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Should I convert from Crockpot to Le Creuset?

I suppose I'm asking the wrong people: most of you guys like the high end stuff and are real chefs. I'm just a lowly housewife and have done most of my cooking in a Crockpot. Never even heard of Le Creuset till I joined Chowhound. A Le Creuset outlet opened up nearby and on a complete impulse, my husband bought me 2 pots for my birthday next month. (Although he claims he was considering buying me one anyway--I guess he reads Chowhound now I'm a member. :-)

What bothers me are that I hate impulse buys and--worse--I can only return the pots "in unused condition," as it says on the receipt.

The two pots are the oval 6.75 dutch oven and the other is a 3.5 oval. One was a second and the other was clearance, so I'm sure they were a steal--BUT I've lived all my life without these and wonder if I should stick with my Crockpots which have been adequate until now. Oh, and we've got a complete set of Anolon pots and pans which are very nice--but the non-stick surface doesn't give me any sticky bits when I try to make gravy (but I only make gravy once a year at the most).

P.S. My husband thinks I should keep them.

P.P.S. I still hate that I can't try one out to see what I think.

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  1. I don't think of a crockpot or LC as an either/or proposition. I thought people used crockpots because they wanted to be able to leave something cooking low and slow for a very long time--often when they weren't home. LC is for regular cooking on the stove that may also include braising in the oven low and slow. Do you want to brown things and then stew them? Then LC. Are you comfortable with the weight, which can be considerable when full.

    1 Reply
    1. re: escondido123

      I'm going to second escondido - I have both and use both. I have two crockpots which I use for some recipes and I find them helpful when I'm going to be gone or busy, busy, busy for several hours. I have 3 LC pieces which get used when I want something that can move from stovetop to oven - braises or stews or chicken pot pies or casseroles. I like having the flexibility of both. The weight of the pots is a consideration, though. My LC dutch oven is the next size smaller and is quite heavy when full. You can carry it to the table and serve out of it because it is pretty. I have two LC braisers one is smaller than the other and gets more use because it is not quite so heavy!

    2. I'm going to be slightly evil and suggest getting one from a retailer that you'd be able to return to test it out. Also, it might be worth looking into the benefits of the credit card you used to purchase it. Some American Express cards have return protection where you can return to them directly if a retailer won't take a return.

      2 Replies
      1. re: olympia

        You know, that's a good idea. I told my husband that if I had gotten one from Ross (or whatever discount store it is that I see them now and then), I'm sure they wouldn't question whether I had tried it or not.

        I did call the LC store to verify that I'm not allowed to try it out and was told yes, that's true. "But you have 45 days to decide!" Wow, that's helpful: I get to stare at them for 45 days and not know how they work.

        1. re: Thanks4Food

          Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table as well as the department store have good return policies too. There are great sales at Bloomingdale's sometimes - just earlier in the week there was a 4.5 qt oval for $99!

      2. I think the purchase would depend on your purpose. I would agree with escondido123 in saying it's not an either/or. I have both but they serve different purposes. I think if you normally cook with a crockpot, you'd have to ask yourself if you're willing to sacrific the convenience for more tending to with the LC (since with LC, you'd be cooking on the stove or oven). Good luck with your decision!

        1. I have the LC 7.5 qt oval and use it constantly. I admit to having an old-fashion cooking style and like to brown then braise or roast in the same pot. If this is the type of cooking you like to do, by all means keep your gift. I am able to be home to cook like this, so the crockpot might be your only way to braise. I almost never use my crockpot in cool weather anymore, but use it in the summer when I don't want to use the oven heating the kitchen. I agree that having both is nice.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Terrie H.

            That's a good point about summer for the Crockpot and winter for the dutch oven. I have a half ham I'm planning to cook for dinner tonight and actually if I don't use the LC dutch oven, I'm not sure what I'd use--probably a 9x13 glass dish. The only roasting pan I own is a big turkey roaster that I've only used once for a turkey (I'm lousy at turkey and prefer chicken anyway) and mostly now use for roasted potatoes. So you've all got me leaning towards keeping the big oval for roast chicken, pot roast...half hams. I'll have my husband take back the smaller one for now--till I see how much I love this big guy.

            1. re: Thanks4Food

              Sounds like the perfect opportunity to break your LC in. I think you will be happy you kept it.

          2. "I suppose I'm asking the wrong people"

            And yet you pressed the post buttom? :)

            "I've lived all my life without these and wonder if I should stick with my Crockpots which have been adequate until now."

            The truth is that you won't know until you try once. I would try one the 6.75 quart one because that is the more useful size.

            Slow cooker and enameled cast iron cookware (Le Creuset) have some similarity and some difference. They are both for slow cooking, but you have more flexibility with an enameled cast iron cookware. You have a much wider range of heat setting and you can add ingredient. Of course, you can do some light searing and pan frying on it. On the other, it is not like you have to have one. Many great cooks do not use or need one.