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Sep 9, 2009 08:32 PM

Anyone have the LC 5 quart braiser/casserole? 2 ??s before buying...

Sorry to add another LC post, but I've searched the archives and couldn't find the specific info I seek.

1) I'm ordering a LC braiser and would prefer the 5 quart v. the 3.5, but I see how much it weighs (15 lbs. or so w/lid?) and want to make sure the oven rack will support it. Anybody have any issue like this?

I'm asking because the rack in my (now deceased) standard issue (builder's grade) GE oven would actually dip slightly when I used my 5- (5.5-?)-quart Staub FO. I know it didn't weigh as much as this LC model. I think the problem was that the tracks that held the rack didn't come out quite far enough from the wall oven to offer better support. I am planning to upgrade the oven, but...just thought I'd better ask before buying.

2) I'm thinking of getting the cobalt. I don't have anything in that yet. Does anyone find it to be a cold color? Just asking because of our long, dreary dark winters. I try to keep warm cheerful colors around us, but, gosh, that cobalt looks nice on my monitor, at least, and the backsplash is a seascape mural with lots of blues. Frivolous question I know, but when a pot costs this much, you want to be totally happy with it ;-).

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  1. Part 1:
    You can always try it by stacking 4 house bricks (say 20lb) on your rack. If the problem is that it is bending in the middle then if you have a large heavy duty SS baking rack put that on top of your oven rack with the LC on top of that. That will certainly decrease the deflection. I wouldn't like to clean up 3 quarts of stew welded to the oven's interior.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Paulustrious

      Well, I have to replace the oven, anyway. Tthanks to your suggestion re the bricks***, Paul. I'll put the sales rep of any model I'm seriously considering through his/her paces and have him/her place equivalent weights on the racks so I can see it. (***I should have thought of that; thank you.)

      Agree re the stew! I couldn't believe it, the first time I put that 5-quart FO in the oven and saw the rack bending :-O. A 5-quart pot isn't *that* heavy, even with food in it. It's not like it was a goose pot. I always made it through the cooking sessions without incident, but not without trepidation :-). I'm glad that oven's cooked.

    2. I have the 5 qt. braiser in Kiwi. I like it, but it is not my go to LC (that would be my 6.75 oval in azure blue or 5 qt. round in red). I find that for my purposes, generally speaking, the higher sides are better.

      When the braiser is filled, my GE oven rack does dip slightly, but it's not a major problem. Although when I want to pull out the rack to check on the contents, it does take a bit of extra effort. Sometimes I just take the whole LC out of the oven, rather than pulling the oven rack out.

      Regarding color, buy what you like. I have azure blue, kiwi, red (2) and they go with all seasons. I love them all.

      1 Reply
      1. re: valerie

        TY, valerie. My dearly departed oven was a GE; not a fancy one, mid-level. It surprised me. I'd think that, say, my Thanksgiving Day turkey would make the rack dip if the 5-qt. FO did, but no. Maybe it has to do with weight in a roaster being distributed over a larger area.

        My semi-finalists were the braiser and the 6.75 oval roaster. I ordered the braiser this time, because I already have three round or oval roasters, and what I'd like to have right now is a larger area for browning. The braiser also looks suspiciously like the old cast iron pot in which my mother used to make her outrageously good pot roasts. (A little prettier, though--true.)

        I plan to get the 6.75 oval next. I love my 3.5 oval and would like the larger to accommodate whole chickens, which I understand it will? The azure is gorgeous, but I'll save that for when I feel like taking a field trip to my nearest W-S to pick it up. W-S doesn't seem to waive its shipping fees often. That's fine on the 9-inch skillet, but it seems irresponsible to spend that much on S/H for the medium-range pots when so many online sources regularly waive shipping. (So conflicted between lust for the azure blue and the attendant temptation to spend the premium for the color, and my rational aversion to spending money with one vendor I don't have to spend with another.)

      2. cobalt is my color. it esp. looks great against a sunny yellow. you're in france! it is an enduring classic for a good reason -- it's beautiful!

        i have no problem with my heavy l.c. pots on the oven racks.

        7 Replies
        1. re: alkapal

          Exactly the same with me. My old LC must be 20 years old and never gave me anything but happiness. Love the cobalt.

