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Le Creuset - Well I finally did it!

Well I finally did it!

After my 1 qt Cuisinart SS NS began to flake, I went and bout the LC 1.25 qt, enameled. Even as an owner of several larger LC pieces, I was somewhat convinced I was paying for the name. Well, I was wrong. This little pot is amazing. I have done several things from cooking soup, oatmeal, sauce; it may be the perfect cooking utensil. The heat is so even that no stirring is necessary, and there is no hint of scorching.

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  1. I love my 1 1/4 qt precision pour. I wasn't sure if a pot that small was useful but my best friend convinced me that it was and she was right.

    Congrats on your little pot.

    1. Congrats! Not important for utility, but what color did you get?

      Cooking oatmeal without having to stir is indeed a small miracle....I made oatmeal for 8 in my 5 qt LC last week. Although I did stir a little, I was also impressed with the minimal scorching and sticking. :)

      1. "bout" should read "bought."

        Color is cherry/cerise

        1. A small 3mm copper 1qt saucepan will change your world. ;-)

          $50~$60 well spent IMHO.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Sid Post

            Problem for me with copper is cleaning.

          2. Isn't it fantastic? I have two in Aubergine and love them. Fantastic for rice, and anything you want to heat a bit slowly, or not lose moisture.

            44 Replies
            1. re: foiegras

              Yes. Funny, on another thread are some who seem to revile these. I think they may never have used.

              1. re: law_doc89

                Hi, law_doc: "I think they may never have used."

                I used a wide and deep batterie of LC faithfully for about 25 years. While 'revile' is too strong a word, it's not very good on the stovetop, and isn't any better than most in the oven. It took me a long time to get past my confirmation bias toward LC, but I would be a far more advanced and happier cook if I had leapfrogged past it completely.

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  Well, pluck my chicken! I guess my experience, and that of others is just plain wrong. Just how did you cook with it? I am curious.

                  There are several internet posts that try to demonstrate that if you saute in CI, using flour, on a 3 inch flame and a 12 inch pan, you will get scorching that is slightly more than the scorching in a SS pan. SO? Irrelevant, In cooking, one doesn't do those things. I suspect your problems are due to faulty technique.

                  I am still, every morning, throwing my oatmeal and milk in the preheated pot, placing the cover, lowering the heat, and coming back to perfect oatmeal in 7 minutes. I am also making some great sauces. I suspect that my teachers at L'Academie taught me well.

                  Those who have problems with CI tend not to know how to use it.

                  I have a LC pan reserved for risotto. Why? the even retention of heat and the weight that lets me have a third hand. At the end of the day, all differences are marginal, and technique trumps all.

                  1. re: law_doc89

                    "Those who have problems with CI tend not to know how to use it."

                    Honestly, when making stew, I have found my CI pieces scorch on the stovetop (the stew simmers for hours on the stovetop) whereas I don't get any scorching when I use heavy lined copper. I am very curious to know what I'm doing wrong. The CI retains heat, it retains it a little too well, especially right above the heat source so I usually use a diffuser. I love and own a bunch of LC so I would love to figure out how to make a long simmering stovetop stew without scorching and without a diffuser.

                    1. re: sherrib

                      What kind of burner, what heat setting, do you stir?

                      1. re: law_doc89

                        Gas. Start on medium to sweat onions. Turn down to low when liquid added begins to bubble. Yes, I stir. It doesn't scorch right away, it takes time.

                        1. re: sherrib

                          Stove top, not oven? Probably need to try a different size burner and lower heat for longer. I learned at the academy that most people use too much heat.

                          I just made a small pea soup in this little LC pot. Cooked for hours on very low heat; no scorching whatsoever.

                          I continue to be amazed at how this little thing works.

                          1. re: law_doc89

                            Hi, law_doc: "Probably need to try a different size burner..."

                            Prolly need better cookware.

                            Aloha,
                            Kaleo

                            1. re: law_doc89

                              " I learned at the academy that most people use too much heat. "
                              It all depends on what kind of cooking you are doing. I use regular CI when I need super high heat. Love it for that steaks and stir fry. ECI is ok in the oven and it is pretty. It is ok on very low heat if you have an electric burner that matches the size of the pan. I want to be able to use high heat if I want to.

