The Le Creuset enameled cast iron ovens and casserole pieces have been specifically designed taking into account the flavors and technicalities involved in the cooking of a great casserole dish (or pretty much any dish!) and have been manufactured by the famous French brand, Le Creuset.
If you are looking for enameled cast iron cookware, then you absolutely need to review the Le Creuset enameled cast iron 5-quart Dutch oven as well as the smaller cousin, the 3.5 quart Dutch oven (also referred to as a braiser sometimes). After looking at quite a few products, these rate very high among both novices and experts in the kitchen. These products are actually a kind of cross between a dutch oven and a skillet, making it very versatile for a variety of cooking techniques.
I flat out LOVE this dutch oven! I use it in my own kitchen at least once a week. And I challenge ANYONE who uses it to tell me they don’t love it!
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Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Cookware
Why Use Enameled Cast Iron Cookware?
I just want to discuss real quick why cast iron is truly awesome for your kitchen, so if you know this already you can skip down to the next section
Firstly, it’s really a perfect conductor of heat. Cast iron heats very evenly and very consistent throughout the whole piece. If you ever used “cheap” cookware, you know that it can be difficult to cook properly if there are “hot spots” to your cookware or spots on the cookware that just don’t get very hot.
Normally the products are very high-quality and they last a lifetime! They can even last many lifetimes if taken care of properly.
Cast iron is also naturally ‘non-stick’. However, these beautiful pots are enameled so they are completely rust-proof and much easier to clean. Yet they keep all the wonderful qualities of cast iron!
They heat slow and cook nice and slow too, locking in the heat.
Features of Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Cookware
It’s a 5-quart dutch oven & made of enameled cast iron. If you want to buy only one enameled cast iron piece from Le Creuset I would recommend the 5-quart.
It has the most all-around uses. It’s also available in 3.5 quart and also a 7 and 1/4 quart French Oven.
Handles on the side that help easily carrying around the kitchen, and right from the oven or stove-top to the table
Lid fits very securely on the dish and has a phenolic knob. Because the lid fits so well, it does an amazing job of locking in heat as well as moisture.
It can be put in the dishwasher but hand washing is recommended.
Safe to be in the oven for up to 350 degrees F
Measurements are about 13″ by 16″ by 6″
Very easy to care for because you can in fact use the dishwasher for it, but most cooks will let it soak for a bit and the food should come off easily.
Able to go right from oven for cooking, to stove top for settling and cooling, and then table for serving.
Featured many times by Giada De Laurnetis and her cooking show on the Food Network.
What Can You Cook With It?
Short answer is anything! That’s why the Le Creuset oven is so popular, because of how versatile it is. Here are some of the things you can do with them, some of them done by myself as well as reviewers from popular websites like Amazon and Chowhound:
This piece is great for browning meat before putting in the oven. Because this product has lower sides and a good-sized surface at the bottom, it’s perfect for browning meats and then adding your seasonings, wine, veggies, etc and then let it simmer in the oven.
Big enough for a large sized casserole dish as well as a whole brisket and a cut-up chicken.
Obviously perfect for casseroles and stuff like mac and cheese and also cobblers. Can also be used as a saute’ pan.
You can fry chicken and even cook risotto in it. It will fit a medium sized roast as well, not to mentioned a small turkey and even a ham.
A Bit of History on Le Creuset
The company is based in France, and specializes in the manufacturing of French cookware. They are very much known and recognized for their very colorful enameled cast iron casseroles which the company likes to call Dutch Ovens or French Ovens.
The company was basically established by two industrialists from Belgium in 1925 in the French town of Fresnoy le Grand which is situated in the north of the country. The partners, Armand Desaegher who was a casting specialist and Octave Aubecq who was an enameling specialist, went on to introduce their signature line of products under the brand name of Le Crueset.
The company was initially involved in the manufacturing of round cocotte, also known as the French Oven, for which the company is still very famous for, and its casseroles are still a very popular choice amongst customers.
Construction & Product Features
These items, after being finished by hand, are sprayed with double coatings of enamel at a temperature of 800 C. This makes the enamel and the exterior resistant to any damage while being put to regular use in the kitchen.
The company still operates its facilities in the original location which is Fresnoy le Grand, where it ensures that all products go through a rigorous 12 step process passing through 15 different individuals employed for the purpose of ensuring that the resultant product is free of any defect and is flawless to meet the high quality criteria.
The Le Creuset enameled cast iron cookware has been designed using the same technology that has been used to manufacture previous products by Le Creuset, with a double coating of hard and colorful enamel, which ensures that your cooking experience is worth remembering and makes your cookware durable for use for the entire lifetime.
So the next time you have a dinner party at your place, please make sure that you cook and place your casserole on the table in this product.
This will not only add color to your table, but will ensure that the food inside remains hot throughout the meal.
The cast iron used to manufacture it ensures that the heat is retained and distributed evenly across the surface which makes it one of the best choices for being placed on various kinds of heating stove surfaces, and is a great option if you are interested in browning, braising, poaching or simmering your food.
The black colored phenolic knob on the lid has been designed to withstand temperatures of up to 400 degrees so it doesn’t get hot when it’s time to lift the lid. You can easily bake a casserole covered with cheese and have the surface browned if placed in a broiler after having the lid taken off. Moreover, the pot can also be utilized for marinating various kinds of meat in the refrigerator and for storage of all leftovers.
The interior with its enamel coating ensures that you will not suffer from any cracking in the inside of the pot, and there will be no staining. Please ensure that the utensils you use in the casserole pot are made of either silicone, nylon or wood to ensure the durability of the product.
The surface is non sticky, so you can rest assured that the food will not stick to the surface, making it easy for cleaning the entire cookware in a dishwasher or by your own self. The cast iron loop handles on the sides have been designed so as to assure that you are able to transport the entire pot very easily.
The lid fits perfectly to ensure that the heat inside remains locked and the food retains its flavor and moisture. The company recommends that you hand wash the product, and you can use it in temperatures of up to 350 F very easily.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Cookware Reviews
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Are there any drawbacks?
You cannot carve meat right in the dish because it would damage the enamel at the bottom. It’s also about 13 pounds with the lid, so when filled with food can be quite heavy to hold and carry.
We did see a couple of complaints around the web stating that the lid chipped or that food got stained onto the bottom of the dish. Well, when you abuse your product of course this stuff can happen. Just follow best practices when using this piece and you will have no troubles.
Is this product cheap? By no means is it cheap. But I can say it’s VERY affordable when you think about how long it will last, how often you will use it, and how happy you will make your friends and family when you serve food that you cook in it!
If you decide to grab this wonderful Le Creuset Dutch Oven you will be getting a top of the line piece of cookware as well as a solid product that will last for many lifetimes! And like I said, it may be a bit pricey but in my opinion it will WELL worth the money.