I have two pieces (a 5 quart dutch oven and a skillet). I liked the dutch oven and bought one for my mom for Christmas (thanks to a great EBay deal). In so doing, I created a monster. She has about 10 different pieces for their house, and then bought an additional five pieces (in a different color, of course) for their cabin that they use on weekends in the summer.
The magic is just as simple as the combination of the heat retention and distribution of cast iron coupled with the relatively easy clean up and durability of the enamel coating. The combination makes for cookware with basically no hot spots, in which you can sear, saute, fry, braise, roast...and just about anything else, very easily. You can go at the pots with a scrubber to clean them and you don't have to season them.
The downside for many is the weight. They're heavy. Very heavy. Other than that, they're pretty amazing cookware.
Don't forget the significant initial outlay. They're expensive, even with an outlet discount. However, I don't have a problem spending this kind of dough for something extremely useful that should theoretically last a lifetime.
My 7.25 quart round pot retails for about $280(!!). I got mine at the LC outlet store during a 40% off sale and the total price came down to about $135.
Having said that, it's a beautiful piece of cookware, and I've made countless wonderful things in it, from soups and stews to roasts and popcorn and wonderfully crusty no knead bread. It goes from stove to oven without batting an eye.
After blasting it innumerable times at 500 degrees for baking my bread, I do have difficulty cleaning it up. It has developed dark spots all over it that refuse to clean up, even with Barkeepers Friend, a nylon scrubbie, and the LC brand polish.
Never too much! I'm an addict too, I have 4 pieces, two skillets, a 5 quart and a HUGE monster dutch oven that when full is too heavy for my oven, (bends the rack hahaha) and I want more. Every time I see that stand/holder they have that holds like 5 pieces it brings a tear to my eye.
I love my Le Creuset. I started out with one piece and have since gone a bit crazy! I have the following pieces: teakettle in flame, Pie Plate in black; Oval Dishes in 9 ½ inch (kiwi-2), 11 ½ inch (cherry), and 14 inch (yellow); Ramekins in kiwi; Covered Soup Bowls in kiwi; Round French Oven in 3 ½ qt in cobalt; Oval Oven in 5 qt in cherry; Buffet Casserole in 5 qt in kiwi; Iron handle skillet in 9 inch in Satin Black. My newest addition being the Buffet Casserole---which I adore.
As for their magic..great to cook and bake with, clean up a breeze and oh..they look sooo nice.
Two Dutch ovens, three fry pans, two saucepans, one grill pan, one panini press, an au gratin pan and a small roasting pan. Not counting the covers, I think that makes eleven. And I would still consider adding a bigger oval Dutch oven or speciality pan if I found one and the mood struck me. Most are flame, some are dark green, and I love most colors except the gray.
I did not count the clay pieces that are similar to the Emile Henry found at William Sonoma (4 more). (However, I like the Emile Henry a bit more, but just a bit).
5.5 qt - white
6.75 qt oval - blue
3.5 qt - dijon
3.5 qt buffet - red
square grill pan - green
veggie ovens: Pumpkin, apple, and purple bell pepper
that makes? 7 pieces I guess. I can't justify anymore since I have a size to do just about anything but I keep trying to justify something in both the chestnut and the sonoma green.
The buffet pan is my favorite. If I didnt' use the white for boiling water for pasta the buffet pan would be the one I use the most.
If you live close to one of the Le Creuset outlet stores, they sell all items (including the buffet in 3 sizes and loads of colors) individually and, even better, they sell cosmetic seconds individually for a BIG discount. Here's a link that shows locations of these stores:
In order of my acquiring them...
6.75 Oval Dutch Oven -- Azure Blue
5 Qt. Buffet Casserole (Braiser) -- Kiwi
2 Qt. Round Oven -- Cherry Red
5 Qt. Round Oven -- Cherry Red
I'm always finding an excuse to use them. I feel like they are my children...I love them all! And reading this thread just makes me want another one, but I'm not sure what my next piece will be.