                              1. re: law_doc89

                                I just wonder if Sherri doesn't have original Le Creuset. I believe because of the pan you're discussing that you have Signature.

                                My experience with my bigger Signature is that I get some browning, but it immediately deglazes. This little pan though is pretty amazing.

                                1. re: foiegras

                                  Nope, original. It's 6 3/4 quarts wide. Which means it's bigger than the burner it sits on. I get how a small pan could sit on a low burner and not scorch. Take a much bigger pot full of much more ingredients and you may, indeed, need to turn it up a bit. That's what causes the scorching. The part of the pan directly over the heat source retains heat extremely well.

                                  1. re: sherrib

                                    That's what I meant ... that you have original finish, LD has Signature. It may be that the combination of gas + original finish may not work very well ...

                                    I have the electric stove that came with my house. I don't have issues with the whole pan (I mean larger ones) heating up correctly & retaining heat, regardless of contact with the coil. I think some patience is required with ECI as far as keeping the heat low on the stovetop. I think some stirring is often necessary, though I'd agree not perhaps with the small pot we're discussing in this thread.

                                    1. re: foiegras

                                      Good point. My not stirring is due to experimenting with the properties of the pot.

                                2. re: law_doc89

                                  Stove top, yes. All of my burners are the same size but have a very nice range of low to high.
                                  I own two bare cast iron frying pans which I always season stove top. One is eight inches and the other is twelve. The smaller one has been infinitesimally easier to season (sunny side up eggs slide around with very little oil like it's nobody's business.) The larger one, OTOH, still gives me trouble with the seasoning.
                                  I don't doubt that your pan is working the magic that you say it is. I'm just wondering if you're not getting the same issues with it than I am with my much larger pans because of its diameter in relation to the heat source. The same way my small frying pan has seasoned so beautifully, because of its diameter.

                                  1. re: sherrib

                                    Yeah, your heat source may be too small for what you are trying. I deliberately purchased a stove with multiple sizes and BTU strengths, so you may need to use the diffuser for long-term slow cooking on the stove top, but why not place the large LC in the oven?

                                    You got me to check and I have one burner that produces a 10 inch heat, another one 1.5 inches.

                                    1. re: law_doc89

                                      My high BTU hobs are duel flame, inner ring and outer ring. They can go fairly low as well. Some day I'll get a thermograph or at least a plot of the temperature on various cooking vessels.

                                      1. re: mikie

                                        "My high BTU hobs are duel flame"

                                        ^^^ oh I love that ^^^

                                        my 2 high BTU's are single flame but bigger discs that lay on top. the stationary part of those 2 are wider larger rounder in circumference. the biggest 1 is great for boiling water right now.

                                    2. re: sherrib

                                      It does get me wondering why stoves aren't more routinely versatile, as it is probably fairly cheap to produce the differences.

                                      1. re: law_doc89

                                        You can buy either. It is a matter if preference depending on the type if pans you use. Mine has 5 of the same burners and 1 small pot burner. Works perfectly for the way I cook as yours does for you.

                                        1. re: wekick

                                          wekick you're right.
                                          when we remodeled our kitchen I was seeking a drop in stove top. thinking I goofed there as I could have found a Chambers stove and completed a dream of mine :( dang.
                                          the 6 burner with the 2 high BTU's was a no brainer for me.

                                            1. re: wekick

                                              I think I would like to have about 12 different burners in my dream kitchen. Oh well, some other lifetime.

                                              It is amazing though that people invest sometimes thousands in stoves without really getting good advice ahead of time, or finding they can out grow what they have as they mature.

                                              I am toying with the purchase of a portable induction burner, but the portables seem to get mixed reviews,

                            2. re: law_doc89

                              Hi, law_doc:

                              Your experience is what it is, and mine is mine, so leave the umbrage and insinuation at the door.

                              I cooked every which way in LC for 25 years, scrupulously following other's recipes as well as my own. CI is notorious for hot-spotting on the stovetop--there are numerous threads here on the subject, one which carefully documents 100-200F temperature differentials across the bottom of cast iron skillets; Marmites are even worse.

                              For instance, I defy anyone to prepare Tom Keller's 5-hour caramelized onion prep in CI on a gas hob without either scorching or stirring the onions into mush.

