Need advice with some cookware!
I currently live in Berlin, Germany and bought some Le Creuset cookware recently (a frying pan and a all-rounder pot), and could not be any more pleased. I love them! I am looking into buying the Wok and Tagine from them because I love Asian food and love the idea of a Tagine since we don't get Crock Pots or anything similar here. I have some money set aside but I am only 21 and IF I am going to invest in cookware I want it to be worth it. So my question for everyone here is: IS the Le Creuset Wok and Tagine much better than cheaper versions of the two? Can anyone recommend me another brand for either of these? I want a quality product that wont have to be replaced in a year. I thank everyone in advance!
The Le Creuset products that are marketed in the USA are mostly the heavy enameled cast iron pots with lids in the 5L size (or larger). That's what American posters think of as Le Creuset 'dutch ovens'.
While they can be used on the stove top, more often they are used in the oven for braising meats.
So I don't have a clear idea of what you bought.
A LC wok or tagine will last a long time, but probably won't work like the traditional forms. A traditional wok is large carbon steel, used over an intense flame. Heavy enameled cast iron will not cook in the same way.
A traditional tagine is earthen ware (clay) used over a small charcoal fire. The conical top condenses steam, and lets the liquid drip back down on to the food. A conventional LC braising pot will cook that kind of dish just as well.
I have an electric stove, for now. I plan on upgrading to Induction once I can. Im posting a picture of the All-Rounder from LC. IF the LC arent as practical as other items.. Could you recommend me other Brands/Items. I get a 10% discount, not that it makes a massive difference. Thanks again!
If you are into Asian cooking I'd find a cheap carbon steel wok. It will take high heat abuse, season well, and make you happy, maybe happier than an LC wok, especially if you spend the difference on great ingredients! As regards the tagine, I'd try making tagine style dishes in the all-rounder. LC makes some wonderful things, but I'd strongly advise that you don't get into an "all LC" mode as there are other types of cookware that do their specific jobs better. I'd look at a carbon steel Lyon style skillet and a medium saucepan of something highly conductive like aluminum, a high quality clad, or, if you happen onto a deal, tin lined heavy copper. Glad you are really living your first couple of pieces of high quality cookware!
re: tim irvine
Absolutely agree about different brands having different strengths. Love my LC Dutch ovens, have one LC skillet, but my go-to skillets are All-Clad, some restaurant supply store non-stick aluminum (cheap to replace) and cast iron in various sizes. I use the LC skillet when I normally would reach for cast iron but will be cooking with tomatoes or wine. As for woks, I would never get an LC wok. Traditional Chinese woks are thin metal and are seasoned with cooking oil/fat. They heat and cool quickly and the fact that the bottom/middle can be a lot hotter than the sides/edges is actually a feature when you cook. My cheap steel (and one thin cast iron) woks are as ugly as sin but they cook like a dream.
I would not buy Le Creuset "stoneware". Personally, I would look for something made in Europe, not China, if I lived in Berlin or somewhere similar.
For a wok, look for a traditional thin steel wok at an Asian market. A heavy cast iron wok won't cook significantly different than a large Dutch Oven or skillet. A non-stick wok is a waste of money. Also keep in mind, that you need a great heat source for wok cooking. Classic homeowner cooktops just don't have enough heat to give you that classic Asian taste you get from a wok over a 100,000+ BTU burner.
A Staub dutch oven would approximate the effects of a Tagine with it's spiked lid dripping moisture back into your dish. However, a classic tagine from Morocco should be pretty easy to source and priced attractively for you.
For clay "stoneware" in general, I would look toward Spain and I would keep my money in the EU. With stoneware out of China, I would also worry about leaching lead from the glaze.
re: Sid Post
Earlier this year I picked up a real Moroccan tagine at a Williams Sonoma outlet for a song. The price was low because the decoration was not perfect. It still was very attractive so who cares?
I often joke that you could open a kitchen store in my kitchen, but really, that would never work because very few pieces match. Even my LC pieces are in different colors because I got some on sale at Zabar's in NYC eons ago and more recently have made a point of hitting the February sales at the LC outlets in my neck of the woods. Why spend more than I have to? Some people want to make their kitchen a social center for their guests and want to impress with looks in addition to food, and of course that is perfectly valid, but that's just not my style. Chacun a son gout!
Cookware does not have to match, that idea is just silly. You buy what you need to do the job. I too could open a kitchen store, I've worked in the business long enough. I have some original Calphalon, Castle Copper, Swiss Diamond, LC and probably some other brands too if I look hard enough. To say nothing of the bake ware.
Carbon steel wok all the way!
With an electric stove, round bottom woks just dont cut it. Take the time to find a good flat bottomed wok.
The Wok Shop is the source for all things wok.
This is the flat bottomed wok I use;
Season it, use the hell out of it...and it only gets better with age.
(No, I do not use a wok or a carbon steel frying pan for eggs just yet. Buy and use an inexpensive non stick coated fry pan, and just use it for eggs. (Shades of Alton Brown!)
I need more information. Are you using induction, gas, or regular electric coil for your cooking? If you are using induction you will need a flat bottomed carbon steel wok, not one with a round bottom. LC cooks beautifully on induction as it will on other cooking surfaces.
Another brand to look at is Chantal. It is made in Germany has a copper and carbon steel core. I use induction and gas and love how my Chantal works on either heat source. Also the Chantal is easier to lift.
I have an LC tagine that I love and it is quite beautiful. I cannot put it away when not in use.
Sorry for the late response! I have currently a standard electric stove, nothing spectacular. I DO plan on in the next couple years to invest in Induction. I am a student that makes ok money, but waiting to invest in decent things so that im not constantly replacing pans like I have been with IKEA cook ware.
I thank EVERYONE for their replies!!