Advice on Le Creuset pan choice - gratin or something else?
I was initially thrilled to get a Le Creuset oval gratin pan for Xmas, but became concerned that it's stoneware rather than cast iron. I know this is going to be a pan that will see a lot of heavy use, and it would be great if I could use it on the stovetop as well. The color wasn't what we wanted anyway, so I returned it to Williams-Sonoma and now have a gift card for $40 or so. The most economical option is to just get the stoneware in a different color, but I think I'd like to apply the store credit to one of the more versatile enameled cast iron pans.
My question is, if I'm going to slap down some extra cash, which pan should I be investing my money in? The most obvious choice is the au gratin baker, but part of me wonders if we'd be better served by another pan, like the wide round or oval dutch oven.
My husband and I are both vegetarian, so no meat cooking, but we roast a lot of veggies, and the pan should ideally be good to send under the broiler (hence the initial request of a gratin pan). We have some great All-Clad pans for the stovetop, but this would really be our first high-quality oven-friendly pan, so I want to make the right choice. It's unlikely that we'll be getting a second Le Creuset anytime soon.
You can try the 3.5 qt brazier (sp?). It is low and wide and has a tight lid.
It's good for veges on the stove and in the oven.
A brasier is better for "stovetop to oven" function. A Le Cresuset stoneware gratin is not meant for stoveop, but it can be used for oven, broiler, microwave...etc. Moreover, it is much cheaper.
Given your parameters (vegetarian, roasting, broiling, GC$) and what you haven't mentioned (braises and sautes) I'd go with the oval gratin. Just don't lose your head and get one oversized for your largest hob if you want it to pinch-hit on the stovetop.
I would save your gift card for something else and take advantage of the great in store LC sales now at Bloomies and Sur La Table. They are phasing the standard LC line out to be replaced by the Signature line. You can get some awesome deals now. I would get the 3.5 buffet casserole. You can use it to make a gratin, to roast veggies, and for frying and braising too. Most bang for the buck and much more useful than just the gratin pan.
I really agree with this. I've had mine for over 30 years and find it to be so versatile. It does everything from pommes anna to beef stroganoff (sorry, know this won't be your dish, I'm just saying). I use it for roasting veggies, making lasagna, even made a gigantic pie in it once. And they look marvelous on a buffet or dinner table. You won't regret it. Mine is white, but they come in many great colors now. All my LC are different colored, it somehow works so don't stress about what to choose. Get the one on sale!