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185 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magic Red Pot
I bought this because I had used a Le Creuset dutch oven long ago, in grad school. Several of our professors in the department were very good cooks and they all swore by a particular French pot that was the best thing for stews, braised meats, soups --anything, in short, you wanted to cook in a dutch oven.

We've had ours for quite some time. I leave it on the...
Published on March 26, 2012 by Joanna Daneman

versus
238 of 271 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great pot; lousy customer service
Bits of the inside finish chipped off after I had used it approximately 4 times to make onion soup. I sent it to Le Creuset to be replaced under the terms of their warranty which said that the warranty would be voided if the pot had been burned. I was completely confident that the pot had not been burned. There were no scorch marks, burn marks or any other indications...
Published 22 months ago by David Alan Thurn


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185 of 191 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magic Red Pot, March 26, 2012
I bought this because I had used a Le Creuset dutch oven long ago, in grad school. Several of our professors in the department were very good cooks and they all swore by a particular French pot that was the best thing for stews, braised meats, soups --anything, in short, you wanted to cook in a dutch oven.

We've had ours for quite some time. I leave it on the stove because it's heavy and because I probably use it once a week to cook a dinner to serve for the weekend and then pack up for busy weeknights.

It is true that the enamel is practically non-stick. If you do not let the pot get over heated, which it does NOT like, and which will damage the enamel, it will stay "non-stick" for a long time. If you do not scratch the enamel with harsh scrubbing pads or with metal implements, it will stay in good order.

The pot is HEAVY. Now, this is a consideration if you have arthritis. It sounds trivial until you develop joint problems (my thumbs and one wrist are not what they were....) and so lifting it in and out of the oven is an issue for some people. The lid handle, a flat knob, requires you to use a pot holder, and the same for the stirrup handles. I suggest glove-type hot mitts instead of a pad for a sure grip if you are removing it from a hot oven or hot stove.

Clean-up is easy. Let the pot cool, soak in some soapy water, wipe out and if needed, use a mild nylon scrubbing pad. There will be some staining (or patina) from some foods, and if this bothers you, you can use a special cleanser but I don't worry. Some people do clean the stubborn stains with a paste of Barkeepers Friend, which is said not to be abrasive. If you burn the pot, you can remove the burnt-on crust by an easy technique (applies to any pan.) Boil up some baking soda in water in the pan. Let it sit. The burnt stuff will peel off and you can then wash out the pot.

I will include here my recipe for French-Style pot roast, which we liked a lot and was my husband's absolutely favorite dish.

3 1/2 lb of beef shoulder or boneless chuck roast
2 Tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
Salt, pepper, and a bay leaf
2 medium yellow onions, cut in chunks
1 leek, well cleaned, just the white part cut into slices.
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/3 bottle of merlot wine
1/2 lb mushrooms (white or crimini brown) cleaned and sliced
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 Tbs Minor's Beef Base or substitute 1 cube or packet beef bouillon powder

Method:
Dry the beef and saute in hot oil in the dutch oven. Brown on all sides, remove to a plate to hold. Saute onions and leeks until they just begin to clear, add in crushed garlic and 1/2 of the mushrooms. Let the mushrooms wilt and add in the wine. Cook down until the wine is reduce by at least half. Add in the beef base, tomato paste, seasonings, bay leaf, add back the beef, the wine and reduce somewhat. Then add enough water to cover up to half the height of the meat. Cook on the stove top until the meat is very tender (about 2.5 hours, your time may vary.) Some people do this step in a 350 degree oven and you can certainly do that, too.

Remove beef to a plate, keep it warm, pour off the gravy, skim off the fat (I use a gravy separator) and puree the gravy if you want it smooth. Saute the rest of the mushrooms and add them to the gravy and reheat this sauce. (you can do the mushrooms ahead of time.) Slice the meat across the grain, serve with the sauce.
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238 of 271 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great pot; lousy customer service, October 30, 2012
Bits of the inside finish chipped off after I had used it approximately 4 times to make onion soup. I sent it to Le Creuset to be replaced under the terms of their warranty which said that the warranty would be voided if the pot had been burned. I was completely confident that the pot had not been burned. There were no scorch marks, burn marks or any other indications that the pot had been burned. The missing chips were scattered at random on the bottom of the pot. (In other words, they did not show a distinctive circular pattern which may have resulted from the circular heating element.)

