Le Creuset cookware
What is the secret of French cuisine? A nice Le Creuset cast iron pan!
Le Creuset enameled cast iron cookware
Le Creuset is a renowned French manufacturer of cookware. If you are into cooking, sooner or later you will want to get a Le Creuset piece. Cast iron has been used for making cooking vessels for centuries and even today is hard to find a material that is comparable in versatility, durability and heat retention.
At Le Creuset they say that the weight is their strength. And this is really true. Expect that you’ll need some muscle to lift your Le Creuset. On the other hand, the density of cast iron results in a piece of cookware that ensures even heating of the food and one that is capable of maintaining very high temperatures for cooking. Moreover, cast iron is capable of maintaining very high temperatures for cooking. Cast iron cookware is known for its energy efficiency, so once your pot is hot you will need a low to medium heat setting to do your cooking.
Cast iron is incomparable to other materials when it comes to heat retention. Because of that, the food can be kept hot for some considerable time when served at the table (in my experience even for an hour). Furthermore, you can remove a Le Creuset cooking vessel from direct heat, leaving the food to cook on the retained heat. So you can really save on your energy bill.
Forget hot spots
Because cast iron is such a dense and heavy material it keeps its shape when heated, maintaining a flat and steady cooking surface. The base, side walls and the lid have all the same thickness so there are no spots where heat can be lost.
The food cooks evenly, flavors and nutrients are well preserved and the right amount of moist is ensured by the tight fitting lid.
Adaptable to every hob, versatile for every recipe
Le Creuset enameled cast iron cookware can be used on all heat sources: ceramic, electric, gas, solid fuel, halogen or induction. Most pieces can be used in the oven or under the grill as well. So, when you change your cooking hob there is no need to change your piece of cookware.
If you have a piece with phenolic knobs and handles you must know that they are oven safe to 375°F / 190°C. The ones with cast iron handles and stainless steel knobs can be used at any oven temperature and under the broiler.
Le Creuset enameled cast iron has a large variety of pots, pans and dishes for all cooking methods: broiling, braising, grilling, sautéing, casseroling, baking and roasting. Their most popular pot, the French oven is ideal for making recipes that require gentle and slow cooking at low heat temperatures allowing that all the flavors from the ingredients are brought out. You can even use it to marinate, refrigerate and even freeze food.
The enamel surface is not ideal for dry cooking (except for the skillets, grills and roasters) but it’s great for raw or cooked food storage and for marinating with acidic ingredients (wine, vinegar,etc.).
The French ovens, braisers, saucepans and some other pieces have a smooth gloss finish interior in a sand color that doesn’t react with food meaning that no flavors or odors are going to be absorbed by the cooking vessel. It can get stained over time, but with a few tricks you can remove it.
The skillets, grills and woks have a black matte enamel interior that is better for high temperature cooking (and it doesn’t stain over time).
What piece to choose?
Le Creuset Enameled cast iron cookware has a wide selection of products. Here are the main categories:
- French Ovens: ideal for making almost any recipe. These versatile pieces are made of enameled cast iron, which ensures slow and even heat distribution. If you want to buy a Le Creuset cookware piece this should be the first one!
- Braisers: these pieces have a wide and shallow base, allowing maximum contact between the heat source and the food. They are perfect for recipes that require searing at high temperatures and then slow and even cooking.
- Specialty cookware: this line offers cookware for making authentic specialty dishes from around the world. This is where you are going to find woks, moroccan tagines, fondue, pate terrine, doufeu, goose pot, crepe pan, etc. This line consists of novelty pieces as well.
- Skillets and grills: ideal for frying, grilling and sautéing. These pieces have a satin black enamel interior which is great for everyday use (no discolorations from frying and grilling). The skillets and grills require no seasoning and they don’t absorb odors and flavors.
- Cookware sets: this line offers various combination of cookware, from the classic 6 piece to the essential 5 piece, depending if you need cookware for everyday use or for more substantial cooking chores.
- Saucepans: this line offers a wide range of saucepans that will satisfy your every cooking need; from just melting butter to making more sophisticated and complex sauces.
- Roasters: Le Creuset Roasters spread the heat evenly which is essential for roasting. The Roasters offer exceptional cooking performances.
Le Creuset is well known for the vibrant and modern colors of their cookware making them almost a piece of décor in your kitchen.
Some useful tips for care and use
Here are some tips that will ensure the best performance of Le Creuset cookware.
When cooking try to match the size of your vessel’s base to the heat zone in order to maximize energy efficiency and ensure proper heat dispersion;
Using a low to medium heat setting will ensure you the best cooking results (even for searing and frying). High heat settings should be used for boiling water and for reducing sauces;
In order to protect the surface of the cooking vessels use Le Creuset heat-resistant plastic, silicon or wooden utensils;
Before washing the vessel let it cool down. Avoid filling the hot pans with cold water because thermal shock may damage the enamel;
Hand wash it. Even though Le Creuset cookware is dishwasher safe, it is recommended to wash it by hand with soap and water, because repeated dishwashing may lead to dulling of the enamel finish;
Don’t use harsh abrasive cleaners or metallic pads or you will damage the enamel. If there are food residues, fill the vessel with warm water and leave it to soak for a couple of minutes (15 – 20 minutes) and then wash it in the usual way;
Always dry the pans after washing. Don’t drain dry or store away while damp;
Although Le Creuset enameled cast iron cookware is very durable it may be damaged if dropped on a hard surface.
Le Creuset cookware comes with a lifetime warranty.