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how often do you use your gratin dish?

i am contemplating getting a gratin dish but i don't know if it's for utility or as a fetish object. how often do you use yours and for what recipes? i generally cook for only 2 people if that makes a difference in terms if easily substitutable vessels.

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  1. Hi,
    I use a cast iron gratin for fish, calzones, pot pies, & baked pasta in addition to vegetable/potato dishes. They're also good for reheating food in the oven-leftovers taste much better that way. An 8" skillet or 1 qt baking dish could serve the same purpose, but the gratin seems to fill a niche & is versatile & looks good on the table. The 1 qt oval is a good size for 1 or 2 people.

    1 Reply
    1. Mine gets a lot of airplay in the summer for ratatouille, in fact my wife got it for me as a gift specifically because she thought it would be perfect for it (and it is).

      That said, my ratatouille always turned out just fine in a ceramic baker. Other than looking prettier, the gratin doesn't bring any additional benefit and I could do just fine without it.

      1. Hi, jhonni:

        I use my gratins a lot, maybe 4 times a week. In addition to the named use, the "gratin" shape works really well for roasting meats and vegetables. I have one large and tall enough for a turkey, and a set of 5-inchers for individual gratins. My favorite use these days is for blackberry crumbles.

        Depending on the handle arrangement, metal and construction, you can also saute and fry in them, and the common oval shape is a great substitute for a dedicated fish skillet.

        They present well at the table, and usually transport well to functions, and several can fit in the oven at the same time. Different sizes usually nest, and therefore store, nicely.

        Very versatile with just a bit of imagination. Not really a fetish item.

        Aloha,

        Kaleo

        4 Replies
        1. re: kaleokahu

          Your turkey one is made of what material? And can you put it on the stovetop to make gravy?

          1. re: E_M

            Hi, E_M:

            You know better than to ask *me* the material--it's tinned copper. Deglazes beautifully for gravy.

            Aloha,
            Kaleo.

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Yeah, yeah, I knew that.

              It's just when I hear the word "gratin dish" I think porcelain or stoneware and creme brueles. I forget that they are made of other materials. I was thinking of buying some myself, and trying to determine the most useful material. This thread has been helpful.

              1. re: E_M

                Hi, E_M:

                That's good news. FYI and IMHO, copper "gratin" pans are about the best deals going for copper on eBay, and neglected because of the misguided idea that gratins are all they're useful for.

                You just need to be careful that your guests don't dig in with steel knives and forks.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

        2. I'm another of the "I use it for everything" category -- in fact, gratins are probably the most infrequent use!

          1. I love 3 qt Le Creuset one and use it pretty often for everything from cobblers to baked fish to mac and cheese to traditional gratins. Oh and Ina Gartens brownie pudding is cooked in one too. I also have the smaller 1 quart that I use for smaller portions and for browning the topping on baked ravioli.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rasputina

              Hmm... I think 3 qt would be good for my family of 5, but twist my arm for a 1 qt - brownies, huh? Yum.

            2. I love my Le Creuset gratin dish because it lets me make a cheese sauce on top of the stove and then add the pasta and broil it until brown and then serve. Also great for make ahead dishes that will bake in the oven because I can take it out of the frig, get it heated up on top of the stove and then finish in the oven. It's my favorite piece--and we are a party of two also.

              1. I have sizes 20 and 32 (3 qt) by Le Creuset, and I love them. I make crisps mostly in the smaller one, and baked pasta, fish and potatoes, broiled fish, and larger crisps in the 3 qt, which I've used twice this week.

                1. All the time. The #28 one that was my mother's is perfect for roasting chicken. I supplemented it with smaller ones via ebay. The #24 is great for stuffed pasta shells, or baked chiles rellenos, or actual gratins. The smallest #20 is excellent for glamorizing heated-up leftovers [grated cheese topping makes them gratins].

                  We're usually cooking just for our two selves, but the gratins are also attractive cook-and-serve dishes for entertaining. The ceramic and pyrex bakers are too large or too small or too beat-up.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: ellabee

                    Hi Ellabee, would you be willing to measure the volume that your #28 holds? I'm trying to add a 2 qt to my collection, and I am thinking that might be it?

                    1. re: Callalily

                      Just measured, and it holds 2 quarts. Thanks for spurring me to learn something useful.

                      There are great deals on LC gratins on eBay, and the #28 shows up pretty regularly. Happy hunting!

                      1. re: ellabee

                        Thanks for confirming what I thought! I'd hate to buy something on ebay and have it not be the right size....

                      2. re: Callalily

                        Lily - I just measured my size 32, and it holds 2 quarts, right to the rim. (I always thought it was a 3 qt., but no.)

