What to do with a big oval cocotte?
I just moved to LA from Paris and have been conditioned to function with a tiny kitchen and minimal cookware. I'm happy to be have a well equipped kitchen in my new place, but I am a little overwhelmed. Then, for Christmas, I received a big oval cocotte (an enamel one from Le Creuset) for Christmas. It is the nicest (and largest) piece of cookware I've ever owned, but I have no idea what to make in it. Huge cuts of meat? Entire racks of lamb? A bird? Any pointers/recipes/links welcome. Also, any tips for care...
I use mine for osso buco, stewed lamb and beef shanks, coq au vin, beef stew, chicken cacciatore, etc. Excellent for long, slow, moist cooking. If you have gas, you can even use it stovetop if something else is in the oven.
For a cleanser on stubborn food stains, try 'Bon Ami', a feldspar-based, gentle non-scratching cleanser. It has no chlorine bleach, either. Soak any badly stuck-on food in water with a bit of baking soda, then scrub with Bon Ami. Cleans easily. Dry thoroughly with a cloth before storing. I also put mine into a warm 170 oven for about 10 minutes to get all the moisture from the non-enameled bottom.
Any stew. Long-baked dishes like cassoulet and choucroute garni. Large cuts of meat (e.g. shank or even leg of lamb -- there's no better vessel for the famous *gigot sept heures*) and even whole beasts (entire rabbits, 1 or 2 guinea hens, etc.). Long vegetables (braised celery, leeks).
Care is minimal. Use only non-metal utensils and non-abrasive cleaners to avoid scratching the enamel.