How big for a HUGE Le Creuset oven?
As I've always gotten great, sound advice when making my other LC decisions, I'd thought I'd turn here first for guidance . . .
I'm trying to decide WHICH SIZE huge LC round oven to buy. Is there such a thing as just too big?
I'm wavering between the 9qt and the 13-1/4qt rounds. It certainly won't be used on a daily, or even weekly necessarily, basis. But, I'd love a large one for cooking for a crowd (think chili, spaghetti sauce, etc). The biggest I have right now is the 6-3/4qt oval, and it really suits my needs pretty well, but I'd love a bigger one for those times when there's just a larger crowd than that! I'd likely be buying either at the outlet w/ a coupon, so price isn't quite the factor it would be for either of those at full retail (I think there's a $100 difference at retail, less than $50 at outlet sale price) - in case that influences anyone's answer!
Thanks for any/all input y'all might have!
I had a similar question about two years ago when the LC all purpose round oven I had used for ten years became too small for my evolving soup making.
My soups are good, really good, and I wanted to make enough to freeze some before Mr Shallots devoured it all.
I measure my double oven, played with sizes that would fit on my cook top, and then went to the outlet store. (I thought about taking along a five pound sack of flour.) I tried out the different sizes. Held them as far away from my body as I would a hot oven. Tried them with the lids on and off, and with a smaller LC piece in to mimic the weight of the food being cooked.
I also reminded myself that I'm getting older and my upper arm strength will not improve with another decade.
And I chose what I can lift, safely, that works oh so well for me.
As langniappe, I'm finding that some things I squeezed into Olde Dependable are a bit improved by having more air move around them as they brown/roast in the new oven.
I have a 7.5 round LC and regularly use it for dinner parties of 10 people -- with enough for leftovers. I don't cook meat, though -- but if you're using it for chili, sauce, curries, pasta dishes, I think the 9 qt would be all you need. Like I said, I do pretty well w/the 7.5, but maybe you'll have bigger crowds. Plus, you already have th 6.75, and I think I'd rather use two smaller french ovens in a pinch, rather than trying to maneuver that monstrous 13.25!
As other posters have said, weight becomes a factor.. could you consider an alternative approach - brown materials in batches, and then cooking in a large stockpot? The stuff you mentioned - soups, chili, sauce, would fit fine in that type of pot. I would think a larger LC would be more useful for things like braises, where you need surface area and the ability to stuff the thing into the oven - so if you wanted to cook 8-10 veal shanks at once, you'd have the space...
Or you just might want to buy another of the same or close size, that way you could split the usage for 2 different dishes if need be..
I agree with those who would use two LC fairly large pots versus one LC *extra-large* pot.
I can see myself purchasing a 9 quart in the future, for bigger roasts, but I've decided that, for me, the 13-plus-quart capacities are just too big to work with safely.
The largest LC I have right now is the 7.something bouillabaisse pot. It's been *extremely* useful to me, even in the short time I've had it. It's not *horrible* when I'm lifting it full on or off the cooktop. But it takes a little doing to get it into or out of the oven when it's full. If I approach it "head on", the oven door is down and makes for a little bit of an awkward distance. If I approach it more from the side...well, I can tell that's not so good for the back, since one has to twist a little.
So I vote for two moderately sized vessels, versus one gargartuan. ;-)
Although I'd love to have one larger than my largest (a 7.5 qt) I don't think I could lift it comfortably. I'm arthritic in my wrists, already....
I went with the 10 quart All-Clad Rondeau, instead, for my gigantic cooking sessions. Not quite as "low heat" friendly as the Le Creuset, but much lighter to haul around.
(I didn't pay that price, however. I got "seconds" for about 1/2 price, from the All Clad outlet site, during their sale this past August)
This would be my recommended approach. The weight issue is a serious one when you handling hot food, particularly if you are putting it in and out of the oven. My biggest LCs and Staub are the 7 quart variety, and then after that it is all high quality stainless steel. Even copper is very heavy. My largest pot is a 24 quart Tramontina stainless steel stockpot. I use it about two or three times a year, but when you need a big pot, this is a good idea. I am not counting the big graniteware lobster and seafood pots, as I use them only for steaming shellfish. Those are even bigger.
Check out this puppy from Demeyere, Becky: 33.8 quarts. Uhh...what would *I* make that I need a 33-quart pot for? http://www.abesofmaine.com/item.do?it...
Yes, one solution is to go for a somewhat lighter material when we need bigger vessels. (I like Demeyere, so I went to look for a 12-quart jobbie or so and that's how I found the linked monster.)
Often enough, I have dinners with either two entrees or an entree and another dish that needs a good size pot for cooking. So multiple seven-quarts make sense for me. I don't can or preserve, though. I doubt I have a pot that's big enough for someone who does. So maybe if someone cans or preserves foods or grows tomatoes and puts up sauce a 10-or-plus-quart pot would make more sense for them?
Yes, re your wrists. People have to really be aware, before they make the investment, of how heavy those pots can be when full. Even on the 7.+ bouillabaisse pot and the 5-quart casserole, I've learned to remove the lids before moving them around. I just can't imagine handling the larger pots when they're full of food.
Holy moly! That's one hefty hunka steel. My wrists are what's holding me back from investing in a replacement for my old Revereware 12 qt. stock pot, in fact. I just can't decided if I could comfortably move and lift a CLAD version of a stock pot large enough to hold the large batches of soup I routinely make. However, I've gotten so used to the great simmer on my LC and All-Clad, over the past decade or so, that I have to be eternally vigilant when using the old RW, because things scorch so easily....
I'm just in a quandary. : /
How big a crowd are you talking about?
I have an 8qt oval. I don't use it daily. But on sundays I do cook sunday dinner at my mother's hosue for 8 of us. I'll use this pot for soup, stew, chili, etc on those occasions. For 8 of us, I've neve come close to filling it. I don't make leftovers...maybe about 12 servings...enoguh for people to have seconds if they wish and there's usually a serving for my husband to take for lunch the next day. I could easily imagine getting enough out of this pot for 15 + if I filled it.
It's a heavy pot. When transporting from stove to fridge to car to parent's house I have my husband handle it. I couldn't handle anything heavier than this.
I agree with the others that 9qt is probably all you want sizewize. And depending on how you define a crowd it's probably more than enough capacity.