The first one I bought myself, the next 2 were gifts (I told the person exactly what I wanted) and the last one I bought on Ebay for a siginificant savings. Hmm...I haven't checked Ebay to see what deals are out there lately.
I must say I was shocked to see very few people reply that they owned the grill skillet and sandwich press lid. They are the ONLY pieces of LC that I own, though I do consider myself an addict, I just don't have the money. I hover at any LC display I can find and just dream. Trust me when I say that you will LOVE the sandwich set, it's to die for. Best to you all!
Is the sandwich press lid something that you can buy for the grill skillet? I actually have a black grill skillet. Also a royal bluish - maybe a bit lighter round Dutch oven - never remember the size - big enough but not huge! I also have a beautiful red rectangular terrine that I use for making pate, and a couple of ceramic pieces that I bought at an outlet - red ramekins, a huge blue oval dish with a lid and a small red little dish with a lid that I've never used!
Edit - just checked the website and saw what you are talking about - maybe I could get the bacon press for my round grill pan. Though, I usually just use a cast iron pan to weigh things down.
I used to sell it and am going back into the kitchen shop business in a couple of weeks.
I have 2 lg.lasagna bakers, 2 small bakers, 2 3 qt.rounds, a 5 qt. round, 6+qt. oval and a 2 qt. round. Oh, and a terrine I had 2 but lost one in a house fire. I probably won't be buying more in the near future. I can't stand the colors they are offering.
I have two pieces, and if it was less epensive i would have more!! I love the orange color, my mother has 2 pieces (in the blue), my brother and his fiancee have 3 or 4 i think (her mother lives near an outlet.) Last Xmas, we all gave each other the same Le Cruset pot, in different colors...it was hilarious!
I bought my first pieces two weeks ago and now have replaced all my stainless and the dinner ware too. So far I've picked up:
Cast Iron Flame:
1 1/4 QT Precision Pour Sauce Pan
2 3/4 QT Precision Pour Sauce Pan
5 1/2 QT French Oven
6 3/4 QT Round Wide Oven (Risotto Pot)
8 QT Stock Pot
4 Mini Cocottes
4 1/2 QT Rectangular Casserole with Lid
8 Place Setting Stoneware Dinnerware Cobalt Blue:
12" Dinner Plates
8" Salad Plates
3 1/2 QT Large Oval Serving Bowl
Lots of Orange and Green Silicone Utensils and Cool Tools - They're awesome
This stuff rocks. Never going back to stainless. Nothing sticks in the skillets. Ground turkey, omlettes, no problem.
Does Le C make its own dinnerware?
I use stainless for skillets (the old weight v. maneuverability conflict), but I love my Le Creuset for my favorite cooking, things like chili, Bolognese, pot roasts, stews. And I use my oval baking dishes all the time, mostly for baking fish. I have the 24 in dark green, and the 32 in Flame. Tonight I'm having Hog Snapper filets (I've also discovered the best fish store in Pittsburgh PA, the Penn Avenue Fish Company).
Fish is my favorite food lately, and it just works so well to bake it. I preheat the oven to 400, then heat the baking dish on the stovetop, then pour olive oil in, and when it's ready, I put my fish in, then S&P, and it's done in a couple of minutes. Simple, good cooking. I probably ought to get a 28.
I originally bought a set in Flame in 1979, and Le Creuset still just screams "cooking" to me. I used them all up, the whole set. I really did, and Le Creuset replaced everything I had left in 2000, only in Jade, which was so nice of them.
I just ordered a new, blue 7.25 qt. round oven. I'll most likely christen it with a big pot of Bolognese, though I've been making beans (cannellini or other white) a lot lately.
Something I haven't seen mentioned is the sheer ergonomic joy of using Le Creuset's lids. Unlike All Clad (I have the 8 qt.), whose lids pop up and let steam out, even at a gentle heat, LC lids stay where they're supposed to be. And not only do they go from stovetop-to-oven-to-table, they go right back in the 'fridge, and I can turn the lid upside down so the pot fits better in my fridge. And of course, the upside down lid makes a great storage piece.
