Just got a Le Creuset as a gift...now what?
I was lucky enough to get a 7.5 (?) quart Le Creuset from my terrific aunt. But now I am a little intimidated by it. What should I make in there? I don't know a great deal about red meat, although I enjoy eating it if it's not too fatty. Are there some "easy" or "starter" recipes for people who aren't expert braisers? Also, do I have to do anything with it, or to it, before I use it for the 1st time?
Although I don't agree with biondanonima that the GREATEST use of Le Creuset is no-knead bread, it's one of the top uses.
Stews, pot roasts, rice pilafs, etc., etc., are also great. I hope you don't have an electric stove, BUT, if you do be sure to be VERRRRY careful and watchful to make sure they don't overheat. An electric stove can crack the enameled lining of Le Creuset. Otherwise, they're my favorite cooking utensils.
Make Bolognese. It's not really braising. You don't have the lid on for a considerable amount of the time. The 7.25 qt. is just the right size to make 4# of ground meat's worth. I use half beef and half pork. Or you can make a little less, using 2# of beef, 1# of pork. The beef has 15% fat, the pork, I think 20%.
If you've never done it before, lots of us can tell you how we do it.
What color did your aunt get you?
I make a "cost-conscious" cassoulet that's fairly simple. Ditto for pot roast. I LOOOOVE my Le Creuset dishes - I swear they make everything taste better.
Whole roasted chicken - so simple. Many wonderful recipes out there. My two favs are (1) to mix dried rosemary, crushed garlic, lemon zest, salt and olive oil, rub under skin, stuff chicken with more garlic and cut lemons, and (2) rub butter under skin, salt and pepper over skin, cook partially then add chicken broth, crushed garlic and white wine to make a jus.
I usually cook at 400 degrees for 2 - 2.5 hrs . I throw cut potatoes and onions for the last hour.