Thursday, January 7, 2010

Le Creuset french oven.



Which size? I am usually cooking for 2 -3 people. Help, please.

My beloved Ina tells me to buy a large one, but, you know, she's probably cooking up for every last person in East Hampton. She's popular, no? My crowd is a tad smaller.


In other news, I loved what she told Town and Country recently:

"I'm not an adventurous eater. I'm always interested in making something great out of what you can find at the supermarket or the farm stand. I'm not interested in what octopus eyeballs taste like."


79 comments:

Eileen said...

How can you have just one??? Start with a 5 quart and go UP from there... And make friends with the people at the Le Creuset outlet at the "Seattle Premium Outlets" in Tulalip.

David said...

Go bigger. It never hurts to make extra to freeze.

Ali said...

Agree, go at least one size bigger than you think you need. Some food start big and cook down - you want to make sure you have enough room to get things to a boil.

I'm in the Seattle area too and that Le Creuset outlet has some great deals.

Val said...

So bizarre that you posted this. I just came home from Williams-Sonoma where my husband and I stared up at the Le Creuset wall for 15 minutes hashing out this same question. Interested to see what everybody says.

The Blasphemous Fiendess said...

I'm with David. Get the bigger one and then you are prepared for feeding a group of people or you have stuff to put in the freezer. I'm envious. I want lots of them just for the colours!

Jules said...

I agree with David.

Besides, most recipes feed 8-10 people and that will require the larger sized cookware.

Designerbee said...

Go bigger. You can always make something smaller in a bigger pot but not the other way around. And most recipies are for 2-4 people anyway so you'll have left overs!

Richie Designs said...

just a tip but I see those things all the time at Marshalls [do you have those in seattle?] discount store thingy if you're looking to save a couple of bucks.

I'd go bigger btw. leftovers

Sharon said...

Next I'd like a discussion on what color you should select, please.

sweetshorn said...

Doesn't she have the most soothing voice? I can cook along with her without peeing my pants.

JJ said...

You have just solved your exercise conundrum. I wanted some pots but I couldn't lift them.

Let's go to Tulalip already! I will buy you a $136 eggplant-shaped Le Creuset.

Snowiye said...

Yay Le Creuset! My favorite subject!=P

I'm usually cooking for 2 of us, with maybe an extra mouth or 2 to feed over the weekends.

My first one was the 3 1/2 quart buffet casserole, it's great for browning meats, making pasta dishes and searing seafood (except fish, but I think that's likely my lacking in technique of searing a piece of fish properly without it breaking apart)

My second and third pieces were oval french ovens, they're the smaller sizes (less than 5 quarts) and I think one of them (1.75 or 2.75 quart?) is discontinued. I like them for making smaller pots of Asian soups (that don't have very many ingredients) for 2 people (e.g., winter melon with pork ribs, kelp with pork ribs).

My latest is the 6 quart risotto pot, similar to a french oven that is shorter on the sides with a nice wide base. It's awesome for chicken curries (I slather the curry paste on the cut up chicken, leave it to marinate, add in potatoes, and throw the whole thing in the oven for 1.5 hours), big batches of vegetable soup (tons of ingredients here!)

The oval ones are great for accommodating longer cuts of meat, like roasts and ribs. I would get a 5 quart for entertaining and a smaller sized one for everyday cooking (unless you make lots of leftovers) to start.

I got all my pieces from a LC outlet too, and 2 of them are seconds, which is an extra 10 to 20% cheaper, the other 2 are discontinued colors/ sizes.

Some of the seconds are chipped or scratched, but more often than not they just have cosmetic mistakes (paint splatters). The staff is always great and if you go when it's not too crowded they take the time to find you the least flawed pieces.

Decorno said...

JJ - Can we just spend your $136 on cigs and nickel slots instead?

Decorno said...

Snowiye - sounds like I don't need to buy LC. I just need to have you come over and cook for me!

Auntydeco said...

I cook for 2-3 and find my 26cm round is perfect. You can't go smaller as you need to be able to fit a whole chicken in. Onions first, then a little chicken stock, then the chook. Lid on for first half hour, then take off. Perfect.