                        1. re: Jay F

                          Oh no! Now I'm confused! 28 or 32? Ellabee measured her 28 and said it is 2 qts. Since the 24 is 1 qt and the 36 is 3.1 qts, I would imagine that 30 or 32 would be 2 qts....but?

                    2. Does anyone know if you can put a stoneware/ceramic gratin under a broiler briefly? I would like to make some desserts in my gratin dishes with a brief blast in the broiler.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: atg106

                        I have a Le Creuset stoneware gratin dish, and they say it can be used under a broiler, as long as the max. temp. is 500 F/260 C and there is a 2.5+ inch gap between the dish rim and the heat source.

                        http://cookware.lecreuset.com/cookwar...

                      2. I have a nesting set of two ceramic gratin dishes and use them almost every day for either cooking in or serving in or re-heating in.
                        Mostly for fish, veg, meatloaf, pot pie, cassarole type things

                        I love them. Often I can poach some fish and veg in the large one and toss a salad in the small one...then they can get wrapped and go in the fridge or get reheated if it's a cassarole type thing

                        1. I have both the 1 qt (24) and the 3 qt (36) Le Creuset gratin dishes, and love them, Does anybody know what size or # a 2 qt Le Creuset gratin dish would be? 28? 30? I've resigned myself to having to find it on eBay, used because they don't make it anymore, but am not sure which size would be considered 2 qt and I have several recipes that call for that size. Thanks!

                          16 Replies
                          1. re: Callalily

                            It's the #28 (see my reply above).

                            What kinds of things do you use the #36 for?

                            1. re: ellabee

                              it's pretty big, so for larger quantities. The most recent le creuset cookbook has some recipes that use this size that I plan to try. I just got it about 2 weeks ago. The employee at the outlet store says she used is for serving too...heat it in the oven and then place the pasta and then the sauce over (like spagetti or linguini) and I will use it for roasting veggies, we like large quantites of veggies and that's much prettier than the roaster to serve with :-)

                              1. re: Callalily

                                Would any one know how many quarts a standard 9 x 13 baking dish holds?

                                1. re: blondelle

                                  Just measured mine and it will hold 14 cups to the rim (or 3 1/2 qts)

                                  1. re: Callalily

                                    Thanks so much! Guess I would have to halve the recipe to fit in the #28.

                                    1. re: blondelle

                                      You are welcome, it's a nice fact to know! How much does your #28 hold? There seems to be a quandary...on eBay some list the #28 as 2 qt and some 1 1/2 qt...and the same with the #32, some say 2 qt and some show 2 1/2 qt??? I wonder if they made them with different side heights or something?

                                      1. re: Callalily

                                        Well, to clarify: I filled a 2-qt saucepan to the rim (fuller than I'd do in real life), and poured it into the #28. It went right up to the rim of the gratin, way fuller than I would fill it in any actual cooking, but it just fit.

                                        I've always assumed that's how cookware capacities are measured, and that their real-world cooking capacity is smaller.

                                        If you already have a #36 and a #24, a #28 or a #30 will both work for recipes calling for a 2-qt gratin, IMO. A #32 is too close to what you already have unless a really nice one appears at a good price.

                                        1. re: ellabee

                                          Thanks Ellabee. I find a few 28's and 32's on eBay but so far no 30's. As a side note...I have now "won" 2 - 20's this last week, since I saw those and thought they would make great individual sized portions! eBay is so frustrating though, the auction bidding can make you crazy! I was bidding on two from the same seller (same color) and only won the first one! Oh well, now I'll have a couple more colors in the kitchen, yellow-orange(not flame) and cobalt blue. Should be OK with my cherry collection!

                                          1. re: Callalily

                                            I'm not sure there was a #30 produced. Probably the #32 would be most useful for you as a 2-qt. But if you snag a nice #28, you can always reduce the recipe just a bit (or put the excess in a cute little #20!) Happy bidding!

                                            1. re: Callalily

                                              "I find a few 28's and 32's on eBay but so far no 30's."

                                              Is there a 30? I thought it went 20 - 24 - 28 - 32 - 36.

                                              BTW, I used my 32 yesterday to roast a 3-1/2 lb. chicken.

                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                I "won" my like-new #32 in cherry yesterday! Can't wait to get it! It was the first #32 I had seen in cherry on there so I was not about to lose on it! I'm a monster when I have a mission! Of course today in my inbox I get a recipe that uses a 1 1/2! Haha! Does anybody have or need 4 different sizes of gratin dishes? Wait, that would be 5 with the 20's! That would be crazy, although they certainly don't take up much room since they all nest nicely...

