For all you cooking enthusiasts out there it’s that time of year again as we enter the fall and we bring out our favorite braiser. These cast iron heavy duty cooking pots are the ones we love as they are perfect for slow cooking and tenderizing meat and creating delicious juice for that tantalizing sauce that is just right.
Our long term favorite has always been the Le Creuset 5.5 enameled cooking pot. It’s durability comes from the exterior cast iron, which holds heat well, but the light colored interior allows us to see browning taking place and what’s more it is so very easy to clean. It’s lid fits extremely well and is ideal in most ways. A favorite for sure.
However a few others have caught our eye. Strauss 5 quart round enameled cast-iron La Cocotte pot in bright colors. Along with the brand new Flame-top Stewpot from Emile Henry, a 5.5 quart round pot made of glazed clay.
Both these new competitors have boasted new lids that will give you a break from basting. Typically the when braising the cook needs to peek in at the meat as it is not submerged and stop every now and then to baste the meat keeping it moist during cooking time.
The Straub and Henry cooking pots boast a new technology. The undersides of the lids have nubs which when the steam collects in the lid is then converted into moisture which drips over the meat self- basting.
The competition is on. We tested our favorite Le Creuset against the newbies with seared Lamb shanks and sautéed vegetables all in a broth of wine. We covered all braisers with lids and brought them to boil on the stove and then put each of them into a 325 degree oven for two hours. We did pull out our the Le Creuset twice to baste and turn over the meat. We left the Straub and Henry to work it’s wonder as it purports.
And the winner is… Le Creuset! The lid was the tightest keeping the steam in and due to the pale interior the other two went into the burn territory unable to see it brown as it progressed. We also didn’t like the smaller handles on the outside of the new contenders. But most importantly the new pots did not braise as promised as the lamb shanks were quite dry where exposed and there was no steam on the inside of each lid.
Our final judgment is that Le Creuset reigns supreme with it’s pale interior one can see the food browning. It’s tight fitting lid holds the steam in. It’s handles are easy and its shape allows for even distribution in cooking. Don’t forget it’s easy to clean up. Our old favorite the winner…. Le Creuset.
Both brands can be found at Williams-Sonoma, Sur la Table, Macys, Bloomingdales. After watching cooking demonstration at Macys I was given 10% Shoppers Pass so I purchased Le Creuset set right away. Then I went online and found out about Macys Friends and Family event 2 days later. The best thing that I was able to make price adjustment on the previous sets after they went on sale. Thank you, Macys for helping me becoming a Domestic Goddess!