          1. re: bayoucook

            bayou, see my post below. i thought ours was called cobalt blue, but now it seems that it's only called "blue"! i'm not crazy am i, to think our truly cobalt blue-colored le creusets *used to be* called "cobalt blue."?!?!?

            1. re: alkapal

              I thought they were, but my set is more of a true blue. Like I said it's 20+ years old....

              1. re: bayoucook

                It's a deep blue. Now I want to know what it's called.

                1. re: bayoucook

                  bayoucook, we *are* sisters! that's mine, too! {;^D.

            2. re: alkapal

              Mais, oui, c'est vrai! I forgot all about that beautiful provincial (and Provencal) color scheme, alkapal. As it happens, the kitchen walls are cream (to approximate whitewash, without whitewashing) and all the considerable trim is a warm, sunny mustardy gold. I also have a lot of blue-and-white china/porcelain. I just don't use it that much. But I checked some of the serving pieces I have and they're actually cobalt. So that braiser could fit right in for a buffet service, etc. TY so much for pointing this out to me. I still lust for the azure, but I'm also excited about the cobalt now!

            3. You might also want to consider the 12" diameter low wide risotto pot. It's a little more versatile as it has a little higher side than the braiser. The braiser is better though for regular frying or sauteing. It is VERY heavy. For some reason I find it even harder to lift than the 6 3/4 oval or the 7 1/4 round. I can barely lift it with the cover on empty. The Cobalt also doesn't look in person as bright as photos of it would suggest. It's a muted blue with a touch of gray in it. I don't find it cheerful at all and I think it's a bit dreary. It's not a vibrant true cobalt. I prefer the Azure blue as it has more life to it. While the Cobalt has a violet cast the Azure leans a bit to the turquoise and is more shaded than the Cobalt.

              25 Replies
              1. re: blondelle

                the true blue is not muted blue, nor does it have a touch of gray. the blue is a true cobalt color, and has NO shading. the color is this:

                the color is just like this:

                i THOUGHT this was called cobalt blue. is it just "BLUE"? why do they call that dusty, shaded one "cobalt" blue?

                if so, then i have the BLUE. and it is a true, non-shaded cobalt-colored blue. see?

                <edit: the only "gradation-of-color" le creuset that is decent, in my classics-are-best opinion, is "FLAME.">

                1. re: alkapal

                  The "blue" was replaced by "cobalt" a few years back. they're very similar with the cobalt having a gradiated color from rim to base. The cobalt is probablyt a bit more vibrant. Neither is a terribly offensive color.

                  As for the cobalt makign food look nice. Personal preference I guess. I have a large 8qt oven in's not my personal favorite color but it doesn't make food look bad at all. I prefer it to the kiwi for instance. YMMV of course.

                  I have a 3.5qt braising pan(in red). I love mine and use it all the time. Hope you love your 5qt as well...

                  1. re: alkapal

                    The color in your first and second links that you are calling true blue is NOT Cobalt blue. What's shown is the Sonoma Blue which is discontinued and was exclusive to Williams Sonoma. That blue was a solid blue and a bit deeper than the Cobalt, but a more saturated blue. The original French blue that LC had before the cobalt had a touch of green in it and was a bit lighter and solid color with no shading. LC themselves describe the Cobalt as being of a more muted tonality than the other more highly saturated LC colors. The Cobalt blue IS that dusty, grayed, shaded blue you describe. That's what I was describing--the Cobalt blue.

                    1. re: blondelle

                      the blue i linked is the original blue i've had for 20 plus years. that is NOT sonoma blue. period. bayou cook and i are absolutely right.

                      sonoma blue was a w-s color. sonoma blue was lighter, and was intro'd way, way after the blue we speak of. that "sonoma" blue is not the same as we link. i know for a fact.

                      if the current "cobalt" is the shaded dusky blue, then i'm not recollecting the name cobalt correctly -- but when i bought l.c., THAT solid blue (the color i linked) was THE one and only blue color -- per the links i made.

