The “cocotte” (the French name for “casserole”) is perhaps the most popular piece of cookware made by Staub. Basically the cocotte is a French oven (or Dutch oven) that is made of enameled cast iron. This cooking vessel is ideal for recipes that require slow cooking like stews, soups, casseroles and roasted meats. It’s made in France following the advice of the famous chef Paul Bocuse.
This is one piece of cookware that you’ll end up using over and over again. Some of my most successful recipes and most complimented meals are made with this piece.
Why is enameled cast iron a great material for cookware?
The Staub cocotte is made of enameled cast iron. The interior has a black enamel finish that is scratch and chip resistant. It requires no seasoning, and over time the cooking oil will seep into the pores, making it a nonstick and self-seasoned surface. So, the more you’ll use it the better it will get.
Cast iron is a material that is reactive with certain acidic foods meaning that it discolors with use. The cocotte’s interior is coated in black enamel, preventing possible discolorations and staining. Some people don’t like cooking in pans that have a black interior, because they find it difficult to monitor food as it cooks. I don’t have a problem with that. I find that the cocotte’s black interior is great because you won’t see any stains appearing over time.
The exterior is an enameled ceramic finish resistant to chipping and rusting. Beware though the cocotte can chip if it hits hard surfaces. The cocotte is designed for oven or stovetop use (induction and convection included).
The handles and lid are made of cast iron as well, meaning they get hot. So beware! On the other hand because of that you can use it safely in the oven. Since it’s made of cast iron the cocotte is quite heavy (when compared to other brands). The reason for that is that Staub uses the best cast iron for making their cookware. So, I expect to pass my cocotte to my grandchildren.
Cast iron has exceptional heat retention properties. It takes some time for cast iron to heat up, but once the appropriate temperature is reached the vessel will retain it for quite a while. In my experience, it can keep a meal warm for an hour and even more. This is great, especially when you are cooking a lot of dishes or have guests, because the meals don’t have to be served right away.
This pan is great for braising, sautéeing and stewing. And if you are a casserole fan (like myself) you’ll find out that this French oven is the absolute best cooking vessel for making it.
The lid makes all the difference!
Since Dutch ovens are usually made of cast iron, the lid acts as a seal, preventing steam and food juices from escaping. Again, it all depends from the thickness of the cast iron that the vessel is made. This cocotte has a heavy, tight fitting lid. But there is a major difference in the Staub lid. The lid has self-basting spikes (little bumps) on the inside, allowing continuous and even heat distribution of the juices during cooking. Thanks to that, the food stays moist and full of flavors. So, you don’t have to worry that your meat will dry during cooking because the spikes will collect all the moist and do the basting for you. The juices are sent back to the food and not on the sides of the pot. It’s interesting that because of this special lid there is no loss of liquids during cooking.
So, the Staub lid is something that really makes this vessel stand out.
How to clean it?
Enameled cast iron is easier to maintain than bare cast iron. The cleaning of the cocotte is quite easy. Because it’s practically nonstick the pot needs no scrubbing. But, if some residues are left in the pot after cooking, don’t use abrasive detergents or sponges, but soak the pot for a couple of minutes and then clean it with a soft sponge and some mild detergent.
Although the cocotte is dishwasher safe it’s better to wash it by hand (it takes literally a minute to do it).
The colors, sizes…
One of the reasons I love Staub is their amazing choice of colors. The Staub cocotte is quite impressive and elegant, a piece you want to keep out in the open for everybody to see.
The typical Staub cocotte is round or oval, but there are many interesting shapes to choose from like the pumpkin cocotte, the mussel pot, the heart shaped or cow cocotte. The Staub cocotte has a variation called Coq au vin cocotte that has a rooster handle. The Coq au vin is perfect for poultry.
The Staub dutch oven comes in many different sizes, from the mini cocotte (0.25 quarts) to more capacious dimensions (12.75 quarts).
The Staub cocotte is manufactured in many beautiful and vibrant colors like: grenadine, cherry, basil, royal blue, lemon, titanium, black, white, aubergine, pesto, orange and grey. From this rich palette of colors you will certainly find the one that best fits your kitchen decor.
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