                              You were taught to prepare sauces in enamel cast iron at L'Academie? The state kitchens of France and sauce gurus like James Peterson (among others) seem not to have gotten the memo. If technique "trumps all", why are so few masters at sauces using cast iron?

                              Your point about having a third hand with a heavy pot makes sense. Which do you think is heavier, CI or copper?

                              Aloha,
                              Kaleo

                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                Actually learned to cook on all sorts of cookware. All cookware is ultimately somewhat uneven, so? that is what technique is about. Never follow recipes, especially since many of them are clearly wrong, and many celebrity chefs withhold information.

                                That said, there are specific advantages for some items, and there is variability across brands. That said, most people fail to match heat source to pan to purpose.

                                I am playing with my little pot now, and finding it delivers exactly as promised by generating a small oven on the stove top. After making pea soup over night in it, I am making tomato sauce today. But, I also use it for long, slow, low cooking, of these products. I have not yet had to stir anything I have cooked in it, and there has been virtually no sticking, absolutely no scorching, and cleanup is a little bit more than rinsing. I guess I am using it incorrectly?

                                Copper is great stuff too, but expensive and a pain to clean. Why is it so few great chefs use copper?

                                So, I like the others who have posted success here are doing something far different than you experience?

                                BTW, do try risotto in an ECI sometime.

                                For saute. of course ECI is not what I would use, but do remember, that a good chef can cook a gourmet meal on a camp fire with an aluminum pot.

                                We use to do exercises of making sauces such as hollandiase in a mixing bowl over an open fire so we could get used to feeling the proper heat and regulating it by distance above the flame. Try it sometime, if your thumb touching the side hurts, you are using too much heat.

                                BTW, you need to differentiate the kind of sause you are talking about. If you need some sort of deglazing, ECI is a silly choice, if you are talking about a delicate cream sauce, ECI can do quite well.

                                1. re: law_doc89

                                  Hi, law_doc: " Why is it so few great chefs use copper?"

                                  In their restaurants? Cost, mostly, and the inadvisability of running it through a DW. But I maintain that there are more copper saucepans in starred restaurants worldwide than there are ECI saucepans, in *spite* of the cost.

                                  On TV? Because they're pushing other, more pedestrian wares.

                                  At home? Many do use copper.

                                  As to your So? question about unevenness, I think we should be able to agree that evenness is a good thing, and therefore more even is better than less even. CI is, in the universe of pan constructions, near the bottom of the heap in both evenness and responsiveness. I think those two properties matter in a *lot* of cooking, not just with sauces.
                                  IMO, steering a slow-to-respond CI saucepan for stovetop preps which benefit from precision (unlike your oatmeal) is a recipe for mediocrity for many home cooks and chefs alike.

                                  Aloha,
                                  Kaleo

                                  1. re: kaleokahu

                                    You do not appear to know the difference between braising and saute.

                                    However, this is a thread about using a small pot with some great results, and finding most have the same results.

                                    My tomato sauce is coming along just fine, no stirring for several hours, and not sticking or scorching. Fantastic.

                                    1. re: law_doc89

                                      Hi, law_doc:

                                      And you appear to have no knowledge of physics.

                                      A 1.25 LC saucepan (in the classic 1:2 proportion, not the milk pan shape) is one of the ECI pieces I have had for 25 years. About the only good thing I can say about it is that it is never undersized for any of my hobs. Oh, the little pour spout is nice.

                                      Your OP suggests that this is a new piece for you. Enjoy the honeymoon.

                                      Aloha,
                                      Kaleo

                                      1. re: kaleokahu

                                        If I had poor results for 25 years I would get lessons instead of getting angry. Not sure why my enjoying the little pot threatens SS. I own about 40 SS pots and pand, naked and NS, clad, non clad, use them when appropriate. The little pot is only my 6th LC ECI.

                                        1. re: law_doc89

                                          Not sure why my enjoying the little pot threatens SS.

                                          I didn't see where he said he had poor results just that it was "not very good".

                                          It really has nothing to do with SS.
                                          I think this wording in your original post and a few other statements just stimulates further... "discussion".

                                          " it may be the perfect cooking utensil."

                                          1. re: wekick

                                            By which I mean a utensil that delivers on what it is intended to do. i would say the same about a knife that does its job.

