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Nov 4, 2009 08:30 AM

LC Casserole/Braiser - how do you use yours?

I've been spying one of these but am just not sure how I would justify using this in the kitchen.
I have the dutch ovens... and I have SS skillets and such for searing meats.

If you have one of these how do you incorporate and what is your favorite use for this piece of cookware?


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  1. I don't know how to insert a link to another post, grnidkjun. But in herring's thread that's current on the board (in which herring asks which size is best), I did talk about how I used them. So, not knowing to insert link, here's part of what I posted to herring:

    "As to the sizes, sometimes I'm cooking for our family, but often now because the kids are older, I'm cooking just for hubby and me. Tonight, I'm braising chicken thighs for him and me, and four of them plus two cut-up pototoes and an medium onion filled the 2.5 quart properly for cooking.

    I DO get use out of my 5-quart braiser, but then I may be cooking different things than you do. First of all, I usually do some kind of pasta-veggie toss once a week. So I'll saute the veggies in the five quart, and once the pasta cooked (separately), I'll put it in the braiser with a little bit of the pasta liquid and whatever I want to add to make an impromptu sauce. I also can use that braiser to roast a whole chicken, and I make my own roasted tomato sauce in it, to keep in the freezer. I fill the braiser with either canned San Marzano's (sans liquid) or fresh plum tomatoes, cut up, a little oil, wine, herbs and let it roast.

    Of course the 2.5 will be ideal for meals for two, but I also use it for sides for the whole family, and last week I made a single layer snacking cake (not fancy-no frosting) in it--it rose beautifully."

    2 Replies
    1. re: Normandie

      Thanks -- I was going to point grnidkjun to that post. I plan to use mine for fish (both actual braising, plus other stovetop/oven methods), curries and big veggie sautes. I do all this in a saute pan now, but thought the braiser would be bigger, better and more fun! Still deciding what size to buy, though.

      1. re: herring

        I was just was probably easier for me to decide to buy the 5-quart and the 2.5, because I have a good 2.9 quart saute pan (Demeyere) that I *can* braiser in if it need to, and two other 3.5-quart vessels (one the LC FO and the other a Calphalon saucier). I figured I was covered in that 3-quartish range. Even though they're different shapes, the pans I had were versatile enough that I could use them for some of the same things I'd do in the LC 3.5-braiser in a pinch. So you'd probably want to factor in what other pans you own.

    2. This is the most used pan in our kitchen and never really gets put away. We have the 30cm (3.5) brasier and we use it for everything from frying up breakfasts, making curries, making pasta sauce, searing then baking chicken pieces, to roasting a ham in the oven. A very versatile pan. Deeper than a frying pan but not as cumbersome as a dutch oven, also it is very easy to get in and out of the oven.

      1. Thank you for all the replies and the referral to the other post. :)
        I picked up the 3.5qt, it is a "second" but I can't find any flaws on it other than a few tiny scratches.

        10 Replies
        1. re: grnidkjun

          I hope you enjoy it, grnidkjun. I'm finding lots of uses for it, some more involved recipes and then some simpler ones, like dinner tonight. I was tired tonight and wanted an easy dinner. So I defrosted a couple of bone-in chicken breasts and a couple of thighs, put some oil in the bottom of the braiser, the chicken pieces seasoned with S&P, about a quarter-cup of brandy, one pat of butter, and some sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary. Put the cover on, put the cold pan into the cold oven so it could heat up with the oven, set it to roast on a low temp, and put some oiled Russets on the racks beside it. Because I started with the cold oven, it probably took 90 minutes start to finish. I took the cover off the braiser for the last half hour, basted it at that point with the pan juices and then turned the oven to broil for the last five minutes or so to crisp up the skin. I made a very simple tossed salad right after I put the pan in the oven and then got to talk to you guys for an hour or so, with my feet up and a cup of coffee, while dinner practically made itself. And it was good, too!

          1. re: Normandie

            That sounds wonderful.. I'm looking forward to giving a few things a try.. the pasta tosses sounded good too. :) I may have to give your Braised Brandied Chicken a try.

