All Clad Braiser - should I keep?
I received an all clad braiser (the 13" from Williams Sonoma) for my wedding. I think I'd rather have a dutch oven (seems more versatile). Is there any advantage to having a SS braiser v. a cast iron? Thanks for your help!
Your assessment is correct. If you don't have a Dutch oven, exchange it because you can certainly braise in a Dutch oven. You can also make soup, boil pasta, etc. in the Dutch oven, which you can't easily do in the braiser because it is somewhat shallow. Check out the LeCreuset Dutch ovens (round) before just automatically picking up an All Clad replacement while you are at Williams Sonoma. Your preference should depend upon what you like to cook. The braiser is a great pot to have when you already have the basics, and enables you to cook things like veal and beef stew just a bit more quickly because of its shape. You can always buy one later on if you think you need it.
I've had one of these braisers since they first came out and they work great. Now, I also have a LC dutch oven but find that I use both, just depends on how I feel. Plus, it seems to be a lot easier to brown the meat in the All-Clad. Granted, it's not as deep as a dutch oven but I've done lamb shanks, short ribs and stews in the All-Clad and they've all come out delicious. If it were me, I'd keep the braiser.
I love that braiser, but have both that and a dutch oven. I use the braiser both for some braising dishes, but also as a second saute pan, and for any dish that I am going to start on the stove and finish in the oven (because of the small handles, you can center it in the oven). That said, I also love my dutch oven for saucier braises, stews, and sauces. I really wouldn't want to give either one up.
I've had that same braiser for several years and have used it frequently with excellent results, both as a braiser (lid on) and as a shallow roasting pan/baking dish (lid off). I'll suggest you consider keeping the braiser and getting that $40 dutch oven at Target, which is a very good pot and a sensational bargain.
It sure is a beautiful pan, isn't it. Whenever I see it I want it, but then I try to think of what I need it for and there's nothing that my other pans can't handle.
But if I were picking out my *only* pot and the choice was braiser or dutch oven, I'd definitely go for the braiser. Most breakfasts and lunches seem like they'd be pretty cumbersome in a dutch oven.