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My Le Creuset Haul: What's Next?

I am brand new to Le Creuset. Have been dreaming of it for a while now. Finally took the plunge. I got a french oven (7.25 round) for $140, the largest braiser for 35% off, and a couple of baking dishes at 50% off at the Vacaville outlet today. Overall was much more doable than I thought it would be.

And after the maiden voyage (south African-style braised meatballs and roasted fennel and mushroom cous-cous) I am now spoiled. WOW....what a treat to cook today! So much nicer than my cruddy cheap pots and pans. And clean up was easy (for my teenager!) :)

So now I am wondering what other must have kitchen items I have been missing out on and need to own. I am thinking a couple of knives, frying pan, etc.....what else? What do you have in your kitchen that makes you feel spoiled every time you use it?

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  1. Remember that you can wrap the LC lid in aluminum foil, invert it, and roast vegetables on the lid as the food inside braises.

    A mandoline with a well-designed safety holder for the produce. Mine's a Boerner V-Slicer.

    A good food processor and a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. I stalked the latter on eBay for a year to get a good deal on one made by Hobart, because those (around 50 yrs old) are powerful workhorses with better performance statistics than the current models.

    1. In term of tools, I will suggest a few new things which may "revolutionize" those who do not have them.

      1) A microplane grater, for example:

      http://www.amazon.com/Microplane-3800...

      2) A high quality Japanese influence kitchen knife, for example:

      http://www.cutleryandmore.com/tojiro

      3) A good quality carbon steel pan or wok, for examples:

      http://www.amazon.com/DeBuyer-Mineral...

      http://e-woks.com/index.php?main_page...

      4) A pressure cooker

      5) A cheap coffee grinder for grinding spices

      http://www.amazon.com/KRUPS-203-42-El...

      6) A reasonable waterstone for sharpening knives:

      http://www.amazon.com/Japanese-Profes...

      1. Brilliant suggestion on roasting veggies! And thanks for the great wish list!

        2 Replies
        1. re: FeliciaLeCreuset

          I should also have mentioned another lid use, which saves on clean-up. If you have enough meat that you are going to be searing in batches, invert the Dutch oven lid atop a deep bowl or another pot. Use the inverted lid to hold the seared pieces until all the meat is browned and returned to the Dutch oven. You won't need to wash the lid, just cover the Dutch oven and proceed with braising.

        2. My food processor makes me feel spoiled every time I use it. For years, I resisted buying one then my husband got me one for Christmas. I love it.

          1. I still feel quite privileged every time I use my 30 year old, navy blue and still beautiful Kitchen Aid stand mixer.

            5 Replies
            1. re: sandiasingh

              I have a newer navy blue one which I love.

              I think a food processor is indispensible in a kitchen.

              Good sharp knives.

              Cast iron skillet.

              1. re: sandiasingh

                I love my 25 year old cobalt blue one!

                1. re: foodieX2

                  It just so happens to match my beautiful navy blue/cobalt 4 oven Aga range, which came 25 yrs later. Kismet!

                    1. re: foodieX2

                      I adore my Aga. It takes a while to learn how to use it really well, but I would never replace it with a gas stove. We are fortunate to be able to slow cook all the time so it's a good fit. You can definitely get rid of all your crock pots when you own an Aga :-)

              2. Welcome to the LC Cult! Other cookware cults include seasoned cast iron, copper (with stainless and tinned subcults) and Big Green Eggheads.

                1. Hi, Felicia:

                  Congrats on your purchases. I think you chose pretty wisely when you hewed to in-oven pieces. I wouldn't bother with any LC stovetop pieces.

                  I suggest that you next find *one* chef's knife of 8-10 inches and high quality. Other things to consider would be a good digital instant-read thermometer, a heavy-duty potato ricer or food mill, a pressure cooker (look for one you can pressure-fry in), an immersion blender, and an assortment of microplanes. A big roll of parchment sheets is good to have, too.

                  For stovetop pans, I'd recommend a good grade clad like Demeyere, carbon steel like deBuyer, or, if you can afford it, 2.5mm SS-lined copper like Falk or Bourgeat. I get a lot of pleasure out of cooking in thick vintage copper pans, which may be well >100 years old.

                  Have Fun,
                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    +1 on thick copper cookware. They're the first pans I reach for unless I'm doing something in the oven, in which case I will use one of my LC pans.

                    I also have an obsession with roasting/gratin pans and trays. Those are extremely useful and I have them in stainless, copper and Le Creuset.

                  2. I love my immersion blender. Use it for everything from babaganoush to partially pureed lentil soup. I also love my nice cutting board and my Breville toaster oven.
                    Your recipe for the braised meatballs with fennel etc. sounds great... can you share it?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: debbypo

                      Debbypo, I found a recipe on Pinterest (while drooling over Le Creuset color options) and then modified. South African meatball recipe can be found on my "World Cuisine" board here: www.pinterest.com/FeliciaBorges

                      Modifications were adding more seasoning (to adjust for taste) toward the end. Next time I would also probably add some tomato paste to the sauce to deepen the color. I also browned the meatballs before I put them in the sauce to add texture so I only needed to have it in the oven for about an hour.

                      For the cous-cous, I roasted sliced fennel, onions, bell peppers, and garlic cloves in the oven. I browned the mushrooms in the same pan I browned the meatballs and then deglazed with the water for the cous-cous, added seasonings such as coriander, cumin, salt, pepper. I finished with some lemon zest, lemon juice, chives, dates, and toasted walnuts. Lots of textures going on in that one. LOL.

                    2. Probably my Ruffoni copper risotto pan that my husband gave me for Christmas a few years back. He bought it just because he thought it was eye-catching and I had no copper pans.
                      Knowing that it was made expressly for risotto and also came with a special stirring spoon always makes me feel confident that my risotto will be smashing every time!

                      1. I'm a bit freakish about frying pans. I love my Demeyere Proline 11" skillet. But really, any heavy stainless steel frypan will do. Or perhaps, depending on how/what you cook, a sauté pan. They're quite versatile.

                        I'm considering adding a 10" LC, Staub or Lodge enameled skillet, too. I think I may need one. :)

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: DuffyH

                          I really want a pressure cooker but still haven't gotten one..
                          just curious about LC...We looked at a dutch oven and felt like it was near impossible to just pick it up from the store shelf.. What makes it so worth breaking your back over some nice stoneware or stainless steel?

                          1. re: chompie

                            chompie,

                            <What makes it so worth breaking your back over some nice stoneware or stainless steel?>

                            I'm not sure it is, although there are plenty of people who will beg to differ. I think it depends on the food you cook and personal preference.

                            I don't cook a lot of braises or stews, so can't claim it's superior in that respect. I seldom move long-cooking food from cooktop to oven.

                            I do have a large 7-quart round dutch oven, but find it gets little use. I'm far more likely to reach for my 8-quart stainless steel multi-pot. I prefer to bake bread in my 4-quart saucepan. It's smaller diameter bakes a taller, rounder loaf.

                            I don't believe stainless steel is superior to cast iron, but it's what I've been cooking with for many, many years. I'm yet to be convinced that cast iron pots are better.

                        2. Thank you all for adding to my wish list. It keeps growing and growing!

                          1 Reply