                      1. re: alkapal

                        Wasn't the original blue called French Blue? If so that photo is not it. I had it too and it was entirely a different shade. Maybe there was another blue they had then. I don't know what yours looks like in person but the color you linked to at least in the Ebay photo looked to be Sonoma blue, not French blue, or looks just like it. I own both blues. Maybe they snuck another blue in there before the Cobalt, and Sonoma blue. I don't remember from 20 years ago. The outlets have another blue similar to Cobalt I think called Harmonic Blue that I believe is solid. Maybe the photo is of that. Hard to tell from a photo. Anyway, this is getting too confusing.

                        1. re: blondelle

                          Add to the confusion the fact that there's no way to be sure various monitors represent colors in the same way.

                          1. re: blondelle

                            blondelle, this list of all l.c. colors will *really* add to the confusion:
                   -- btw, this list doesn't mention sonoma blue, which we all know did exist. dang, this is like reporting one saw a UFO!

                            i searched a lot for an example of "sonoma blue" on ebay, or the like, but nothing in the enameled cast iron. now the w-s blue is called "azure blue" but it looks the same as the old sonoma blue.

                            i'm thinking now that the color i linked (and the color i have in several older pieces) was just "blue" or maybe "french blue" but whichever one it was called, it was the color of art-supply-cobalt-blue-color -- and no gradations, but even, all-over color.

                            but look, this "cobalt" blue one --as designated by the seller -- does not seem to have that gradation of color as other "cobalt blue" ones that you mention.
                            ach! i give up!!!

                            fwiw, here's a set on sale:

                            1. re: alkapal

                              OK, maybe this will help. It's fairly accurate at least on my monitor.


                              1. re: blondelle

                                blondelle, good job. how'dyadothat? ;-).

                                anyway, here's what i know for sure: when the sonoma blue came out, i looked at it, and recognized that it was a different, slightly lighter blue than the old "blue" that i'd had for years. <and not to make things even more complex, but the very first le creuset piece i bought from williams-sonoma was a non-stick chicken fryer with lid ---- and it was what i'll call "my" blue (

                       ). i also bought from them the lidded pate terrine in "my" blue. thus, w-s originally sold "my" blue before it came out with its specialty, exclusive colors>.

                                goodness, we're crazy here on chowhound, aren't we?!? ;-)).

                                by the way, if you are sheellah, you are one heckuva kitchen designer! ( i recognize some w-s cake stands with the ruffled edges in that little white bookshelf). you might enjoy this site: and this, too: (esp. re color names).

                                also, if i were you (and if you are sheellah ;-), i'd use as an avatar that wonderful photo of the kitty cat! just precious!!!
                                (and i won't even ask about the before and after photos of linda! tee hee!).

                    2. re: blondelle

                      I've already ordered the braiser, partly because I thought it might do for sauteeing. I have a *GREAT* Demeyere saute pan, which I'd grab in case of fire, but it's smallish (2.9 quarts, I think). So I was glad to hear you say one can use the braiser for sauteeing, as well. I am interested the 6.75 oval oven, but I was also wondering about the low wide pots. I've just noticed those this week. Could you tell me a little bit how they differ in application from the regular FOs? What are they better at than the standard ovens and the braisers?

                      1. re: Normandie

                        Molly Stevens who wrote the book "All About Braising" says it's better not to have too much headroom above what you're braising and she suggests placing a piece of parchment paper on top of what you're braising in a higher pot. With the braisers or low wide pots you don't need to do that. They are best for less high foods such as pork chops, fish, osso bucco, brisket, etc, and better for rice dishes. They also give you more surface area for browning first without having to go to a much larger pot to get it. They work the same as the braisers, but because they are higher might not saute as well. The higher sides might cause the food to steam more than a lower sided pan.

                        1. re: blondelle

                          Good point. Madeleine Kamman and a few others note that, too. When I'm being especially fastidious I do cover and weight down a braise in the FOs. I don't do it with everything I braise--e.g., a (relatively) quick weeknight meal--but for some recipes, yes. The surface area of the pot is important to me. I tend to do a lot of things for which I want that. I'm probably going to go for the larger high oval FO first, simply because I want something to do a whole bird in. But then I think I'll put one of the wide ovens on the list, since I don't have one. I can see myself using a 3.5 (or whatever's closest) to bake a lot of breads, in addition to the dishes you mentioned. TY, blondelle.

