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Which LC piece should I add next?

So... I am completely addicted to Le Creuset. Thus far, all my pots are round. I have a 2.75 qt in Lemongrass, a 4.25 qt chef's multi pot in Marseille Blue, a 4.5 qt in Ocean, and a 5.5 qt in Rosemary. I'm looking to add a new piece or 2 to my arsenal. I'm trying to decide among a grill pan, a fry pan, an oval, and a buffet casserole/braiser.

Grill Pan- I have one of the Cuisinart countertop grills. Will this work better? Is it a "necessary" piece in your opinion?

Fry Pan- What size? is the interior a PFTE nonstick? If you have one do you love it?

Oval- What size would be best considering the rounds I have? Would it be more of a luxury anyway?

Buffet Casserole- Which of the 2 sizes is more versatile? Do you use yours often? What kind of things do you cook in it?

Thank you so much for the input. My 5.5 in Rosemary is the only piece I have purchased myself, the others have been gifts. (I know, I know the 4.5 qt is redundant... thank goodness I don't like Ocean that much... haha)

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  1. It really depends on what kind of cooking you do and for how many people. I use my gratin dish a lot for baked pastas and gratin potatoes; it's a #28 and looks to be about 8 x 11. I love that I can make the sauce on the stove top and then broil and serve from the same dish--it keeps it warm too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: escondido123

      I'd say on a regular basis it's dinner for 2 with leftovers or dinner for 4. Once every couple of months I entertain for 8-12.

    2. Hi, thatwineguy:

      If you're truly addicted, you're going to buy it all anyway, so all anyone here can do is help you manage the addiction as to the *sequence* in which you acquire it all. Personally, being a recovered addict myself, my to-be-unheeded advice is to stop while you're behind.

      That being said, I would next buy an oval oven (or in your addicted state, 4). Just this morning, as I'm eyeing my St. Patty's corned beef, I realize that I don't have a pan that's ideally-sized for braising this cut. Rounds waste internal volume and liquor, and unless they are so large as to protrude out past your hobs' edges, ovals will do as well on the stovetop.

      I don't think the fry pans are worth having at all, although I have 4. I have a grillpan, which I have occasionally used when I *must* have "grilled" meat and the weather is nasty, but seldom. I also have a large, round, shallower covered pan I think must be called the Buffet, and I think I may have used it 3 times, all out of guilt for having *not* used it. I think it would be an OK piece If I cooked oven dishes for 6 every meal, but I don't. It also is not deep enough to braise thicker cuts or joints if you also want them on a bed of aromatics.

      Which brings me full circle to the ovals... Not on your list are gratins...

      Aloha,
      Kaleo

      7 Replies
      1. re: kaleokahu

        Thanks so much! You're completely right, I know myself and eventually I'll probably get everything I want. I just can't go buy it all at the same time. ;-) So I'd rather buy pieces that would be more versatile in the short term and some of the more random stuff down the road. I wish I could stop myself, but I know I can't. hahahaha.

        Why exactly do you find the fry pans to be not worth having? I have a Lodge and a Scanpan fry pan, so realistically I don't NEED them, I guess I just thought maybe there was something that set it apart. (or really because for $100 I can add a new piece to my collection. ha)

        Are the gratins something I should consider before some of the things I've listed? And thank you for the real world experience with the brasier re thicker cuts.

        Much Appreciated!

        1. re: thatwineguy

          When you said oval, I immediately envisioned my gratin dish which is oval. I would still recommend it before another covered pot considering the selection you have--unless you never cook with open pans. Always good to have something for those side dishes.

          1. re: thatwineguy

            Hi, TWG:

            Frypans... This is all just my opinion... 1. Both the beige and black enamels suck at sticking. 2. Both enamels also sort of suck at cleaning up. 3. The black enamel makes it almost impossible to see your fond. 4. Fat runs through the drippings, making them suck at integral sauces. 5. The short little handles are a PITA from a leverage standpoint. 6. The short, little handles are a PITA from a burned hand standpoint. 7. The short little handles are a PITA and a danger from a roasting and tableservice standpoint. 8. If they're bigger than 8", the periphery is markedly cooler than the center, and the problem worsens when you have meat frying in the very center. 9. They do not nest to store very well. 10. There is something about them (perhaps the enamel or the casting mold) that pushes your oil/fat out to the edges, leaving the center dry. 11. While the exteriors are easy to clean if you're vigilant, they can cake on gunk where the enamel meets the bare base, and that build-up is difficult to remove. 12. I think the pouring "spout" is poorly designed.

            I think the gratins would be a really good choice. The pate terrine is good (for 2-person lasagna especially), and the roaster is good for veggies, not so much for meats that you want to make sauces from. Loaf pans would also be good.

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

            1. re: kaleokahu

              The idea of the 2 person lasagna is awesome! (You're such an enabler ;-) ) Thanks for the in depth coverage of the fry pans. They definitely sound like something I wouldn't be interested in at all. I really appreciate you sharing your experience.

            2. re: thatwineguy

              I, too, am a recovering addict. I own a Staub grill pan and also a Lodge fry pan. I don't think enameled cast iron is a good material for fry pans. I prefer the Lodge. I can get it as hot as I'd like and never worry about ruining it AND it only gets better with age. Grill pans (in any material) are very hard to clean so I'm not a fan of those at all. Definitely consider the gratin pan but only in enameled cast iron. LC makes them in stoneware. The stoneware is cheaper but not as versatile (they don't go on the stovetop.) The 6.75 wide round gets used the most in my home, but I cook for a family of five, I like leftovers, and I like to make a lot of stews and soups. The buffet casserole is versatile too, but it has the same function (for me anyway) as a good sauté pan. You really have to look at what you like to cook and how you want to do it. The gratin, for example is great for roasting a whole chicken and creating crispy skin. It's also, obviously, great for gratins. If you don't plan on making gratins or doing any kind of open roasting in the oven, then maybe the oval Dutch oven would be a better choice for you. You can make a whole chicken in that too (sans the crispy skin). And, it would be more versatile as a stovetop Dutch oven.

