Dutch Ovens--Le C? Other? (longish)

nmemerAugust 29, 2007

Some of you may remember that I posted a few wedding registry questions awhile back. I'm now married (Aug. 18)!

One thing that nobody bought from our registry is the 5.5 qt. Le Creuset round "Dutch oven" type of pan. So...now I'm deciding if it's truly worth nearly $200. If it's really an awesome dish, I know we would use it a lot and it would be worth it. I'm a little concerned about enamel cracking but it sounds like that's mostly just with sudden temperature changes. Is there anything similar you think is just as good?

Side note: my mom still uses a heavy aluminum Dutch oven pot (no legs) that she's had her entire marrige. She uses it for soup, chili, stews, and just whatever. My grandma says that she prefers my mom's pan to the Le Creuset. Comments on that? I don't really see aluminum ones out there except for camping.


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I find cooking with Le Creuset very pleasurable. You might do a bit better than retail using ebay or an outlet store. Do be sure to check the freight charge, however, because the pots are very heavy.

Here is a link that might be useful: ebay

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 1:09PM
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Here's a thread about LC versus other similar brands.

I have a cheapo 'Well Equipped Kitchen' dutch oven which seems to work just fine; got it at TJ Maxx for about $40. For that price I'm willing to chance it. TJ Maxx often has Le Creuset seconds as well at very good prices. I got a small casserole with a flaw in the enamel of the outside of the lid. Won't affect its cooking properties at all.

Cooks Illustrated recently looked at these items and liked the one carried by Target; quite economical, but some posters here have said they haven't been able to find it at Target.

Now, get yourself a copy of 'All About Braising' by Molly Stevens and go to town.

Here is a link that might be useful: enameled cast iron thread

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 5:34PM
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I found an Olive & Thyme dutch oven at Marshall's for about $40 or $50. There was a small chip on the knob on the lid, but the few times I've used it it has done a great job. I haven't used it in the oven yet, but it's the wrong time of the year to have the oven on.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 1:06AM
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Enamaled cast iron only serves two functions, as compared to "raw" iron.

1. It is, to most people, more aesthetically pleasing.
2. It is, sometimes, slightly easier to clean.

What you have to ask yourself is whether those factors are worth the incredible price differences. If they are, then get the LeC or similar. If not, get a raw cast iron Dutch oven, season it properly, and pass it on to your grandchildren.

And congrats on the nuptials.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 9:39AM
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I love, love, love my Le Creuset. It cooks so well that I think it is worth the expense. Of course, I love the look of it too.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 1:35PM
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I agree with gardenlad about the utility of 'raw' cast iron; for less than fifty bucks you can have an item that your great grandchildren will use. There are lots of threads about the care of cast iron; do a search and you'll be inundated with advice.

The one advantage ECI has that he didn't mention is that ECI is very non-reactive. Raw cast iron can react with acidic substances, but as the seasoning gets better and better with time this becomes less of a problem.

Still, I use my raw cast iron Dutch oven for things like chili and slow-cooked meat braises; I use ECI for that sort of stuff as well, but also use ECI for tomatoey sauces and such.

For more info than any sane person needs on stovetop cookware, follow the link. Exhaustively complete, but definitely worth a read if you're just starting out setting up a kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: understanding stovetop cookware

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 9:00AM
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