                          1. re: Normandie

                            You can always butterfly or spatchcock the bird for the braiser or low wide oven. It cooks better and faster like that. You can always fold it back together for presentation or leave it like that. No need for the taller one if that's what you needed it for. Many people even make soup in the low wide and it's easier to puree in them with an immersion blender. It's a very versatile shape, I think.

                            1. re: blondelle

                              That's an excellent suggestion, re spatchcocking the poultry. I *like* birds prepared that way--find them to be moist with a crispy skin (when that's intended, of course). For whatever reason, I don't remember to prepare it that way very often, but I'm always happy with the results. It also gives one the option to cook the bird on a bed of aromatics or citrus slices for optimal contact with the poultry, etc. I do want it for general purpose, in addition to the braises, so thanks a lot for the ideas, blondelle.

                              1. re: Normandie

                                even though one doesn't need to spatchcock cornish game hens, they are terrific done like that -- quick, crispy skin, juicy meat

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Mmmmm; good suggestion, alkapal. I love Cornish hens. I haven't made them in so long, and I don't really know why. I know the braiser's en route; the vendor has shipped it. Maybe I'll plan to break it in with C.G. hens. Have any knock-out ideas for a special prep?

                                  Btw, I was thinking of you and blondelle today. DH and I went to buy a new oven at our local combination hardware-appliance store (small town life). They sell Le Creuset and have a nice display of unboxed LC goodies right inside the entrance. All the blue ones looked a little too grey to be the cobalt. They're a beautiful shade of blue, but they just don't look like what the cobalt looks like on my monitor (or what true cobalt oil or acrylic paint look like, for that matter). But they're the current shapes, and I *know* this place is too teensy to have an LC "exclusive" color. :-) The store didn't note the color on the tags, so I asked one of the sales ladies. She said, "Oh, I don't know which LC blue that is; I can't keep them straight". The mystery continues.

                                  1. re: Normandie

                                    normandie, no big special prep: just everglades seasoning on the hens and a hot pan with some peanut oil. then near end of cooking, maybe toss in some good spicy evoo with a bit of fresh thyme, rosemary or sage. i like the crispy skin and the ratio of skin to meat is perfecto! ;-).

                                    1. re: Normandie

                                      Normandie, that blue is the Cobalt. That's all LC is shipping now in the blue except for the Azure that's exclusive to Williams Sonoma. That's what I was trying to say that the cobalt wasn't the vibrant blue they show on some sites online but a grayed down, more muted blue. When you said you wanted a vibrant blue to cheer you through the winter I wanted to let you know in my previous posts that the Cobalt wasn't the color you expected.

                                      1. re: blondelle

                                        normandie, maybe you'll have luck on ebay for the older "blue" that bayoucook and i have. it's exactly perfect for a bright, frenchified kitchen.

                                        (who does that china with the blue and yellow borders? i thought it was villeroy & boch, but don't see it).

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          Yes, I think you're right, alkapal! I must get more Le Creuset! (LOL)

                                          If it's not V&B, could it be Portmeirion?

                                          I have various blue & white dishes in a number of Spode patterns and then in ironstone from other manufacturers. Some are lighter and greyer (like Blue Geranium), but some are darker, closer to what I think of as cobalt (e.g., Blue Willow and Blue Italian). And I have a set of Tiffany delft service pieces (made in Portugal) and that is *definitely* dark, and cobalty. Oh! The other thing I think of as "cobalt" is the blue on Emile Henry's Poterie line, if you've seen that.

                                          1. re: Normandie

                                            now i'm crazy about figuring out this pattern. i tried v&b, wedgwood, spode, royal worcester.

                                          2. re: alkapal

                                            Yep, I just got an older (like this one, on Ebay: note the weird handles) le creuset braiser in that French Blue. It's almost exactly like the new ones, aside from the handles and the fact that it's a 3 qt. rather than a 3.5 qt.


                                            1. re: Beckyleach

                                              Nice job shopping there, Becky. Don't you love it when you get a smart buy like that? I've never bought anything off ebay, but I do look for used copies on Amazon when I want to get a cookbook that I know has been around a while. Do you have any idea how old that braiser is?

                                              1. re: Normandie

                                                That's not exactly the one I got; mine was even cheaper. ;-) The picture of my actual buy was gone.

                                                I seem to recall this color in the early 80's??? And those "ear handles." I love 'em.

