Old fashion cast iron vs. enamel dutch oven
Planning on making a dutch oven purchase. There are the tradional cast iron ovens with no enamel and obviously the higher priced enamel coated versions. Why purchase an enamel over a old fashioned un-coated cast iron? Is there a value in the cooking or just ease of cleaning? Would love all opinions, will help my purchase process....
The advantages of enameled cast iron are ease of cleaning, no need to season and, biggest thing in my mind, its non-reactivity which means that its well suited for tomato based things like some chilis, soups, sauces, etc. Regular, un-coated, cast iron can react with acids especially tomatoes.
Once it is properly seasoned, non-enameled cast iron is a breeze to clean. The seasoning also protects against mild tomato sauces. While I wouldn't use such a DO for day-long cooking of a pasta sauce, a soup or chili with a modest amount of tomato shouldn't be a problem (but then I tend not to use tomato in my chili).
While I have examined costly enamel DOs I suspect, price for price, a regular cast iron DO will be thicker. The thinner pan is more likely to develop hot spots. In the oven that doesn't matter, but for high-temperature pan searing, a well seasoned cast iron is hard to beat.
Another thing to pay attention to is the lid. For slow cooking in the oven, you want a good fit.
I cook tomato sauces and chili and lentil soup with a tomato base in my cast iron pot....not big down side that I can see.