                                                1. re: Callalily

                                                  Congratulations! My ebay foray last fall (right around this time -- gratins might be a seasonal longing) made me the happy owner of four different sizes. One was my mother's #28, already here. The #24 and #20 have been in frequent rotation, but so has the 'oddball' Descoware that I couldn't resist. It nests neatly between the #28 and #24. It's 26cm long, a bit shallower than any of the Le Creusets, and has a bare waffle-cut cast iron base. That's what made it irresistible (that and its very low price) -- it matches a 2-qt Descoware casserole that was one of the first pieces of cookware I got on my own back in the mid-1970s.

                                                  1. re: ellabee

                                                    That Descoware one sounds intriguing...don't blame you for that! Gotta love that these tools last forever! I've been "cooking" for 35 years (as soon as I was old enough to reach the burners, I cooked for my parents and I) However, it's just over the last few years that I've started collecting proper quality tools and branching out in my cooking.

                                                2. re: Jay F

                                                  Jay, roasted chicken sounds wonderful! I will have to try using mine for that. I usually use the French oven, that's more like baking it though.

                                                  1. re: Callalily

                                                    Hi, Lily -

                                                    Yes, it's important to let air circulate around the chicken.

                                                    This was one of the best chickens I've ever made. You prep the chicken (clean, then salt inside and out, and pepper outside), then put a lemon you've poked 25 holes in with a toothpick in the cavity, then tie off the legs. My chicken was probably 3.5# with the innards removed.

                                                    I roasted it at 350 BREAST SIDE DOWN for 30 minutes, then 30 breast side up, then another 15 minutes at 400, then let it rest while I made the vegs. Just perfect. YMMV, based on oven and weight differences.

                                                    Last night I turned it into stock, which I will use to make a chicken soup with vegetables, ditalini, and some parmigiano-reggiano rinds tomorrow.

                                                    I'm happy you won your auction. the 32 is one of my most used pieces of cooking equipment.

                                                    1. re: Jay F

                                                      Thanks Jay, I am happy that it's a matching one, maybe hubby won't notice that I have 3 sizes! Hehe. I printed your chicken recipe and will definitely try it. Will be fun to challenge my hubby's grill version. Used my 36 for roasting spaghetti squash and my 24 for chicken marinara last night. I'll post a photo later...

                              2. I have two, a thin copper one with a bunch of copper showing through that I use for clafoutis and a Pillivuyt that gets a lot of use for roasting vegetables. (Tonight is Brussell sprouts night.) I agree with Kaleo that they are very versatile and work well for small roasts and a number of stove top uses.

                                1. I have a size 28 (not sure what that really means) LC gratin dish I received as a wedding gift a gazillion years ago. I use it -- never.

                                  10 Replies
                                  1. re: CindyJ

                                    Hi Cindy...what color is it? Maybe you need to sell it :-).

                                    1. re: Callalily

                                      It's flame. As far as I know, that was the only color LC had available in the early 70's. I keep thinking I should give it away, but I know that as soon as I do, I'll find a use for it and wish I hadn't. It doesn't take up much room, so I'll hold onto it until one of my kids asks for it.

                                      1. re: CindyJ

                                        Hi, CindyJ: "...I'll find a use for it and wish I hadn't [sold it]."

                                        Sprechen Zie nicht Kartoffel? 'Uala kahiki? Patata? Pommes de Terre? Erdapfel? Kartoplya? Kartoska? Bulwa? Bolbos? Terrae tubere?

                                        Yiddish alone has TEN words for your "use": Erdepl, Yavkes, Barabolye, Mandebere, Greln, Zhemikes, Gaydekes, Balabanes, Bulbes, and Kartofl.

                                        Translation: POTATOES. Knock yourself and your gratin out. You don't have enough days left to use your gratin too much!

                                        Aloha,
                                        Kaleo

                                        1. re: kaleokahu

                                          The recipe on www.lcstores.com under the gratin section turned out great here!

                                          1. re: Callalily

                                            Did you use the size 36, Lily? And is this the same as Potatoes Anna?

                                            1. re: Jay F

                                              I didn't have my dish yet, but that's the size it calls for. I'm sure you could use the 32. I used my 12-in fry pan (the one time I've used that!). I used half and half instead of whipping cream and that was just fine!

                                              1. re: Jay F

                                                I have not made potatoes Anna, but from googling the recipe, looks like more of a cream sauce in the recipe I used. Might try that Anna one!

                                                1. re: Callalily

                                                  It looks good, whatever it is. And I have the frypan, too.

                                                  1. re: Jay F

                                                    I'm sure it would look nicer in the Au gratin dish, but it was tasty just the same!

                                      2. re: CindyJ

                                        The numbers on the LC gratins are the length in centimeters (the actual pan, not counting the handles). I didn't use the #28 gratin I inherited from my mother for years and years, until I began roasting chicken regularly. It's perfect for a 3 to 5 lb. bird.