                                                Recently I've gotten two Descoware casseroles, this LC, and another from the 1950's, off of Ebay at great prices. AND I scored a brand new (different article of lust ) Ruffoni acorn copper gratin--the one that retails at Williams-Sonoma for $179---for just $85, with a late night "Buy It Now" that I jumped on.

                                          3. re: blondelle

                                            Well, I actually like the blue I saw yesterday, too. Too me, it's not unlike a blueberry with the greyish bloom still on it (maybe with a little cadet blue undertone) . So I'm fine, if that's what it looks like when it gets here; it's a pretty, warm blue, and when I do leave it out on the burners, the mural behind them is a coastal scene that includes several types of blues (among other colors).

                                            But you're right, IMO, blondelle; that is *not* a true artist's cobalt, which is a cooler color than the current LC "cobalt", and clearer, too. Artist's cobalt is closer to...well, not navy, exactly, but maybe ultramarine. l'd think LC would know that (or at least their techical peeps who dream up the enamels) and they'd name it differently. But I did like the color I saw yesterday, even if it's a little different that what I expected. It hasn't cured me of my longing for the azure, though. :-)

                          2. normandie, here's a 3.5 quart version of what you want!

                            oooh, this is a good deal, too: this 7 qt. oval looks like mine:

                            here's a 5 at. version, although it "looks" lighter in color.

                            12 Replies
                            1. re: alkapal

                              Those are really pretty, alkapal (can I call you "al", btw?; my fingers trip all over themselves...) Anyway, yes. The first link you posted to me here is what I ordered (got the 5 quart, though). I bought it from chef's resource. Look at how close the color is:


                              AND YOUR LINK


                              Then look at this; doesn't this look deeper and less grey? But it's also current:


                              Does that look like the same color to you?

                              Oh, I don't know. This is scrambling my brain.

                              Now I have a question re size. I'd like one that large enough to do a small turkey in (as well as other dishes). And I mean a small turkey in, around 12 lbs. or so. I'm not talking about anything as large as a Thanksgiving turkey; I just do one that large once a year and I've got a roaster that can handle that. But for a small turkey, what size oval FO or wide FO do you think you'd use (with room to toss in some veggies)?

                              1. re: Normandie

                                normandie, i don't know your answer for the 12 pound turkey. i don't cook turkey but once in a blue moon. what i'll do is look at the grocery to get an idea of the dimensions of a 12 pounder.

                                1. re: alkapal

                                  Oh, that's a good idea, al; I can do that. I don't know why I didn't think of that (the most direct solutions often don't occur to me, I think).

                                  The new pot, the 5-quart braiser arrived yesterday, and it is yet another glorious piece of cookware craftsmanship. ;-D I honestly think this version of "cobalt" is closest to what I often see described as "blueberry"...a warmish blue, not a clear blue, with a slightly purplish undertone in good light. It's very pretty. Even DH said as he walked in the door from work, "Wow, that's a beautiful pan [sic]", and he's not one to give much thought to cookware, other than the finished stuff that comes out of it for him at dinnertime.

                                  It's one heavy pot, with the lid on! My new oven will be installed on Monday, and I can't wait to take the new LC for its inaugural run. (I bought the Cornish hens yesterday.)

                                  Did you ever think of the china pattern name?

                                  1. re: Normandie

                                    first, i'm happy that you "did good"!

                                    second, they are heavy, and i don't wanna do too much in heavy stuff, like big ol' turkeys.

                                    finally, heck no, i cannot remember that pattern!

                                    ps, rock on with the cornish game hens. kick 'em up! get a good skin sear to make the skin soooo crisssssppppy!

                                    1. re: alkapal

                                      Yes, yes! I think I'm going to butterfly them, sear them stove top to begin then crisp up the skin at the end of cooking process under the spage-age broiler. I know you suggested a simple treatment, but I did pick up a reasonable bottle of champagne, maybe for a marinade and a sauce. I also got some sparkling apple cider, in case I decide on a Norman treatment, instead. I hope nothing happens to screw up the oven installation on Monday, but if it gets delayed, at least I have this mammoth pot in which to braise the hens on the burner.