Eileen said...

...and some of the discounted items at the outlets are in colors we don't have here (mine are a brown from France)... which is fun. but I also have several items in flame... I'm ready for the 13 qt size, lets run up to Tulalip.

Pieter said...

As a bachelor, I have the 20cm and usually have enough for 2more meals. I also eat ALOT! To be safe, I'd go for the 22cm. Then again I'm South African, so I'm not quite sure how large your portions are? Auntydeco, does the 26cm hold the chicken snugly, or is there still a fair amount of space left (if not, then you have very big chickens:)

Anonymous said...

I can make shortribs for 6 in the 3.5 quart for a dinner party. The rest of the time, it's just the man and me and I find this size is plenty. I'd like the bigger one, but as I have nowhere to store it, the 3.5 is perfectly serviceable.

DoxaHome.com said...

I like Auntie Deco's advice, you want something big enough to place a chicken in, that way you have a pan to roast birds, make risottos as well as soups and marinara sauces;) Yum. I have one and I use it ALL the time, and as you can see from the size of my place, I can only entertain 2-3 at a time...

Good luck,
Jaime

Anonymous said...

Ina's my GIRL. Our mutual love of butter binds us...

thezhush said...

As a cablevision customer who is now missing her HGTV and Foodnetwork, (not to mention Domino) I think I have found my newest addiction...Decorno!

my favorite and my best said...

yes, get the biggest. the larger the cooking surface/area the better your sears will be. no pan crowding = no steaming when you want to sear your meat for a stew or whatnot. i have a med size one and while it WORKS just fine for my family of 3 sometimes i have to do 2 batches when i am cooking meat. plus if you ever cook for more than 3 you will have it.

Anonymous said...

I was just ebaying this yesterday and had the same issue. Also... round or oval?

Anonymous said...

I have a French Blue 6qt oval shaped one. I love it for preparing pulled pork barbecue. I will say, however, with a 5lb roast and all of the stock and aromatics, this piece gets really heavy. If you decide on a larger size, Decorno look up Oliver Stone's recipes on AOL. You will find the barbecue there and you will love it.

stephendrucker said...

If you buy a small one, you'll need another eventually. Buy bigger and you'll be done with it.

I have a 24 round and a 31 oval, which is even more versatile (chicken, pot roast). I never use the small one I bought when I was starting out. Want it?

Ina actually doesn't do big dinners. It's usually a table for six.

Gquaker said...

I use my six qt Dutch Oven (A faux-Creuset from Kmart)the most by far. My large French Oven (13.25 qt) is heavy as hell. I gave away my smaller one (2 qt) because I can do the same stuff with a regular sauce pan and fry pan.

Kate F. said...

Mine is a 5.5 quart (I think) round. The only time it was ever too small was when I made an enormous brisket and had to rig my turkey roasting pan with a tinfoil lid. Otherwise the 5.5 is fine, and I often use it for recipes for me and my husband, with leftovers.

Jennifer said...

I have the 5 quart and cook for two... I absolutely love it. I think my next one will be larger - though I can't imagine cleaning the darn thing. These pots are HEAVY!

Pending Pearson said...

The lemongrass color is fracking gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

The largest size you can carry once it's full of water and/or meat/poultry. For me, that's a 6.25 qt.

Ovals have the advantage when cooking roasts. So the shape preference depends on what you like to cook. If you don't eat meat, I don't think you'd need an oval.

My 2 cents.

-Jersey Girl

Iheartfashion said...

I guess I'm in the minority here, but I say go small. I have a small one I use all the time for our family of four, but hardly ever pull out my giant one. I'm still upset about leaving the medium size at someone's house 4 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any information on Martha Stewart's version? On sale at Macy's today and you know I love a bargain.

Shelley said...

I have the oval green 6 qt one and i love it. I HAD
the large round one before the fire and seldom used it.
I mostly cook for just two. I found my green oval one at Homegoods - it was $89 and I think it sells for $259 elsewhere. I see there is now a purple color available.

