Okay, so I have a gift certificate to use for a new pot or pan and am torn between a small LC french oven and an LC saucier pan. I have a 7QT LC already for my big batch stuff. I just can't seem to decide which one is a better option, as I feel like they both could kind of do the same things. The small french oven seems prettier as we could serve directly from it, but I read on my butcher's site that the saucier pan is a kitchen essential. My household is just two adults and one toddler, if that makes any difference.
<I read on my butcher's site that the saucier pan is a kitchen essential.>
Saucier pan is nice, but I won't recommend a Le Creuset enameled cast iron saucier pan. An enameled cast iron for saucier pan or sauce pan is just not the way to go. Now, if you mean a triply Le Creuset, then I think it is not a bad idea:
You probably need both kinds of pans, but I would not buy an LC saucier. CI is very sluggish in heat response. That makes a noticeable (yet arguably acceptable) difference in a small oven, but IMO you will ultimately be sorely disappointed with a cast iron saucier--you would be fighting your controls a lot.
I have both the LC 2 qt DO and the LC 2.25 qt saucier. The DO is good for undisturbed cooking of rice, quinoa, etc. There really is not much room to stir. The saucier is large enough for stirring liquids.
If I had to pick one, I think it would be the saucier. The saucier's slightly larger size is better for preventing spill overs.
My vote is for the saucier with a cool touch handle cover to avoid burning curious hands.
The saucier might encourage you to think of different dishes and preparations, given it's shape and size. It's a very versatile pan and I'd love to have one (I have an AC copper saucier, but would love of the the LC cast iron).
Ah, so many pots and pans, such a lack of gift certs!
It sounds like your butcher's advice is general, since it is on a website. Trying to suggest items that most people, on average, might need. Whereas your question is specific to the needs of your family. What size french oven and which size saucier pan are you looking at? Do you already have a dependable saucepan, and/or a cast iron pan of some sort (which can therefore be used in the oven)? As you note, the french oven is versatile - it can be used both as stove-to-oven cookware and also as serveware. While the saucier could be used as cookware, it may be less usable as serveware, due to a hot handle which is not always as graceful as the streamlined french oven, and also would be easier for a toddler to reach....