                                      Btw, a few weeks ago I had emailed W-S to ask them about the capacity of various pots. I forgot about it since I hadn't heard from them (apparently, they had to contact LC in France--huh???), but they responded today. They said:

                                      "*9.5 Qt Dutch Oven will hold a chicken that is approximately 5 to 7 lbs.
                                      *6.5 Qt Dutch Oven will hold a chicken that is approximately 3 to 5 lbs.
                                      * 4.25 Deep Covered Saute will hold a chicken that is approximately 2 to 3 lbs."

                                      So that sounds to me like one would need one of those big, big, bad boys to hold even a small turkey... I'm going to listen to your sage (no turkey dinner pun intended) re the weight. I like a good meal as well as anybody does, but there's only so much of my body I'm willing to sacrifice for it.

                                      I'm going to see if I can find that pattern for you. This could take a while.

                                      1. re: Normandie

                                        thanks! i was almost certain that it was v&b. perusing replacements,, i found one or two similar in feel, but still "not it." the patterns are "ornamenta" and "le sud." the bright yellow and the blue resonate.

                                        (you know they have a "normandie" pattern, too?).

                                        my search will continue.....

                                        as to you deciding against humongo-creuset, you've chosen wisely.

                                        1. re: alkapal

                                          I found Toscana from V&B, and it's not unsimilar to the one I have stuck (namelessly) in my mind, but the blue is paler:


                                          For some reason, I have the word, "Algarve", stuck in my head. In a way, it makes sense, since Portuguese tiles often have the cobalt and yellow colorway. But I've tried search for chinaware named "Algarve" and the few patterns that came up are not yellow and blue.

                                          Re the Mega-Creuset, I could always put claw feet on this 15-quart Big Daddy Chef's Resource sells, stick it in a corner of the kitchen (after adding some joists to reinforce the floor) and bathe my bumptious Retrievers in it. But it doesn't come in Cobalt! :-(


                                          1. re: Normandie

                                            hey, did you see the 4 qt. oval "heritage l.c." cocotte offered by williams-sonoma? i grew up with my mom using that pot -- in "flame." she still has it, and it's a go-to pot for roasts and the like -- a real everyday workhorse.

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              I did see it, and the price W-S is offering it at is a real bargain. The only thing is that right now, at least, W-S is not waiving shipping fees, so if anyone is interested, s/he might be able to find it from another source without the S/H. Which would make it even more of a good deal!

                                              I'm kind of clumsy, so I like the modern loop handles. But I can understand how your mother got so much use out of that cocotte. That's the perfect all-purpose size, to me. I use at least one of my FOs every single day, and I even LOVE my LC skillet. (I've read comments on the LC threads that some folks don't like the skillets so much, but I think cooks great and cleans up like magic.

                                              1. re: Normandie

                                                Kind of silly, but Julia recommends buying a "7- to 8-quart size about 9 by 12 inches across and 6 inches high." However, these are the dimensions of the 4 qt. coquette! Where did the extra quarts go?

                                                N-- in answer to your earlier question, herb crusted roast lamb with garlic mashed potatoes.

                                                1. re: E_M

                                                  Maybe the extra quarts are in the length? (In the case of an oval pot?)

                                                  I don't know, E_M. I've got that 5-quart braiser on the cooktop right now. It's about 13 inches in diameter and 3 inches tall without the lid on (which is how you would measure the liquid capacity, at least). So you'd have to get some extra inches somewhere to increase its capacity to 7 to 8 quarts. Same thing with the cocotte you mention. So that's why I'm thinking she was talking about an oval (or she simply made a mistake, but that's blasphemy, for me to say that re Julia).

                                                  Omigosh, I can't wait to hear how this next project of yours turns out. Mail me some! I *love* herb crusted lamb. Is it a roast or a rack of lamb? Either way...send a care package! (I ran into an excellent meal sale this weekend. It took me two hours to repackage it all into dinner-sized portions; that's how good the sale was. I'm stocked. Only thing was--no lamb.)

                                                  1. re: Normandie

                                                    Nope, she recommends an oval. That's why I asked the earlier question I did. I understand the use of a pan 9 x 11 x 6...but not one that is 7- 8 quarts! Frankly, I don't think I could lift a LC that is that big so it's likely a moot point.

                                                    It will probably be a roast. I wanted to make one stuffed with mushrooms, but I can't find her instructions on removing the bone so we're going with the regular roast.