looks. Our first piece of All-Clad was a 1-1/2 qt saucepan that we use almost every day. What would be a good starter piece of Le Creuset to give us a feel for its capabilities?

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lindac

My fave is a Dutch oven....but the covered 1 qt sauce pan is pretty nifty...as are the gratin pans or bakers.
All depends on how you cook.
Linda C

    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 7:38PM
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blazedog

A Dutch oven is really the only type of Le Creusel that makes sense since it takes advantage of its ability to provide slow even heat.

FWIW, Cooks Illustrated ranks Le Creuset's Dutch Oven below All Clad's -- and it is heavy as heck, especially when filled.

They also did an interesting test of skillets -- sent them out to professional chefs who uniformly hated the Le Creuset because it was too heavy for comfortable use in a kitchen. The All Clad was ranked number 1 again.

I brought home a Le Creuset a few weeks ago and returned it. Way too heavy for me to comfortable used -- and that was without several pounds of soup or other food in there especially since it wasn't the most highly rated.

But again, the only piece of Le Creuset that is fairly uniformly accepted are the Dutch ovens of various sizes for slow braising and cooking of beans and such.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2005 at 7:41PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I like the different shaped pots such as the tomato, pumpkin, apple...I have several and they are just right for hot dips, rice, small pot of soup..
You can get them brand new for about fifty bucks off ebay.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2005 at 7:01PM
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teresa_nc7

The 3.5 qt. Le Creuset dutch oven is a good size for a one to four person household. I use mine all the and it's just me now. Maybe the 4.5 size if you have a larger family.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 7:33AM
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kiwimanor

Whatever you decide to try, check out Caplan Duval before you buy. They're having what I think is a great sale.

Here is a link that might be useful: Le Creuset sale at CD

    Bookmark   February 14, 2005 at 9:47AM
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English8

I concur with the Dutch oven response. I LOVE both of mine. As for the skillet issue, yes it is heavy and line cooks would dislikeit since they are constantly tending multiple pans for 6-8 hours a day, but for the home cook, I like the even heat and that things stay warm in the skillet after the heat is switched off and the skillet is brought to table. The weight IS troublesome, but there are payoffs. (Also, I wonder if my forearms are more toned as a result of my Le Crueset workouts? Who knows.)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 4:15PM
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cstlouis

Yes, the Ovens are heavy, BUT... I love the fact that I can brown a roast in the same pan that I roast it in. Due to the heaviness of the cast iron, you get such a good seal, that the flavor is locked in and your meats cook so evenly. I LOVE my Le Creuset oven!!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 8:37PM
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blazedog

Cookware is a personal thing obviously. My point is that objectively the All Clad Dutch ovens and skillets performed better than the Le Creuset in terms of searing and even heat etc., going from stove top to oven and were MORE FUNCTIONAL because they weren't as heavy -- at least per Cooks Illustrated which is a respected objective testing organization.

Le Creuset stuff isn't bad -- just godawful heavy especially since you can get as good or better results with stuff that doesn't require arms of steel to use :) I found the Le Creuset stuff unpleasantly heavy to work with and since it doesn't appear to provide any benefit, there's no reason to use -- at least for me.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 10:37AM
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blondelle

The website eGullet has recently done several braising experiments where they tested All-Clad and Le Creuset under the same exact conditions with the same meat. The concensus was that the meat was more tender and flavorful cooked in the Le Creuset than the All-Clad. The meat got up to temperature faster in the LC, and was better tasting. The meat done in the AC was drier and stringier. For just browning the AC might win, but for browning and then braising in the same pot, definitely LC was the way to go!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 6:50PM
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rose2273

I, too, am thinking of beginning to collect Le Crueset cookware. Can anyone tell me if it can be placed in the dishwasher? I thought I read here that it could be but just saw something about that possibly causing rust along the edge. I love, love, love the way it looks and really even love the weightiness of it but I desperately want something to go in the dishwasher after dealing with non stick pans that must be washed by hand. Has anyone cleaned theirs in the dishwasher over a period of time and noticed, or hopefully, not noticed any problems? Thanks so much. Rose

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 8:17PM
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leel

Mine are 30 yrs old, and go into the dishwasher. I've never been particularly aware of the weight, but I work out. The cooked results are wonderful.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 10:42PM
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rose2273

leel, have you been putting them in the dishwasher for all that time? If so that is great! Can all of them be put in the dishwasher as far as you know? I know the ones with wooden handles shouldn't and I would not do that. But I know there are ones with white enamel on the inside and ones with matte black on the internal surface. I just don't want to spend so much money and be disappointed. Thanks for your response.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 11:05PM
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Wetlands

I love my Le Crueset dutch ovens and casseroles. Be advised though, for those as inexperiences as I was when I started buying cookware...a cool looking cast iron wok that matches your other cookware isn't necessarily the best choice:)

I use my Members Mark Tri-Clad sauce pans and skillets(similar construction to All-Clad stainless for 120 dollars a set at Sam's Club), even though I own two Le Crueset skillets. I just like their responsiveness better. I use a carbon steel wok that was a tenth of the price of my Le Crueset one and ten times as effective for its purpose(ok, it's ugly but it works so danged well:). Also picked up a Calphalon non-stick pan for eggs and such, what a treat.

