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VINE VOICEon March 20, 2012
I'm constitutionally incapable of spending $300+ for a single pot, but I was lucky enough to walk into an outlet store - with money burning a hole in my pocket - and found it at 40% off. The delightful sales lady greased the skids with a long, intense conversation about no-knead bread recipes, for which this pot is utterly perfect. She and I hand-picked the lid with the most perfect fit. I will never regret the decision.

(The recent flood of cheap, Chinese Le-Creuset-wannabee cookware is very welcome, providing excellent value, but I haven't yet seen a Chinese doufeu, and if I did I would expect the lid to fit poorly.)

But it wasn't until I got it home and read the included recipe book that I realized just what it was I had. A recipe for Poulet aux Olives calls for 2 tbs white wine and the juice of one lemon, NO OTHER FLUID. The recipe would be impossible in an ordinary pot without the tight seal and the ice-assisted constant rain over the ingredients.

[Update: My household doesn't always have ice cubes, so I got inventive: I put the lid in the freezer and filled it with water. I now keep several doufeu-shaped ice slabs in my freezer ready for use any time (see image, above).]

To any cook worth his salt, recipes are just a hint. With this drop-dead-gorgeous tool (mine in cobalt blue) now in my quiver, my horizons have expanded. What a shame they don't include a recipe for lamb shanks, eh? Never mind: I have the shanks warming on the counter as I write, and the osso buco recipe points in the right direction...

[Update: I've now made quite a few things in it, and my delight just gets more intense. Last night a marinaded pork vindaloo was about to get put in a slow cooker with a cup or two of water. Instead, I put it in the doufeu with no added water at all, turned the heat on at Low, and 2 1/2 lb of pork happily bubbled away for two hours in 1 cup of crushed tomatoes and six tablespoons of white wine vinegar. The end result was the densest, richest vindaloo I've ever made, and I'm really looking forward to serving it tonight.]

When you tire of Rachael Ray and her yummo can opener, contemplate one of these and the truly excellent recipe book it comes with.
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on June 21, 2011
I have several Le Creuset pieces and this is one of my favorites. Last night I prepared Boeuf Bourguignon on a very low simmer for hours. I refrigerated it in advance for this evenings dinner so all the herbs and flavors could marry. All I can tell you is my French husband was impressed. It is a joy to cook in this masterpiece! It can be used in the oven or on the stove. Ice cubes ontop are not mandatory as the very engineering of this oven seals nicely and locks in moisture; however, sometimes I do use ice for a little extra. The other week I made Chicken Adobo and it was so tender and succulent the meat melted off the bones. I must confess I purchased this for a lower price in Paris where I reside, but even if you decide to make this investment in the US I promise you if you love to cook like I do, you won't be sorry! You will be constantly dreaming about new and delicious dishes to be savored. It's a work of art. Everything comes out délicieux!
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on February 22, 2012
I went to an outlet store looking for a 7qt dutch oven. The sales lady brought this to my attention and I am glad she did. It's more expensive than a dutch oven of the same size (although I got a pretty good discount for it, on top of the outlet price), but I like the look of this better and it's just such an interesting piece of cookware. I have used it to make a soup and a stew and both came out well. I don't believe the same dishes can't be made in other pots, but this definitely made the cooking fun. It's such a beautiful cookware.

The word 'doufeu' came from two French words that mean 'slow fire'. The lid is shaped so that you can put ice or cold water in it during cooking so the steam coming up inside the pot can meet the colder lid, condensate and drip back into the pot. This supposedly help with water circulation and retention while stewing/roasting meat. Supposedly this method of cooking was invented when a good cut of meat was hard to come by and people had to be creative about tenderizing poor cut. I don't have experience to prove that's effective, but I like the fact that the lid can be used by itself to bake a small portion of corn bread, potato casserole, apple crisp, or pretty much anything. You can also flip it over to use the other side to broil a piece of meat and have the fat drip in to the groove around it. Although the surface area is not very big so I don't suppose you can cook much at a time. Just something fun you can do I guess.