Erica said...

I have no idea because last night I ate easy mac and that isn't weird for me.

But don't you just love Ina Garten. I want to go to one of her dinner parties and be friends with all her gay friends.

Anonymous said...

I have the 5.5 qt. round LC, in "flame", like Ina there, that my MIL gave me for my birthday years ago (I requested it, but didn't specify size. It is a bit large for dinner for two, but I use it all the time to make roasts, soups, etc. and meals when I want leftovers. Highly recommend getting the larger one, Decorno.

Sharon said...

I'm just going to sit here and pretend like it is perfectly normal for me to be commenting on the same blog as Stephen Drucker.

Michelle said...

We have a 4.5qt one and it's perfect. Though I wish I had gotten it in white. We do a lot of cooking for our family and friends and the size works great.

Anonymous said...

I got the large one first, then the small. I use the large one far more often.

xcm said...

I have the Le Creuset 25 oval, two people, but more on weekends. You can go a little bigger but also consider just getting two pots like I did; those babies are HEAVY when they're full.

Btw, I the only one who is beyond impressed that Stephen Drucker reads your blog and offered you his 24 round (assuming he's the same Stephen Drucker I think he is)? Are you guys BFFs or something? Wow. My monthly HB is like crack to me.

Anonymous said...

I have the 4.5 quart in blue; it is great for tomato sauce and soup serving 4-6. I have been pining for a 9 quart for years, but have been holding out for the awesome earth/light brown color that I have only seen in France (I don't have access to the outlets, sigh).

So I say go for at least the 7 quart; just be prepared for the heaviness.

MoreSkinnyDays said...

I am curious, do you not call it a Dutch oven because it's made by Le Creuset or because a Dutch oven is also known as farting under the sheets?

Lisa said...

Get a large one and get the oval shape! The oval shape has more uses and allows you to set the lid ascew just the way you want it. For a family of 3 I use the large oval pot all the time. This is an item you should not live without!

brianne said...

Honestly, i have both a 3.5qt and 5.5qt, and the larger of those two is PERFECT for 3 people. I make soups, risottos, chutney/jam, etc. 3.5 qt is great for boiling up some water or making something simple like a couple servings of rice, too. I wouldn't start with anything bigger than a 5.5qt because they are heavy and space consuming at anything larger unless you specifically need it.

Michelle said...

I have a 26 round, which is 5.5 quarts. It's the perfect size for cooking for two, and I usually make double batches of soups and stews. There are two things to consider if you're thinking of going bigger than you need. Bigger is heavier--and these things are beasts to begin with. If you're cooking a small amount of stew or meat to braise, all that extra area and space to heat makes for inefficient cooking and can cause things to dry out: I've heard you want to keep them half to three-quarters full. Cook's Illustrated says 7 quarts is the ideal size for deep-frying, so that's something to consider.

maya said...

Oval, medium-sized, big enough to hold a chicken is a good place to start. You'll like cooking with it so much that you'll end up buying pieces both smaller and larger, so basically you can't go wrong.

Also, though I like LC and use it regularly, Staub is much nicer to cook with, has been more durable in my experience, and looks great. Very high shine enamel exterior, gorgeous velvety black interior that really is non-stick. More expensive though, and almost never on sale unless you go to their factory store in Alsace. My husband declared a moratorium on hauling home enormous cast iron cookware in our luggage after I went a little overboard there, so no more discount Staub for me...

Harbormom said...

I have three sizes, all received as wedding gifts in (gulp!) 1966! I have broken the handle on one, and another has a crack in it, but I can't part with them! If I had to choose one, I ditto David - get the biggest and freeze the extra.

Eileen said...

OK, I just counted, and I have 6 Le Creuset items--in varying sizes, and I want more. Maybe you should just walk away now.

Decorno said...

Stephen - I'll take it.

And I also want at spot at Ina's table for six. (I'm getting greedy now, huh?)

Hanako66 said...

i use the oval 6 3/4 qt. i generally cook for 2, but when i have needed to cook for more, this is suitable. i do, however want to get a larger one for soups that i make in large quantities if that helps...