I subscribe to the Cooks Illustrated philosophy....
Don't be afraid to spend a lot of money on a pan that will last a lifetime, but don't buy anything you don't need either. That means buying a few high quality, highly versatile, pieces of cookware and let the less useful specialty pans gather dust on the store shelves (paella pan... tagine... I'm looking at you guys!) It also means NOT spending big bucks on cookware that is designed to fail within a few years. (nonstick LC and All-Clad skillets... I'm looking at you)
So, according to these guidelines set up by the pros at Amercia's Test Kitchen, here is the list of:
Essential Cookware for the Industrious Home Cook.
(Note, there is only 1 Le Creuset on the list-- larger size to accommodate the most versatility... whole chickens, baking bread, soups and stews, etc.)
All-Clad Stainless 12-inch Skillet
T-Fal Professional Total Nonstick Fry Pan, 12.5 inches
Lodge Logic 12-inch Cast-Iron Skillet
All-Clad Stainless 2-quart Saucepan
All-Clad Stainless 4-quart Saucepan
Le Creuset 7¼-quart Round French Oven
Cuisinart Chef’s Classic 12-quart Stockpot
re: Mr Taster
It took me only a short time to figure out what the fuss was about with regard to Le Creuset...and Calphalon for that matter. It is in the heating....these take longer to heat up initially but MAN OH MAN when they do, you have the best cooking experience you can have. Even temps, no hot spots, etc and the ovens retain the heat to keep food hot. The only thing that All-Clad, or Cuisinart has going for it, in my mind, is its weight. Kind of like the old Revere Ware that my mom used....weight was good but even with the copper bottoms, not good at heat conduction or retention. My opinion only and everyone has to use what works for them. Le Creuset makes me WANT to cook...it speaks to me.
I started with Le Creuset that Martha Stewart sold when she had her catalog...it was her signature color of gray-green. I wish I could find more pieces to go with it. I have the fry and grill pans, a 5.5 dutch in that. I just succumbed to the new Williams Sonoma color in Ocean for a 5 qt. oval dutch and the saucepan. I am headed today to buy the braiser and cannot wait! The color is rich and yummy!
I also love Mauviel copper in the professional series with cast iron handles but you want to talk expensive.....just take a peak at those. I gave one large one to my son a few years ago because it was so darn heavy and didn't have the gripping handles on both sides and looked the other day to replace it and if I did it would be nearly $600. Yikes!
I think the All-Clad pans are for those who want to be able to bang their pots and pans around and throw them in the dishwasher. And there is something, certainly, to be said for that.....
I realize this is a Le Creuset thread, but has anybody used some of the other enamel cast iron dutch ovens that are now available? I've seen these dutch ovens with names attached to them such as Martha Stewart, Mario Batali, Emeril Lagasse, and others and they all seem to be a fraction of the price of Le Creuset.
re: John E.
Yes, their a fraction of the price because their a fraction of the quality and made in China.
There are two kinds of people in this world, people who use things and people who use things up. If you are the former and take care of things, it pays to buy quality that lasts. If, however, you are the latter, then buy the cheap stuff because it isn't going to last anyway. The good stuff, Le Creuset and Staub will last a long time if taken care of.
I am addicted. I have two sets of vintage LC.... or about 30 separate pieces.The turquoise is from the 1960's I think -and the deep brown is from the 1970's. I use them daily though, I really do. Except for a few mishaps....they are all in perfect shape for their age. LC wears like iron (har har) and I have two daughters who will each get a set one day!