                                            1. re: law_doc89

                                              DS#2 got me BF's kitchen knife set from Kohl's. it's the 2 chefs knives, short and longer. love those things

                                          2. re: law_doc89

                                            Hi, law_doc:

                                            I certainly wasn't angry. Nor do I particularly care for clad. Nor was I getting poor results. So you may now cash in your trifecta ticket.

                                            Since you just replaced a non-stick saucepan with your new ECI, I understand how you might like the LC better. Did they also teach you sauce making in Teflon at L'Academie?

                                            My poor *opinion* of cast iron as a default choice for cookware springs from: (a) the $$$ misspent, when there were/are much better choices available; (b) worrying that it was *me* who was to blame for less-than-optimal results (contrast you: blame-it-on-the-tools) ; and (c) the rampant mis/disinformation about the "evenness" of CI--much of which you have perpetuated here.

                                            It was only after I abandoned the idea that cooking in Le Creuset ECI was the ne plus ultra that my cooking and my *enjoyment* of it rose to a level of joy.

                                            I may be a slow learner, but at least I learn. Pardon me for trying to spare others spending thousands of dollars and many years on mediocre (yet overpriced) cookware.

                                            Aloha,
                                            Kaleo

                                            1. re: kaleokahu

                                              I just want to let you know that I, for one, really appreciate your good advice!

                                              1. re: kaleokahu

                                                hammers are lousy for driving in screws, hammers are not mediocre but can be misused by people who done;t know that screws require screw drivers.

                                                Cooking lessons are very useful.

                                                1. re: law_doc89

                                                  Then perhaps you should take some more lessons along with a basic science class?

                                      2. re: law_doc89

                                        "That said, most people fail to match heat source to pan to purpose"

                                        I am limited to burner sizes, so it is nice that the pan can over come it. I can use 6- 14 inch diameter pans on all my burners just because the copper and aluminum are so good at conducting heat. I have an aluminum griddle that covers 23x15 over 2 burners and sandwiches will grill perfectly evenly wall to wall. Steel/CI will not do that. If I want to turn the heat up in 30 seconds, the whole thing is hotter. If I need it cooler, turn it down and in a few seconds it is cooler.
                                        Great you have a pan you like though.

                                2. re: law_doc89

                                  Let's be fair. In the other thread, the OP posed a question about differences in SS and ECI dutch ovens. Because some of us prefer SS and have disputed your claim that CI cooks more evenly, you've claimed we "revile" CI. Those are the facts.

                                  As to your specific question, yes. I cook. Every day. Three meals, in fact. Except for deep frying foods, when heat retention is paramount, I've never found an advantage to cooking with CI. Quite the reverse. I prefer the response of a clad or disk base SS pan, which CI can't come close to meeting.

                                  SS really excels when it comes to handling and cleanup. Less weight makes it much easier to use, and there are no worries about chipping, as there are with ECI.

                                  For those who love the look and weight, ECI is a great choice, and I've never said otherwise. I don't revile it; for 20 years I used LC ECI almost exclusively. For the last 12 I've used SS almost exclusively. I prefer the SS. I still use a bare CI frypan and round griddle from time to time. One could just as easily ask why you revile SS so much?

                                  1. re: DuffyH

                                    I never said I revile SS, nor would I.

                                    1. re: law_doc89

                                      Then why hurl the same accusation at others? And follow it up by sarcastically asking if we cook?

                                      1. re: DuffyH

                                        Relax, no one is trying to take your SS.

                                  2. re: law_doc89

                                    Well, I will say that this is a new offering I believe ... I got the first one when they came out. And, the new Signature finish & other features is quite a significant departure from the original Le Creuset. I mentioned in another thread that quite a famous chef had this very pan listed as one of his favorite things in a magazine article I read, and said that once you learn to use it, you will get perfect results every time.

                                    I'm not here to argue with the doubters ... I am content with my beautiful pans & my perfect results :D

                                      1. re: foiegras

                                        Do you mind sharing the article? I am interested in the list of preferred cookware. I too am learning there are many thinks about the LC line I find very helpful in some of my dishes. Frankly, they have kicked them up a notch compared to the same recipe and same technique. I can say the same about some All Clad pieces as well. It is fun to fine tune my cooking!

                                        Thanks,
                                        Lisa