Liz said...

5.5 quart is the way to go. I use it all the time to cook for my husband and I or for company (up to 8), and I've only encountered one recipe that wasn't going to fit, so I halved it.

home before dark said...

I so agree with David about going big and then freeze. I have several sizes because I am a cookware whore, yes I have admitted it. The ovals are great for roasting and for au gratins. Nothing says lovin' like something braising in your oven.

The biggest. Did I miss it? What color are you?

cats said...

i have a large staub (with the adorable little chicken on the lid handle) that i've never used, but i use my 2 1/2 quart le creuset all the time. i love the small size for making mark bittman's no knead bread. if you use the smaller size for the bread it'll be taller; in a larger pot it flattens out. if you haven't tried this bread, get on it, stat. it's the best reason to use le creuset.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/08/dining/08mini.html?_r=1

Drea said...

I don't know how many quarts my #22 dutch oven is, but it's the smaller of my two, and my BF and I eat out of it (sometimes literally) ALL the time. Best damn thing I ever bought. I have the #26 as well, but it usually comes out for company, or it I'm making Boeuf Bourgignon and BF wants leftovers.

Congrats on the decision! It's gonna change your life, Ladybird!

sotto cenere said...

After reading http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/469551
and an intervention by my husband, I went with the Staub 5 qt.- it is incredible.
Sick of hearing me toss in my sleep mumbling "white... no, red..", my husband marched into Sur La Table and quickly nominated Staub as the one to buy. It's like having a little BMW in your kitchen. But it's really about the way it drives.

(Staub 1102925 5-qt. Oval French Oven: Matte Black)

Michele said...

Not sure about changing your life, but it will tone the arms. I have lots of Le Creuset pots, casseroles, saucepans, fry pans. The biggest I have you could bath a baby in, but once full I really have difficulty lifting it. Just discovered a hole in my favorite soup pot (after 25 years!) so might get a new color to replace it. Not sure whether to tell you to go small or medium......depends how many you cook for, whether you want to freeze some, or what state your biceps are in. Not much help, huh?

Anonymous said...

I have the 7-quart one, and we are only a family of four with 2 kids who don't eat much. I've never regretted buying the large size and do freeze some of the leftovers. But I'm thinking I might have to buy another one of these. Have you seen the new eggplant color of Le Creuset at Williams-Sonoma? It is as close as I will ever get to a cookware orgasm.

Elizgonz said...

Mine says 5 1/2 qt. on the lid. I use it at least twice or three times a week and it is the perfect size for my family (2 adults and 3 young kids who never eat what I cook). To be honest, anything larger would be a major pain to work with. Then again, maybe your new kitchen has a nice, convenient spot for it that doesn't requre bending down.

Lise said...

SmittenKitchen.com goes for Staub over Le Creuset "Staubs are my personal favorite; I not only like their cool industrial design but two features that others do not have — little divots, called “self-basting spikes” under the lids and handles that are steel, not plastic, meaning that you do not have to worry about them melting should your oven exceed 450¯F. You only *need* one but I’ve been unable to resist two over the years. My 7-quart oval is great for big meals, dinner parties and is large enough to hold a whole roast or bird. My 5-quart round is the perfect size for everyday cooking." And I find her advice to be pretty reliable. I also love the colors Staub makes. They are on Amazon or locally from your Kitchen store.

Kim said...

This may have already been said (didn't read them all) but you will always want leftovers of anything you make in one of these. To freeze, or give to guests to take home, or to have again the next night. That said, I have a smaller one that I love using to make brown rice or to cook beans in the oven. Whoever said you need a range of sizes is right. But for yummy, saucy, braise-y things, you want LOTS.

Decorno said...

Sharon at 7:46am:

Me, too. :)

Decorno said...

MoreSkinnyDays - now that's my kind of question.

Only only call it that because that is the product name on Amazon. It did cross my mind, though, that they were sparing me from using the other name. I have an brother, so I know all about the other kind of dutch ovens. Unfortunately.