              1. re: sherrib

                Thanks! The gratin is getting a lot of love. You use the larger size gratin I assume?

                1. re: thatwineguy

                  Yes, I use the largest LC gratin dish and I love it.

          2. If l could only keep one of my LC pans the one l would keep in my Doufeu, no it is not the one l use the most, but it is the most unique, nothing out there cooks the way it does. l have the largest size.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

              How exactly do you refresh the ice on top? Do you remove the lid and dump then replace it and refresh the ice? I know it seems like a silly question... I've just always been curious.

              1. re: thatwineguy

                When first loading, l 'dome' the ice a little and it has lasted every time for 4 hours at 275 degrees.You dump nothing, the ice melts to water slower than you think and then the water evaporates over time.

                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                  Oh cool. My mom has one of the really small ones (2.5 qt maybe?) and I'm not sure she's ever actually use it with the ice. I think for her it's much more a decorative piece. Interesting that at 275 the ice doesn't completely melt!

            2. I would add the 3.5 qt. buffet casserole in Cassis with your colors. If you are cooking for 4 or less that size will work well. The Caribbean blue will also look nice with your other colors.

              2 Replies
              1. re: blondelle

                I haven't seen Cassis in person , but online I'm not a fan. I buy my LC at WS because I get the pro discount. So in general Cassis and Carribean wouldn't be an option. I think there may be an outlet near me though so it may be worth a trip. I'm not sure how great their everyday prices are in comparison to MSRP. Ive been considering Aubergine or Dijon for my next piece(s) but I'm just so in love with Marseille Blue that it may get another go 'round. I must say I also like the Bloomingdales Coastal Blue, but I find their prices insane. Do you by chance know if they are introducing any other new colors this year?

                1. re: thatwineguy

                  I think WS might have had the Caribbean and Cassis online at one point. Not sure. You might call the WS outlet. The Coastal Blue is gorgeous and it was much cheaper on sale in the original style when they were clearing it out to make room for the signature line. Now it's way too high. I like the Marseille, but not in love with it for some reason. I liked their Azure blue better.

                  I haven't heard of any new colors besides the ones that are already out.

              2. Wish I could buy more but the wife would be sharpening the knives if I did. WE did buy the Chefs Pan for our daughter and she loves it. Do they still make the 6.75 wide round? If not find one cause that is a great tool.

                2 Replies
                1. re: diamond dave

                  The new Chefs Pot from WS? I REALLY like it, it's between the soup pot and the bouillabaisse in size and much more realistic for me for making batches of soup. Or maybe I'm just so all about the color of it. I don't know if they still make the 6.75 wide any more. Seems like they discontinued a lot when they switch over to the signature collection company wide.

                  1. re: diamond dave

                    The 6.75 wide round LC has been discontinued. But there are still a few out there. I chose one of these instead of the 5.5 round dutch oven that I had intended to get next. I figured I could wait on the 5.5 quart, but if I wanted the wide round one, I better be gettn' it. And I am so glad I did. So far I have used it to roast 2 small chickens in and it worked great, and then I have used it for a large saute pot. It worked good for that too. It gives me a bit for surface space than my 7.25 oven and the sides are an inch or so lower. so it is great for sauteing veggies that start off big and then cook down. I did not have a lot of choices on the wide dutch oven. At least not if I wanted to save a little money. Some of them were priced as much or more than before they were discontinued.
                    I am now eyeing the LC cast iron baking dishes. I am wondering if I would like those better than the ceramic ones.

                  2. Buffet or au gratin IMO. My buffets have gotten regular use for everything from roasts that I sear on the stove and finish in the oven to curry and rice pilaf. I also used them for gratins before I bought the au gratin pans. I don't see the point of enameled grill pans, I prefer bare cast iron for that and I only use my grill pan for panini.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: rasputina

                      I feel like I could use the small buffet without its lid very similarly to the gratin? Is that assumption correct? I'm on the fence right now. Seems like the buffet or gratin makes sense. Then maybe a 6.75 oval so I have a larger pot if I need it. It would be so pretty in Marseille Blue. But I am loving the idea of a lasagna in the terrine. My finance would love that.

                      1. re: thatwineguy

                        I have the 3.5 qt buffet and use it for gratins. I like the round shape, that it has a lid, and the location and size of the handles. I also use it for searing, then braising, so for me the buffet is more multi-purpose than a gratin would be.

                        1. re: thatwineguy

                          The nice thing about the gratin is it has a finished edge around the top and "rolled" handles so I think it is a better looking serving piece. Great for manicotti and enchiladas, which I often make and serve in it for two.

                          1. re: thatwineguy

                            The main thing that I noticed after I got the gratin pans was that gratins, mac and cheese ect brown more evenly in the gratin pan since it has shorter sides than the buffet/brasier pan.

                        2. I really do like the braiser, ours gets used a lot and we actually got it because it was a deal, not because we thought we needed it. Ends up we use it quite a bit actually. I make a lot of dishes that start on the stove top and finish in the oven that don't have a lot of liquid, so it's a nice size.