Le Creuset: C'est Bon!
Written: Jan 13, 2002
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Even-cooking, idiot-proof, great warranty, gorgeous looking, easy to clean (dishwasher safe)
Cons:Very heavy, expensive
The Bottom Line: The Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven gets a two-thumbs up recommendation! It is easy-to-use, easy-to-clean, and will last a lifetime!
Due to my eminent graduation looming in the near future, my friends and family decided it would be appropriate to get me useful household items this year when Christmas rolled around. At first, it was a little disconcerting, unwrapping the shiny paper and colorful ribbons to find a Pyrex mixing cup or some wooden spoons, but there was nothing but excitement when I hefted the last enormous box into my lap and unwrapped my Le Creuset 5&1/2 quart Dutch [French] oven!
A Le Creuset product can come in a large variety of bright, crayola-style colors (red, flame, citrus, blue, jade, white, & black), but the one I'd put on my wishlist was black. Sleek, with its shiny ebony enamel, I was not disappointed with the look one bit. The inside of the pot is an offwhite/cream color, which allows you to better gauge the readiness of your food as well as the cleanliness of the pot itself. ;-)
In terms of construction, the pot is also very aesthetically pleasing. The lid is embossed with the Le Creuset logo, but its very subtle and looks professional instead of tacky. It fits well into the pot, and the one caveat here is that the edge (where the lid meets the pot) is not enamelized, so you have to be very careful about drying it before putting it away. The handles are small loops, which are perfect for my hands (which aren't small, but are quite thin) but may be problematic for large men with big, meaty fingers.
As I mentioned previously, Le Creuset comes in many different colors. However, you should know that they also come in different shapes and different sizes. The pot I received is a 5&1/2 Dutch oven, round in shape, but you can also purchase them in sizes ranging from 2 to 13 quarts in the round, and 3&1/2 to 9&1/2 in the oval.
Just recently my Beau and I decided to use my new Dutch oven for its designed purpose: to make chili!!! :) The recipe I chose was a new one - very little oil was involved, and the meat was low-fat. Not only that, but as a new cook, I knew that my inexperience was not in our favor. As such, I was slightly concerned about the food burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan, despite the claims of the manufacturer that at lower temperatures it was effectively non-stick.
So, slightly hesitantly, I began chopping my onions, peppers, and garlic while I allowed my Beau to put my new toy onto the stove top. My stove is a gas stove, but the porcelain enameled cast iron works with almost all heat sources: gas, electric, induction, and ceramic top ranges. That was a plus, especially as I'll be moving soon and I don't know what kind of oven I'll have in the new place.
Have no fear my friends, for our chili came out completely perfect! The onions, garlic, and peppers carmelized without turning black against the bottom, despite NO OIL! When I added the meat, tomatoes, and spices, only delicious aroma arose from my pot - smoke was not a problem. Additionally, the pot warmed evenly... there were no 'cold spots' where I had to move the meat to make it cook properly.
For the record, Le Creuset recommends that you use only wooden, plastic or heat resistant nylon tools, to avoid scratching the enamel. This wasn't a problem for me; most non-stick pans require the same, and I barely keep metal utensils around anymore. Still, it is worth noting that if you only want to use metal utensils, you may want to look for a different option.
Not only that, but cleanup was a snap. After consuming our fill of the chili (which was delicious) and transferring leftovers to a new container, we needed only to fill the pot with hot soapy water and wipe gently with a sponge. The only problem I can imagine one might have is transferring it from stove to sink if it was full: the pot is very heavy. Still, nothing stuck!! Again, you can't use abrasives on your pot (plastic or sponge scourers are okay), otherwise you'll scratch the enamel. Oh, and for those of you who have dishwashers, it's dishwasher safe!!!
When I was trying to decide which Dutch oven to ask for, I considered a few different brands. The new one by All-Clad, for example, is extremely slick looking, but I didn't want to have to deal with fingerprint maintenance. Having said this, I cannot tell you whether other brands are better or worse. I can only tell you that using my Le Creuset was a dream: it was idiot-proof, beautiful, and easy to clean. I have the convenience and reliability of their 101 Year No-Questions warranty, so if something happens, I can always get it fixed. I knew when I asked for it that this pot would last forever, and having used it, I'm thrilled that I'll have that long to break it in. :) So, if you're looking for a new dutch oven, and price isn't a problem, then this is the tool for you!
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