Sell me on Le Creuset
There have been quite a few posts recently on Le Creuset dutch ovens and cookware in general. I'd love to know what it is about this particular line that is so appealing (other than the label and the colors-- I do love the colors). I use a fairly inexpensive Lodge dutch oven and it's great-- the dark surface browns food like nothing else. I'm not down on pricey pots and pans-- I do love my All-Clad saucepans. I'm just not sure what the benefits of enamel cookware are--it doesn't seem to wear that well (or maybe my mother just didn't care for hers properly). Do tell...
The only benefits of enamelled cast iron over cast iron is that it never rusts and doesn't have to be seasoned. If you have a well-seasoned cast iron pot, it won't rust and it'll be just as good as an enamelled pot. Some will claim that the enamel surface releases better so for frying eggs, say, it is as good as teflon. Again, if you have a well-seasoned cast iron skillet I don't see any reason to get an expensive LC pan.
I agree with the previous post. The only thing that I can add is that certain high acid food might react with cast iron but that doesn't seem to be a problem with you. Like you, I find cast iron brown food better than enamel. I have a few pieces of LC but only use the casserole and the oval for braising. I find the other pieces a bit clunky. LC are beautifully made and with all those colors but some of the popularity is dued their great marketing.
I have both Le Creuset and Lodge cast iron cookware, and have used both for 30 odd years. The LC is nice to bring to the table. I never could understand why my Mother got rid of her cast iron in her later years, but am beginning to catch on now, as arthritis begins to set in and the large dutch oven gets harder to shift when full . . .
I'd add that LC is (in my experience) a lot easier to clean and care for. As cheryl h says, it doesn't have to be seasoned--or re-seasoned--and when you're finished washing it (usually very easy with a nylon scrubber) you don't have to dry it to guard against rust.
I think I'm a bit lazy, but I find my LC to be really easy to cook with & clean. I have a cast iron pan, and I don't know if I've never seasoned it right or what, but it bugs the heck out of me. What I really like is looking at discount stores for LC stuff--sometimes scratched/chipped, but who cares when it's half off?
We have Marshall's out here (Seattle), but I'd bet places like SteinMart, TJ Maxx, etc would also have housewares. I have an LC dutch oven that I got at Marshall's for about $30--it has a scratch in the enamel, but I've used it for 2 years, and I figure I've more than gotten my money's worth!