Le Creuset French Ovens/Casseroles
I am able to finally buy one moneywise
which is best? oval or round and what quart size?
which is the size that they use on most cooking shows?
it's funny even if the host/network has a cookware line you still see a lecreuset pot on the stove-from what I have seen anyway
seems like it but is le creuset worth the price?
CI ran a comparison of round vs oval a while back.
Bottom line - They found no difference.
What size to get would depend mainly on how many people you cook for, and what you plan to cook. Whole chickens? If you're like me, cooking for 2, but like to roast whole chickens, an oval pot in a smaller capacity might be your best bet. Generally, there's more choice in round ovens, but costco recently had a made-in-France oval oven for around $80.
Here's an old thread about LC and other brands -
My take-away is that there are a number of well-made enameled dutch ovens on the market. Do be sure to check Marshall's. TJMaxx, Homegoods and the like. A LC outlet is a good bet, too. I found one about an hour away in a Premium Outlet mall, and plan to hit the holiday sales for a few pieces.
Personally, I like the Staub versions a little better than LC.
In terms of shape, a ~4 quart oval oven is very flexible for a wide range of cooking. The oval shape makes the most difference with boned meats - leg of lamb anyone? I also like the oval shape for most beef roasts.
Bigger always is better. Keep in mind that the enamel coating is brittle and prone to chipping if you do something like bake a pie or deep-dish pizza and then cut it while still in the pan. Also keep in mind that you're paying a lot for a name ... there are other makers out there that are just as good for considerably less money. To say nothing of eBay.
I stand corrected. Bigger also isn't better if you want it for, say, no-knead bread. The 4- to 6-quart sizes seem to work best in terms of loaf size and shape.
I'm rebuilding my kitchen equipage after an overseas stint. The enameled cast iron I've been buying has been very lightly used vintage Copcoware and Descoware. These brands, in particular, are widely considered as good as Le Creuset or, in the case of Copcoware, even better. EBay and Etsy are my sources. I'm saving tons of money by avoiding Le Creuset, which tends to be very expensive even when sold very used. I'd buy Staub if I could, but there seems to be little used Staub for sale, and the new stuff costs like Le Creuset, regardless of source.
I've found my 5 and a half round to be extremely useful the last few years, and definitely see it as worth the price I bought it for. (Managed to find it on sale at Amazon to save a bit more than the Le Creuset website)
I've used it for anything from weeknight family meals to larger entertaining dishes. When it comes to entertaining, the beautiful pots themselves make it worth it for me as serving straight out of the colorful oven can really make a dish stand out. Splurging on well-made cookware is always worth it for me, I'm sure I'll be using mine for a good 25 years more.
Shapewise there are trade offs. Round, being the same shape as most heat sources, may heat more evenly on the stove top. Oval may handle more cuts of meat because of greater length (of an oval and a round of the same volume). I have an oval I would estimate at six quarts, and I adore it. Of course the fact it is the classic flame color is a plus to me. I trust that those who prefer Staub and those who like lower cost alternatives are reflecting differing but supported viewpoints. I have never had another enameled CI. Mine does all I ask of it very well and over a span of many years will have been a good investment. So to me, yes, it's worth it, but admittedly aesthetics are a part of my equation.
I also feel bigger is better and am a big fan of the doufeu models with the top that takes a few trays of ice cubes, so no evap or burning. Also a fan of oval as more options.