Overall I am glad I finally got a dutch oven and such an interesting one! I'd call this a chef's toy instead of a necessity. If you have the money to spend I'll highly recommend it. I like the fact that this has a life time warranty. But for the price I'd better not need it anytime soon. :)
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on August 31, 2013
The first Doufeau Oven I received from Amazon arrived in an unmarked white box (inside of an Amazon packing box), which nowhere on it said Le Creuset, instead of the normal heavy gauge orange cardboard boxes which say LC and show the item image. Not only was the white box not taped closed (someone had obviously opened it previously and returned it), so it was not sealed and protected--and it slid out of the white box during shipping and was tossing about, loose inside the Amazon shipping box. Shocking! It was cracked in 5 places, chipped with huge chunks out and gouges so big that one could see the cast iron beneath the enamel, in numerous places. It was a disaster. In addition to the terrible flaws and damage, the plastic pieces and cardboard that normally separate and protect the heavy cast iron lid from the bottom, were nowhere to be found, nor was any paperwork. This was obviously a factory second which someone had previously returned, and Amazon didn't even inspect before they sent it back out. I called Amazon and they promptly sent another one to me, with free overnight shipping. This time--much to my dismay, they sent it completely unprotected, without ANY surrounding Amazon packaging whatsoever--and it arrived in its original Le Creuset (orange this time) box, battered and ripped and filthy from shipping, with merely a shipping label slapped on it and a tiny "Heavy Item" sticker on it. For the love of God. MIRACULOUSLY, the Doufeau was mostly intact, with a small chip in the enamel at the very top of the bottom pot's lip. Which I can live with, because this was the last one in stock (and the only reason I got it at Amazon was because no one else had it) and I have heard the horror stories about returning LC, only to get replacements that have even more damage. So I am keeping it. In the big picture, I can't believe Amazon ships such high-end, delicate, expensive cookware in such a sloppy, haphazard, disrespectful and careless way. As others have said and I will repeat here, you take a big risk when ordering Le Creuset from Amazon, for a myriad of reasons--including their inconsistent shipping and packing methods. I have purchased all of my other LC pieces from a competitor that begins with a Z, who also has free shipping and returns--but with a 365 return policy, which Prime does not. They know how to package LC with care and respect, how to protect the product, and I have received each piece from them in impeccable, pristine (and not seconds or second-hand quality) condition. I highly recommend shopping with them, instead, for LC products. Amazon does a lot of things fairly well (although their packing is all over the place with everything), but LC cookware it does not. As far as the Doufeau goes--it is gorgeous and I can't wait to cook in it. The reviewer who said it is poorly designed and has a "slick top," is incorrect. (That was just to justify her accidental breakage to get the warranty replacement. It is impeccably designed.) There is nothing slick or loose about it, and it fits perfectly into the bottom pot like a puzzle piece with an interlocking depressed portion. And it is not as heavy as you would think! It's a dream.

The 2 stars are for Amazon in this case (I should give them 1), to alert you to go elsewhere, if you can. 5 Stars for Le Creuset and the Doufeau.
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on December 12, 2011
The handle snapped when the slick lid slid 3 feet from my stove onto a soft linoleum floor. It is clear that the break occurred at a weak point in the brittle cast iron handle, which is flared upwards. This is an inherently poor design. According to Le Creuset customer service, the "life-time" warranty does not cover damage due to the lid being dropped. High priced cookware should not break under these circumstances. One cannot buy a replacement lid alone. I was offered a discounted price to replace the entire unit, but would have to pay the cost of shipping the 17 pound pot and lid. My advice is not to buy an item whose lid can break so easily. Compared with other oval Dutch ovens, there is no advantage whatsoever to this piece.

Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 2-1/2-Quart Round Doufeu, CherryLe Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron 7-1/4-Quart Oval Doufeu Oven, Flame7.25-Quart Oval Doufeu in Flame7.25-Quart Oval Doufeu in Cherry
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on January 15, 2013
And she is cooking some amazing things with it. So glad we got this pot. Well worth the investment. Truly.
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