Cynthia said...

5 qt round. I find it very flexible. (only 2 people in my household) It's fine for cooking smaller amounts but if we have company it's still big enough.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Decorno, only you could get me to read a post and comments about dutch ovens (both kinds). Obvs. a testament to your awesomeness. Ina may throw fun dinner parties, but I would love to attend one with you, Gay Hooker, and Penelope. Happy New Year,
sl

red ticking said...

i love this cookware... i started out with the large pc.. the skillet (fabulous) and then with a stroke of luck found a 13 pc blue set on ebay (brand new) and got it for $480 - no one else bid at all... the cost of shipping almost sent me over the edge but it was such a deal i couldn't complain... and i LOVE it all... you will never regret buying anything from them.
best investment...ever. happy new year elaine... pam

Anonymous said...

I have three. What you want is the "26" which is about 10 1/2 inches across the top. I have one smaller and never use it. I have larger one that I use sometimes. The "26" (it's stamped on the bottom) is the go-to pot cooking for two people.

ChristyD said...

Was that THE Stephen Drucker? Wow, Decorno!

Okay, I have only skimmed the comments, so maybe I am repeating someone else's comment, but my local HomeGoods carries Le Creuset at a major discount. The label says "Le Creuset Seconds" or something similar. I asked the sales lady at Williams Sonoma about it because I am in the market and would rather buy the less expensive Le Creuset, but I don't want lead paint or some other nightmare. She said they are fine and usually just a bad color lot. So if you have a HomeGoods nearby, it might be worth a shot.

joanny said...

If you can afford it buy all three -- or start with the bigger one-- Then you can invite your bloggee friends to stop by for dinner--
Funny thing is my 'grown' children bought me a few very expensive cookware pieces for Christmas one large and one small capacity -- well I am glad they also bought me the large capacity -- I use it the most. Love it -- makes a so-so cook like me where the food comes out great each time.
Joanny

Anonymous said...

5qt is sufficient for 2-3 people. I love the yellow ones. Yellow is classic and goes with everything.

Anonymous said...

What would Jeffrey pick...

pegr said...

I have the 7 quart Doufou, found in my William Sonoma outlet in NY.Got it for $90 in yellow. It is HEAVY but is perfect for pot roast,
stews,jambalaya,gumbo and spagetti sauce. If you have the larger size you'll find more use for it and the doufou has handles instead of the knob.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anyone else suggested this but you may want to read the article at Cook's Illustrated. They tested several brands and the results were interesting, especially if you want to save some money.

So Haute said...

I have 5 quart oval and a 5 1/2 quart round...sort of retarted since they're practically the same size (although the oval does come in handy for certain dishes) but I think the 5 1/2 quart round would serve you just fine. It's an ideal size, you can use it to cook meals large and small and like everyone says, you can always upgrade from there!

Anonymous said...

Of course Ina is not going to claim to be an adventurous eater. That would be a marketing no-no. She markets to the masses (and does it well).

And no, don't get the bigger pot. Get the smallest one. You don't need the big one and frankly, I doubt you'll end up using it much.

Anonymous said...

I waited to comment until I could check mine out. I have the 5.5 QT round and love it. I was on a cooking binge this weekend and used it several times. We are just 2 people, but I like making extra stuff to freeze for weeknight meals. I wouldn't go larger though, they are heavy!

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Ana said...

I agree go a size larger and Julia Child always said to get an oval one because you can get a bird in it.

I have Caribbean Blue and I"m in love with it, I think it's the best color around.

hello gorgeous said...

Make sure a chicken will fit in it. And a roast.

Now, what color?

Anonymous said...

Staub is way better than Le Creuset. They have a patented paint that makes the enamel color deeper and shinier. The SS knob doesn't melt in hot temperatures (like the LC knob does), and the self-braising divits on the under side of the lide ensure your food will be more moist and flavorful. Besides, Le Creuset is so 70s looking.

Giovanna said...

i have the same question! all these responses have really helped...thanks! i love the caribbean blue color too...