Le Creuset Dutch Ovens and Cast Iron Casseroles

The original, and perhaps the best item to buy from the Le Creuset range is one of their cast iron Dutch ovens, casseroles, French ovens, doufeu or Cocotte.  They are all pretty similar, and provide the most versatile way to get slow cooked dishes from stove to table in style!

Click for Amazon Price & Customer Reviews on Le Creuset Cookware

Or continue reading for our own verdict…

le creuset french oven

Though Le Creuset now produce a bewildering range of kitchen tools and cookware, personally I think their cast iron cookware is really where its at.  Their other products look great, but often face a lot of stiff, equally good quality competition from cheaper brands.  When it comes to enamelled cast iron however, Le Creuset is the name to trust, and indeed to invest in when the budget allows.

It is their cast iron cookware that is still made traditionally, and still lasts for generations, just like their original products did way back when.

Le Creuset French Oven Best Price

One of the things that puts many great cooks off investing in the Le Creuset casserole range is their rather hefty price tag.  But, if you are prepared to wait a while you can find some great deals available.  I have been looking at Amazon (you can view their entire range via the link above), and have been pleasantly surprised.  Firstly the prices quoted for these high quality pieces of cookware are generally significantly lower than the prices quoted by official Le Creuset retail outlets.  Secondly, the online retailer has regular promotions on the range, which can mean some great bargains for anyone investing in such a hefty Dutch oven or casserole.

Le Creuset Casserole Reviews

Well, sometimes it does seem that you really do get what you pay for.  The customer reviews for Le Creuset enamelled cast iron ware are second to none.  The vast majority of customers rate these French “Dutch Ovens” with 5 stars which is extremely good.

The results of using such high quality cookware are great.  Slow cooking is a joy.  The tight fitting lids ensure flavor and juices stay in your dish, and the ability to use on any stove, and in the oven is totally practical.  Remember though, for some reason all new Le Creuset Dutch ovens come with a heat resistant plastic knob on the top.  This means they’re great for not burning your hands when taking the lid off, but also means they will only safely go up to 350 degrees F, in the oven.  You can however buy stainless steel replacement knobs if need be.  It really shouldn’t be an issue though, since your casserole is used when cooking foods slowly and at medium to low temperatures rather than on high ones.

However, there are a few things to consider before investing in such cookware.

  • First of all, they are heavy.  Its part of their charm, and more importantly part of the reason why they heat up so well and so evenly.  But if your wrists are weak you really might be better off with something different.
  • These are hand finished, and made traditionally.  That means high quality, but it also means slight differences in texture and finish between items.  Personally I count this as a plus; a little bit of rustic charm is always welcome in My Shiny Kitchen.  But I know others find this kind of inconsistency infuriating when they want everything in the kitchen to match perfectly!
  • You do have to use, and wash these casseroles correctly to get the best results (and the longevity you deserve for the price).  If you cannot be bothered drying them, or avoiding metal spatulas you might find the finish doesn’t remain quite as flawless as when first bought.

The “issues” with enamelled cookware are pretty much the same with all quality brands.  Before you buy something that looks pretty you should consider its use and care, and whether you are willing to really look after your latest kitchen investment.

Remember that Le Creuset offer a lifetime guarantee on all their cast iron cookware, so you know the company believe the products are built to last, and I just happen to agree.  I know if we cannot find fault with one of their Le Creuset skillets, which has cooked far too many fried breakfasts in our Shiny Kitchen, their Dutch ovens, which are treated with a little more care should outlive a few generations at least!

Cooking With Le Creuset Cast Iron

Really cooking with enamelled cast iron is hardly a chore.  But you do need to use it right for the best results:

  1. Warm the pan gently for two or three minutes on a low heat before adding butter, liquid or oil.
  2. Use wooden, silicone or heat resistant nylon utensils to prevent damaging the enamel interior.
  3. If using on a halogen or ceramic stove top, don’t slide the casserole around.  The enamel bottom is smooth to the eye but will still have some unevenness that could potentially scratch smooth top stoves.
  4. Use low to medium temperature settings for the best results.
  5. Leave the pot to cool for ten minutes before washing, and never immerse a hot pan in cold water as thermal shock could damage the enamel finish.
  6. All cast iron cookware with metal or plastic handles is dishwasher safe, but hand-washing is recommended.
  7. Only use sponge or nylon scourers – never metal which could scratch the surface.
  8. Towel dry immediately after washing.

As you can see the care and use of Le Creuset cast iron Dutch ovens isn’t exactly difficult.  And, since the enamel inside is non-reactive and very high quality (and you’re generally using these for slow cooking) you should rarely find them particularly difficult to clean anyway.

 

About Kelly Rockwell