Flame. 1.5 qt buffet braiser
Vintage oval heritage w top hole
(which is identical to a twin in Descoware except
The LC has an iron bottom and the Descoware has
An enameled w raw oval rim on bottom of pot)
White 6.75. Deemed toooooo big now living at my
Brother and SiL home
3.5 wide round. Perfect
Cherry red gradient 3.5 braiser
3.5 oval leaving for a daughter's home who
Plain red. 1.5 braiser. Perfect fit in a busy oven
Matte black fry pan. Going to daughters home soon
Green 2qt bell pepper. Love it perfect for sides
Red 2qt tomato retired bought used but in great shape
Way cute together
Soon to be added the 2.5 braiser in cherry
Have given ut in gifts now this time for me!!
I LOVE Le Creuset! When I first moved out on my own, I was lucky enough to be gifted with a few decent stainless steel pots, which has been supplemented with some LC pieces, so it is among my first pieces of cookware. I have been enjoying it for years and will continue doing so for years to come.
It's durable, versatile and beautiful.
I have a 3.5 quart french oven, a 10" skillet, and 5 pieces of stoneware. I plan to purchase the 5 quart braiser in the next couple of weeks, I think I'll then be set for all of my cooking needs, which range from serving 1-2 people on a regular basis, to up 10 people when I have dinner parties..
I've been collecting LC from thrift shops for about 10 years. I've got maybe 20 different random pieces. Surprised my cabinets haven't fallen off my walls yet.
I think my favorite is the big 14 quart monster of a dutch oven. . . . makes all other cookware look petite. I've also got this tiny little guy that's probably 2 cups. I don't think I've ever actually used that one.
I recently got married and registered for LC. I was fortunate to start my collection with a 3.5 qt oval DO, 7 qt oval DO, square griddle, ss roaster & rack, 3 qt ss saucepan w/steamer, 8” hard anodized fry pan, 11” hard anodized deep fry pan, and 11” ss fry pan. My husband and I are enjoying cooking with them and the clean up. I would like to get a 2 qt saucier and/or 2 qt round DO. Are these necessary?
"IMO this size and shape is probably the best LC makes"
Thanks Kaleo! And I totally agree about the shape and size.My sister's 3.3 lt seemed a bit smallish for my needs(I tend to cook in quantity and freeze some) and the 7lt is way to big for my kitchen and the price was so right.
Can't wait to start a stewin' and a braisin'.. :-D
My first piece was a red omelet pan 23 cm given to me by my Dad in 1988. Still going strong. Then in 1996 my friend had the Le Creuset account at an advertising firm and I got discounted prices on a 26cm dutch oven and a 30cm shallow casserole both in gloss black (n Australia the pots are designated by diameter in cm so I don't know the size in quarts, they're big but not the biggest). Next and old stained and tired Coussances small saucepan finally gave up the ghost and I got a replacement LC in red (gloss black no longer available in Oz) and this is the piece that gets most use.
It's not a collection per se but each piece gets used regularly. I love them and they will be with me forever, I hope. If that turns out not to be then I can indulge my new passion, the Michael Lax designed enamelled cast iron pots made by Aga, but that's a story for another thread...
I have the following in LC enameled cast iron
7 1/4 qt round oven
6 3/4 oval oven
4ish ( can't remember) qt round
3 1/2 wide oval oven
5 qt brasier
3 1/2 qt brasier
the large and medium gratins
2 1/4 qt saucier
1 qt precision pour saucepan
tart tatin ( which makes an incredible pineapple upside-down cake pan)
various colors but lots of flame and cherry with some carribean blue
This list should be interesting...
(All items in Cobalt unless specified)
5.2 L Round French Oven
Small saucepan with lid
Rectangular baking dish
Square baking dish
6 small ramekins (Cherry, Dijon, Ocean, Cobalt, Fennel, Cassis)
2 bell pepper shaped mini casseroles (green & yellow)
1 blueberry shaped mini casserole
Stainless steal cookware:
28 cm nonstick fry pan
2.9 L saute pan
Accessories & other:
Whistling tea kettle (Carribean)
Small tea pot with infuser
Spice jar (used for salt)... this started my entire collection!
