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Dec 12, 2010 09:05 AM

Does casserole material matter?

Hi, Chowhounders. I am planning to make this braised veal shoulder recipe for Christmas dinner: I noticed that it calls for an enameled cast-iron casserole. I do not have one, but I do have a metal, oven-safe Dutch oven with lid, and am wondering if this will serve just as well, or if I need to make a special purchase to make this meal. (We're on a budget this year, so will be less thrilled than I usually would be about having to make a special purchase to make this meal.


If it weren't for a special holiday meal, of course I would not be as worried about switching things up. Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this!

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  1. The link for the recipe does not work so I cannot check the detail.
    Does the recipe require the certain size of the casserole? how big your dutch oven is?
    If it is similar, should be just fine or even better. a Dutch oven is excellent for braising. and braising is generally very forgiving. if you can fix that link, I will take a look later .

    1. It depends. You need a pot that will transfer and hold the heat in an even manner and not scorch with hot spots.

      "but I do have a metal, oven-safe Dutch oven with lid"

      If i needed to use my mom's farberware I would be nervous, my calphalon has worked great

      As hobby asked, give us the name and we can google and give some more feedback

      1. when you say "metal."

        stainless should be fine, but aluminum or cast iron may react with wine, tomatoes, or other acid in the recipe, and totally wreak the flavor of the dish.

        1. In a casserole there are 2 cooking phases
          - browning the meat
          - cooking the meat and sauce in the oven, covered.

          Enameled steel/iron that is large enough will work for both. But if you don't have that, you can certainly use 2 pans. For example a skillet could used for browning, while any covered ovenproof pan will do for the 2nd phase. You can even improvise with a foil cover.

          The serving dish can the same or different.

          I wouldn't recommend a tomato braise like this for a newish cast iron with a barely developed seasoning. But there shouldn't be a problem with well seasoned cast iron, stainless steel or anodized aluminum. There isn't anything super special about enameled cast-iron for this application - except it is heavy, the enamel resists acidic sauces, and fashionable.


            (not all text is showing but click on link and it should work)

            5 Replies
            1. re: HowlinPup

              paulj is right but if your DO is alminum or cast iron, you might want to use a small roasting pan (stainless steel) instead for the 2nd phase and make a tight lid with alminum foil.

              If your DO is stainless steel (All Clad), it is just fine. I usually use my Le Creuset for those recipes but sometmes use my All-Clad stockpot (6qt) , too. AC stockpot is thick enough to handle braising.

              The recipe looks good. I would like to try it too! Happy cooking!

              1. re: hobbybaker

                Thank you. I looked, and the DO is a Calphalon 8788 1/2--the description on Amazon is "heavy-gauge aluminum". So roasting pan? Or are there different types of aluminum?

                I feel so ignorant about all this! Thanks to all for your thoughts.

                1. re: HowlinPup

                  Something like this
                  an anodized aluminum 8.5 qt DO is perfectly good for this job. In fact anything described as DO is fine.

                  1. re: paulj

                    Thanks to all of you! I will try the recipe with my regular DO and see what happens.

                  2. re: HowlinPup

                    No. what I meant was you can use a small roasting pan for braising in the oven, too after the meat was browned and degrazing is doe in fry-pan/saute pan etc. but you will be just fine with yours to process everything - so forget about the roasting pan. Happy cooking!