            1. re: grnidkjun

              Yes, enjoy. I went with the 3.5 as well, and just used it for an easy, one-pot dinner. I seared shrimp in the oil from a jar of sundried tomatoes (w/garlic), added some zucchini and cannelini beans, then threw in a big bunch of swiss chard and braised it all in some chicken broth. I also used it for simmering tilapia in a small batch of puttanesca sauce. It's proving to be a very versatile pan.

              1. re: herring

                herring, that shrimp dish sounds good. How long would you braise something like that once the shrimp is seared? Do you leave the shrimp in the whole time, or remove them and put them back in near the end?

                1. re: Normandie

                  Normandie, I was sort of making it up as I went along. I did not remove the shrimp, and the whole thing braised for maybe 10-15 minutes -- just long enough for the swiss chard to cook down. The shrimp came out perfectly, though I thought as they were braising, hmm, maybe I should get them out of there ... the searing didn't cook them through, and I guess the braise was short enough and/or at a low enough temp that they really did come out perfectly. But you should adjust accordingly, of course, depending on your own variation. I served the whole thing over whole wheat spaghetti -- delicious!

              2. re: grnidkjun

                (To grnidkjun)

                You may have noticed from my narrative that I was too tired/lazy to even brown the chicken first, which normally I do. So the option to move these pans to the broiler at the end of cooking is great. I suspect because of the sugar in the brandy in the pan juices, the skin not only crisped up nicely but also browned beautifully in those last five minutes.

                The braised chicken dish with the most wonderful flavor, to me, is James Beard's recipe for chicken sauteed with white whine and mushrooms, which this pan would do beautifully. However, the recipe contains a significant amount of butter, so it's not something I would do often, and I noticed you seem to like healthful recipes.

                1. re: Normandie

                  I do.. but being from the south, butter is a downfall. BBQ Shrimp and Crawfish Ettouffee are two big faves of mine, along with anything involving pasta! :)

                  1. re: grnidkjun

                    Oh, don't you think you could use this pan to make both the shrimp and the crawfish? (Pardon my lack of experience with crawfish; I don't know how high the sides of the pan need to be.) Tell you leave the shells on when you barbeque shrimp? I was on a business trip in New Orleans when a woman I was working with on a project there invited me to her home for dinner. She made the best BBQ shrimp I've ever had, eaten with the shells, which was new to me, being from New England. Yum!

                    Again, if you want to do a pasta-toss, don't feel like having a tomato-based sauce and don't want the naughty things in a cream sauce, this pan works *really* well with just ladling in some of the pasta water and letting the starch cook down. Sometimes I toss in a handful of grated hard cheese, since that's not quite as fatty as softer cheeses.

                    1. re: Normandie

                      I cook the shrimp shell on, but personal preference, I don't eat the shell.
                      The sauce is wonderful with bread.. I cook it in a large stainless skillet.. though this pan might work well.. and incorporate it into a pasta toss. hmmm.....

                      The ettouffee.. it might.. but I've always made it in a small stock pot due to it's more soup-ish nature.

                      1. re: Normandie

                        " just ladling in some of the pasta water and letting the starch cook down"

                        Cooking ignoramus here...what do you do with the pasta water, and why would you want to?

            2. I have one in the 3.5 qt size and use it often for roasting veggies A whole cauliflower broken into little florets with potatoes cut up the same size ( yukon gold or russets) a whole onion and a whole garlic cut up and a yellow or red bell pepper or both colors and 203 carrots
              sometimes I carmelize the onions first and add another onion cut up with the other veggies
              in the oven with 1 T water and some olive oil Stir every fifteen min and keep it to a single layer-yes some comes up the sides Cook unitl the potatoes are how you like them soft or extra soft
              Done when it smells good haha Some use 375 Some use 425 Try both ways for your oven It takes anywhere from 60-75 min and smells awesome If you carmelize the onions in a sm dice first they disappear into a thick sauce somehow yum

              1. General question: do you use metal or plastic utensiles with LE and/or Staub? Has anyone scratched their pots?

                2 Replies
                1. re: pattq

                  I only use wood, silicone, or plastic utensils in my LC.

                  Duh! Just checked LC's homepage:

                  "Recommended cooking utensils are Le Creuset heat-resistant Silicone, heat-resistant plastic, and wooden utensils in order to protect the surface. "

                  1. re: tanuki soup

                    Thanks this info was not included with the Staub or LC product cards!!