I've dabbled in cooking for years but am a relative neophyte to real cooking, so read the above with that in mind.

Wetlands

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 6:26PM
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Lynne_SJO

I have huge sets of both AC stainless and Le Creuset. (AC = 18 pieces; Le Creuset about 12 pieces last time I looked!). I use both, but I prefer the Le Creuset for anything that is going to be slow cooked and served at the table (as opposed to pre-plating) because everything stays really hot for as long as 30 minutes minimum. Not true with AC, where things get cold in minutes. I use the Le Creuset for rice (3-4 times a week) and for soups and stews and lasagne.

Lynne

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 6:32PM
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velodoug

Our "good" cookware at this point comprises a 1.5 quart All-Clad saucepan, an 8 quart All-Clad stew pot, three cast iron skillets, two cast iron stew pots, two cast iron griddles and a French carbon steel omelet pan. We use all of them a LOT.

We also have a couple of disintegrating cheap non-stick skillets, a badly warped big Farberware sauté pan, a couple of dime store stainless saucepans and a non-stick wok that refuses to brown meat. Unfortunately, we have to use them a LOT too.

What I'd like to do as finances permit is replace the Farberware sauté pan, the dime store saucepans and the wok, and add a smaller non-reactive stew pot (Le Creuset?) and a non-reactive covered sauté pan or skillet about 10" in diameter. The wok will be the cheapest to replace, so it will probably be first.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 6:51PM
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Deanna Goldberg

I've been collecting enamel-on-cast-iron LC knockoffs sold under various lesser-known brands - which so far seem every bit as good as my LC pieces (if not better), but at a fraction of the price.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 10:10PM
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steve_o

I, too, have put my enameled-interior LC in the dishwasher and have not encountered any rust problems. I have a roaster with the black matte interior that I do not put in the dishwasher; I just find it easier to clean that once by hand than to wash it in the dishwasher and then wash by hand to get the little bits off the matte finish.

But, honestly, I don't often put my LC in the dishwasher. After use, I fill the pot with water and a bit of dish soap, let it soak a day or two (how busy am I?) and find that it almost always rinses near clean, with very little scrubbing required.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 10:40AM
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tanders

I love my Le Creuset, even thought they are heavy. I'd start out with a 6 or 8 quart dutch oven and see what you think. I had just bought a big set of All-Clad when I tried my first Le Creuset round dutch oven (8-quart, in fact!). After I used the Le Creuset, I was kind of sorry I bought the All-Clad, although in hindsight, I'm glad I have both--each set is useful for cooking different things.

The weight of the Le Creuset doesn't bother me, and I put mine in my dishwasher all the time. If the lids start to get rust on the edge, I just rub the edge with olive oil every few washings. I love them, and it helps that I have a Le Creuset outlet about 1/2 hour away. I'm always finding great deals there.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2005 at 8:12PM
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sdtriplets

For my birthday my mom is buying me a Le Crueset dutch oven. I have a family of five, I plan on cooking stews, whole chickens, and roasts in the dutch oven. Which size would you suggest I get, also, should I get the round one or the oval one?

Thanks, SDTRIPS

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 10:18PM
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steve_o

sdtrips, there are a few things to consider. The oval oven certainly will give you additional capacity over the round one. But it is heavier, especially once you fill it with, say, a roast and potatoes and carrots. You'd want to be sure you're comfortable moving a heavy dish like that using potholders. Also, oval will not work well on most rangetops because it will be wider than the burner at two points -- not the best way to apply heat (though with cast iron this is less of an issue and if you don't use it atop your stove, it's a non-issue).

I'd go for something around 6 quarts, myself, but I'd make sure you lifted one full of water (if nothing else) before you decide.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2005 at 2:52PM
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mimi856

I got 2 3 1/2 dutch ovens at TJMAXX for DIRT CHEAP! Like 38.00. LOVE THEM One is oval, one is round. BUT> they are HEAVY! But, like that other person said...I work it out.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 1:42PM
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cloudy_christine

The 5-qt. oval Dutch oven. I'd never be without one.
Now what I wish were available is old Farberware! Before they changed the handles.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2005 at 10:25AM
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