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Braiser/Rondeau

e
escadabelle Aug 3, 2012 05:43 AM

Are these terms interchangeable or is there a distinction between them? Which material is most recommended? Enameled cast iron or aluminum core encased in stainless steel? Thanks!

 
 
  1. b
    biscottifan Aug 4, 2012 09:47 AM

    I have the medium sized braiser (left side picture). I have used it for small chuck roasts and a chicken thighs and rice dish. I also have a medium sized French Oven but if I had to choose between them I think I'd keep the braiser.

    3 Replies
    1. re: biscottifan
      e
      escadabelle Aug 6, 2012 05:13 AM

      Thank you.

      1. re: biscottifan
        w
        wildwildwest Aug 17, 2012 12:14 AM

        I have 5 different and various sizes of Le Creuset pots. All are round except my recent addition, which is an oval braiser in the beautiful Caribbean blue color. They all work well with braising, and they also are good at frying, soups, stews, etouffee, jambalaya, and the like. My Le Creuset collection totals around 24 now, or so. I really have run out of room to store em, but I wouldn't trade them for any other pots on the market. Just don't drop them on a hard tile floor; I dropped my largest round soup pot (brand new, huge, and full of gumbo) on a tile floor, and it cracked completely in half. :(

        ps: I don't work for Le Creuset, I just love em!

        1. re: wildwildwest
          e
          escadabelle Aug 17, 2012 03:29 AM

          That Caribbean blue braiser looks gorgeous! Sorry to hear about your largest round (and gumbo!). Did you buy a collection or piece by piece?

      2. v
        VitalForce Aug 3, 2012 08:45 AM

        Molly Stevens in her book “All About Braising” writes that braising pots should be heavy, hold food snugly, be high enough to contain the liquid, and have a secure lid fit (unless using foil for the lid). Avoid thin steel or aluminum. The best shape for the pot is one that mimics that of the food being braised, without leaving much extra space. So different pots (tall, shallow, round, oval) for different foods. Types of pots she recommends are: Staub and Le Creuset enamelled (or plain Lodge) cast iron Dutch ovens, large metal skillet with lid, rondeau, doufeau, braiser pan, bistro pan or buffet casserole (like the Le Creuset in the photo), gratin dish, baking dish, glazed terra-cotta casserole (though browning has to be done in another pan with the ceramic ones).

        3 Replies
        1. re: VitalForce
          e
          escadabelle Aug 3, 2012 01:57 PM

          Huh. So you can braise in a gratin or casserole? Well, since I already own those I might as well give them a try. Too bad there isn't a kindle version of Molly Steven's book because I won't be able to find that book over here where I live.

          1. re: escadabelle
            v
            VitalForce Aug 3, 2012 02:52 PM

            You could try them out, perhaps with foil as a cover for the gratin, and do browning in a frying pan if necessary. But consider if the gratin's sides would be high enough to contain both the solids and liquids. Generally the solids will be partly, but not totally, submerged in the liquid, and with the lid close overhead. Otherwise, if they were submerged, it would be more like a soup or stew.

            You could probably have the book sent to you via the various Amazon national sites or Abebooks.com.

            1. re: VitalForce
              e
              escadabelle Aug 6, 2012 05:15 AM

              Thank you.

              If I get on a braising roll then maybe I'll consider the hassle of importing the Molly Stevens. She sure has a lot of fans here.

        2. k
          kaleokahu Aug 3, 2012 08:09 AM

          Hi, escadabelle:

          Thanks to terminology creep, the terms in USA are converging. Both terms have marketing pop, and so you will see them continue to be applied pretty much willy-nilly. This causes confusion all around.

          You can braise in almost any lidded vessel, but not well. Fine braises require striking a balance between low liquid volume (relative to the cut or joint) and deeper immersion depth. If you think about it, that makes a shallow, round pan less than ideal, and would make braising taller cuts impossible. In French cooking, a braisiere is a rectangular form like this. http://www.google.com/imgres?q=Mauviel+braising&start=172&um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&biw=1252&bih=609&tbm=isch&tbnid=ODepwyjR6mpSTM:&imgrefurl=http://hongkong.asiaclassified.com/en/Rectangular%2Bbraising%2Bpan%2Bwtih%2Blid%2B-%2BMAUVIEL%2B1830%2BM%27%2Btradition%2Bseries--4cf9b804e62d6c59204dd900&docid=URntl1phcqWVSM&imgurl=http://asset2.asiaclassified.com/images/photo/computed/hongkong//2010/10/08/15/Rectangular-braising-pan-wtih-lid-MAUVIEL-1830-M-4cf9b804e62d6c59204dd900-0_272_204_s.jpeg&w=272&h=204&ei=ieUbUIuxM6KDiwLm1IC4CA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=433&vpy=276&dur=186&hovh=163&hovw=217&tx=96&ty=91&sig=105393718794452374034&page=8&tbnh=130&tbnw=186&ndsp=24&ved=1t:429,r:14,s:172,i:290 And you want to select the size pan that most closely matches the size of cut, so that the braising liquor is as flavorful as possible (large volume = diluted flavor, small volume = intenser).

          A rondeau, on the other hand, is a saute-shaped pan with two looped handles, like this: http://www.google.com/imgres?q=Mauvie...

          Frankly, better braises can be done with and in a small graduated batterie of Dutch Ovens than what the pan men are marketing as braisers. But if what you're doing as "braising" is, e.g., browning and simmering chicken pieces and/or vegetables or stewing, then rondeaux make sense, too--just fill the pan.