Much to my astonishment, they refused to replace it because they claimed that the pot had been burned. It hadn't been burned. They refused to return the pot to me so I had no way of disputing their claim.

However, they did offer to send me another pot for a fairly large amount of money.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heavy, sturdy, all-purpose, fabulous!, October 7, 2012
By 
Angie McCullagh (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
I splurged and bought this pot a few years ago to bake The New York Times no-knead bread in. I also figured I could use it for soups and stews and chilis. What I didn't realize at the time was how prevalent this pot would become in my cookware rotation. It's second only to my iron skillet in frequency of use. I love to braise pork tenderloin in this with some chicken stock, water and herbs, I love it for tortilla soup, huge vats of oatmeal, and yes, for baking bread.

I have damaged the pot a few times. It's not difficult to hurt the interior enamel lining, which I've done by accidentally letting liquid boil down to almost nothing (very, very bad). It chipped and more than once I thought I'd have to throw the pot away. I could never bring myself to because of how much I paid for it. Subsequently, the inside of my Le Creuset is not very pretty or as non-stick as it once was.

The pot continues to get a lot of use in my household, though. It's just so all-purpose and despite the damage heats foods evenly.

Since I loved a previous reviewer's idea of posting a recipe in her review, here's mine for Cioppino:

1 fennel bulb, stalks discarded and bulb chopped (or substitute 1 chopped green bell pepper)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 shallot, chopped (optional)

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, grapeseed oil, or canola oil

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Black pepper to taste

2 bay leaves

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme or a large pinch of fresh

1/8 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes or tabasco sauce to taste

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes in juice

2 cups water or fish stock

1 cup red wine

1 (8-ounce) bottle clam juice

1 pound skinless fillets of thick white-fleshed fish such as halibut, hake, or pollack, cut into 2-inch chunks

1 pound cultivated mussels (Here's some info on the difference between cultivated and wild mussels). (Can substitute little neck clams or oysters.)

Fresh parsley for garnish

In a large saucepan, heat oil. Add fennel, onion, garlic, and shallot and cook until just tender.

Add red pepper flakes, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper, tomatoes (with juice), wine, water, and clam juice and bring to a boil. Let boil uncovered for about 20 minutes. Stir in seafood and simmer, uncovered, just until fish is cooked through. Be careful not to overcook your cioppino.

Serve with sourdough (perfect for sopping up broth).
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62 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If I could only cook with ONE item, August 26, 2012
...it would, hands down, be this enameled cast-iron french oven. I found a Le Creuset 5 1/2 quart oven at a discounted price last year when the colors were being changed from solid to the ombre-like coloring they currently have.

Needless to say, I love it.

It browns, sears, develops fond, deglazes, fries, bakes, sautes; it does everything. In it, I have made soup, stew, red sauces, enchilada sauces, macaroni and cheese, as well as any dish that requires sauteing onions first. I have seared and cooked all kinds of meat, fried donuts, onion rings and french fries. I love using it. It does Everything it is supposed to do Perfectly. It cleans up terribly easily; you'd think it would be super hard considering the things I've made it in, but you'd be wrong. It is heavy and durable and will last forever. I love it and would never give it up.

It is, without a doubt, the single best thing I have ever bought to use in my kitchen, for cooking or otherwise.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is used almost daily., March 23, 2013
I had previously been using a Calphalon 5 Qt. Dutch oven that had slowly lost its finish inside. I purchased this as a replacement and what a gem. Every time I make Ina Garten's Beef Bourguignon from her Paris cookbook and bake it in the oven in my Le Creuset it is heavenly. This dish melts in your mouth, it is so tender. Family and guests rave. I recently did a chicken dish the same way and it was also excellent.

The Le Creuset French Oven is good solid cookware, and although heavy, a sound investment. Wonderful as a wedding gift or early anniversary gift. Don't wait too long to buy it for someone else or for yourself - there's just too many good cooking years ahead, Enjoy it Now!