Baking mat (like a Silpat)
Small mortar & pestle
Medium cookie jar (canister)
Large serving bowl (Carribean)
2 spatulas (Cobalt & Fennel)
Small basting brush (Cherry)
I think I'm "done" with my collection for now... wouldn't mind a stockpot, small nonstick frying pan or a Cobalt pitcher. Some of these were given to me as presents. Others were purchased on sale. Some things, I just splurged on. I haven't regretted many of my Le Crueset purchases. Not crazy about the spatula or balloon whisk but the big ticket items were all worth it.
Here's my feeling on cookware addiction. If you own a whole bunch of pieces but actually use them, then you don't own too many. If you own only one piece, but never use it, then you have too much. I like to say I'm a recovering addict, but I found myself looking on the LC website (just yesterday) at their roasters. I do NOT need another roasting pan! But, I use every piece of cookware I own. Yes, sometimes I have to force myself to use a piece just so I could say that I've used it. I've also noticed that I'll use some pieces over and over again for a while (this usually happens when I'm making the same foods over and over again) and then, when I'm bored with the same old recipes and ready to move on, I'll use the other pieces that hadn't had much love in a while. It sounds silly but cookware inspires me.
I used to cook for a family and they had this LC steamer, like cast iron 7" or 8" LC signature topped with another signature that had the steamer holes in the bottom, then a lid for the top. That's right TWO cast iron enameled pieces with a lid. Has anyone else seen one of these? It became my go-to pot and I've been looking to get one for myself since I stopped cooking in that kitchen.
My current collection.
On display and not currently in use
1 x Antique Rose Dutch Oven 16cm
1 x Teal (caribbean blue) Dutch Oven16cm
1 x Cherry read Dutch Oven16cm
1 x Dijon Dutch Oven 16cm
1 x Costal blue Dutch Oven 20cm
1 x Marseille blue Dutch Oven 20cm
Currently being used
1 x Skillet (flame)
1 x Skillet (Granite)
1 x Grill pan (flame) (My husbands first piece of Le Creuset)
1 x Dutch Oven (Cherry red) 28 cm
1 x Sauce pan (flame) 16cm
1 x Sauce pan (flame) 18cm
1 x Sauce pan (flame) 20cm
1 x Sauce pan/skillet set (flame) 18cm (this is a set with the sauce pan lid being made up of a small skillet. This was my first piece)
I want some le Creuset in truffle or ocean but as they are not currently available in the UK I would need to pay shipping from the US and thats kind of expensive.
I have one newer round pan - it is a little shallower than a dutch oven and perfect for risotto. Got this one because I had a gift card for williams and sonoma and it was on an introductionary special (would have had to spend "real" money for the dutch oven - but boy is it heavy. I have slowly replaced by a variety of pans my old circulon set. I decided to go with assorted instead of a new set of something. So I have one le creuset, two cast iron skillets, one cuisinart pasta/steamer pot, one cephalon frittata pan, and one all clad large skillet. no space for more but do want to have a standard le creuset dutch oven - best size?
My first was a remaindered wok for $30 (the store had lost the lid) Unenameled, I have never had such wonderful results from a wok, just a delight, and the uppersides hold the food already cooked needed to stay warm.
Now have a 5.5 oven that use all the time (with the strainer insert) a 3 qt for small stocks and portions, and have a Doufeu on the way (I peaked at the gift)
Anyone have the 15 qt goose roaster? I cannot imagine what is involved in actually using that.
Today, January 15, 2013, I just purchased a 5-1/2 quart, cherry red LC French Oven from EBay (We B Dealin) for $189.88. The original price is $265 at LeCreuset.com. However, what's interesting is the most places online tell customers this is a sale price, but apparently it's not.
I had a flame 6 quart LC French oven, but in moving from Milwaukee to Houston last year, I left it with my daughter, who is seeking a career as a chef. I really missed that LC oven and am delighted to have found this one to replace it.
People will cringe at the cost of LC French ovens, but they are worth the investment. And besides, if you are going to purchase something that is not even American made, you might as well save your pennies to purchase a quality product from a reputable company instead of the cheap stuff that comes out of China.