          As for material, the ideal combination would be thick, with high specific heat and conductivity. Copper if you can afford/scrounge it, (very thick) anodized aluminum if you can find it, and enameled cast iron would be my order of preference, but the latter sacrifices conductivilty.

          Aloha,
          Kaleo

          11 Replies
          1. re: kaleokahu
            e
            escadabelle Aug 3, 2012 01:50 PM

            Wow, that's the first time I've laid eyes on a french braisiere before and it is really beautiful. Unfortunately, that's definitely not coming home to my tiny apartment kitchen even if I could find one where I live. Do home cooks really have various pan sizes for each cut/dish they want to braise?

            1. re: escadabelle
              k
              kaleokahu Aug 3, 2012 02:49 PM

              Hi, escadabelle: "Do home cooks really have various pan sizes for each cut/dish they want to braise?"

              Well, some do. It helps to start with sizes you already know fit your needs (e.g., you like to do 3-lb roasts or whole chickens). A set of just a few oval Dutch/French ovens that span your wider possible needs from quiet dinner alone to dinner party is very versatile all around. And another hint if you only have one or two is to reverse it and size the cut(s) to the pan--in reality that's what's happening with the pans you pictured in your OP if you're doing it right. If you do it backwards (and right) you may just have more leftovers. ;)

              Some might consider this ridiculous, but there actually exist specialty braising/poaching pans that are *made for specific cuts of meat*. Best known among them is probably the diamond-shaped "Turbotiere", which is intended for poaching an entire turbot (flounder). But there is also the "Jamboniere", a fiddle-shaped pan made specifically for a full joint of ham. At the point when a home cook has several sizes of each of these specialty pans, perhaps they ought to seek professional help.

              If you have a small kitchen, I would just stick with an oven/casserole or two. But the ECI rondeau you pictured is a versatile pan, too (functions as a skillet/stewpan and fits in the oven), albeit not so much as your only braising pan.

              Have Fun,
              Aloha,
              Kaleo

              1. re: kaleokahu
                sherrib Aug 5, 2012 07:52 PM

                "At the point when a home cook has several sizes of each of these specialty pans, perhaps they ought to seek professional help."

                I've been on a cookware binge recently and have been suffering from tremendous guilt feelings as a result. When I saw this post, I thought "not quite at this point yet, whew!"

                1. re: sherrib
                  k
                  kaleokahu Aug 5, 2012 09:35 PM

                  Hi, sherri:

                  LOL, would you prefer that I be an enabler, or an addiction counselor?

                  The longer I cook, the more I realize that graduated sizes make sense. But as with many things, only at the margins. No one--even the Dauphin--had *infinitely* variable sizes (and those who came close either did not cook or cared more for the collection-sorry, Martha). Animal physiology and familial cooking being what they are, there are only so many sizes that are truly useful. There are lambs and geese, and mutton and swine, but I've not (yet) found a need for a stockpot greater than 16L (although the 10 Imp.G Elkington waits expectantly). E.g., I had a restauranteur friend who had THE most gargantuan saute I've ever seen--it held 3 HUNDRED quail. He used it ONCE, and it hangs today on his resto's wall. Waste?

                  But for what and how many do you want to be reasonably prepared for? Is it possible that you will want to roast a >30lb turkey, poach a whole, small halibut? At this point in my life, those may not happen . What I *am* interested in is "trading up" within the size range that make sense *when* it makes sense. A >3mm tinned copper cocotte in the same general configuration as the ubiquitous LC 5.5L oven still eludes this Ahab.

                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  1. re: kaleokahu
                    e
                    escadabelle Aug 6, 2012 04:56 AM

                    This is all so deliciously dramatic.

                    1. re: escadabelle
                      e
                      escadabelle Aug 6, 2012 05:18 AM

                      Also, I'm more intrigued by the process of making the 300 quail capacity sautepan than anything.

                    2. re: kaleokahu
                      sherrib Aug 6, 2012 09:11 AM

                      Hi Kaleo,

                      " . . . would you prefer that I be an enabler, or an addiction counselor?"

                      Would I be HERE if I was seeking counseling?? Enable away!

                      Sherri

                      1. re: sherrib
                        k
                        kaleokahu Aug 6, 2012 09:21 AM

                        Hi, sherri:

                        Well then, you *need* every available size, because you never know what special joint or cut you may find. Full standing rib roast of bison? Perfect single poached smelt? Carmine's 300 quail? Maybe your house suddenly has a dozen unexpected dinner guests? You definitely need to be prepared for all eventualities. ;)

                        Aloha,
                        Kaleo

                        1. re: kaleokahu
                          sherrib Aug 6, 2012 02:29 PM

                          Kaleo,

                          The problem isn't that I mind being prepared OR squandering my children's future college educations on cookware. The problem is that there is no more space left in this house! I'm afraid that I have to wait for one of them to actually be in college so that I can turn an entire bedroom into a walk-in cookware haven.

                          1. re: sherrib
                            Sid Post Aug 6, 2012 04:18 PM

                            I'm not that bad yet but, my recent cookware purchasing binge is pushing the limits for where I live. It is wrong to need a bigger house to store your cookware? ;-)

                            1. re: sherrib
                              k
                              kaleokahu Aug 17, 2012 04:25 PM

                              Hi, sherrib:

                              Solution: Bigger house!

                              Aloha,
                              Kaleo

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