When thinking about a purchase for a gift, bigger is not always better. If you think the 5.5 Qt. pan is heavy when it is empty, it's REALLY heavy when its filled. My daughter received the 7 Qt. for Christmas. It will be interesting to see how she likes the larger size.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything as advertised., November 13, 2013
By 
Peter Bushman (Martinsburg, WV USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The high regard Le Creuset cookware has is well deserved. This 5 1/2 quart size holds a 5# chicken with ease. Plenty of room left over to add broth, veggies, other edibles.

Le Creuset says to not use metal when cooking. Good advice. The porcelain enameled on the cast iron is harder than metal, stainless steel anyway, and you will leave minute metal particles in the enameled porcelain. Don't use metal and the piece stays pristine forever. Low heat is key.

Clean up is a snap. Soap and water.

A kitchen using a Le Creuset pice, is a happy kitchen.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars chipped within 2 weeks, December 22, 2013
This review is from: Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron 5-1/2-Quart Round French (Dutch) Oven, Cassis (Kitchen)
First disclaimer in order, i got this through my points redemption, not from Amazon. I haven't had the foresight to check amazon review first and now am out of some 20000 hard earned points. For a upwards of $200 investment, you would think the inner coating would stick around for a while and not chip as easily. So I am baffled as to why it won't even withstand the lightest use. I am not a baker. I only switched to Le Creuset because I am tired of replacing my non-stick stir fry pan every other year, and the toxic chemicals they purported release. Never did I use any metal on the enamel. Only wooden or bamboo, for an average of 5 uses per week. Usually soak overnight and wash with hands. I haven't put it in the oven yet and the side enamel had a noticeable chip out of the blue. I was much rougher with my nonsticks and yet they lasted longer. Having read the horrid after sale experiences of some folks here, that one had to haggle with Le Creuset in order for them to honor their warranty i am leaning towards not shipping back while praying for their exchange, and be glad that I didn't buy it with *real* money.
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22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent, multi-purpose pot, May 15, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm happy to have finally purchased my Le Creuset 5.5 quart pot.

From experience with my mother's 30+ year old 5.5 Le Creuset French oven I know that it will have a long life. The enameled cast iron is hard wearing, and is easily cleaned.

This pot is perfect for braising meat, making chili, browning onions, creating soup, etc (it's just the right size)! For $265 it's definitely worth the cost--not an item you use twice a year.

Don't be fooled by cheaper imitations: a family member purchased a Martha Stewart enameled dutch oven only to have it recalled over a safety issue.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it! A kitchen basic., May 18, 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I'm a 40 year old single guy in New York learning to cook. LISTEN UP GUYS!!! This the first piece of real cookware you should purchase along with Molly Stevens All About Braising. This the everday every use piece of cookware. Your next stop should be a 3 1/2 quart braised. Learn how to braise a few things and you never go back. You'll be cooking for yourself, bringing left overs to work and cooking for friends and family. I can't believe how easy it has become. The basics...take any kind of meat or cut, brown it on both sides then remove, brown those veggies, add the meat back with some wine then stock and fresh herbs, place in oven for 30 to 60 minutes....amazing.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nonstick, Quality, Unlimited Uses...Don't be tempted by Knock Offs!, July 8, 2013
I have been eyeing Le Crueset dutch ovens for years & splurged on one for Christmas for my husband this year. We do NOT regret it!

This pan is made of the highest quality. These dutch ovens have been made in France since the 20s. The enamel on these dutch ovens will last. We will be passing this down to our children & they to theirs. We have this dutch oven in the "Carribean" color & it is stunningly beautiful. We have it on display in our kitchen.

Do NOT be tempted by knock off dutch ovens! Several of these are touted by celebrities on the Food Network. They are made in mass & do not even compare to the quality of the Le Creuset. The price point might be lower, but you will be sorry. Do not be penny wise & pound foolish.

Buy this dutch oven & challenge yourself to replace your other pots & pans with this 1 kitchen item. You will be *amazed* at the way it sears, stews, bakes, & boils. The enamel is truly nonstick (I still spray with Pam or put a small amount of oil in the bottom, just to be sure). This item will likely replace everything you have used before!

Take good care of this dutch oven. Wash it carefully & it will last a lifetime (& then some...)
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