Top positive review
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Bigger handles, better grip, most useful size for soup and roasts
on May 14, 2012
My original Le Creuset has the smaller handles and though it's the most beloved pot I own, the handles are an issue. I have a bit of arthritis in my thumbs and I found that lifting the pot using even Silicone Mitts was a bit squirmy and I felt a bit unsure, especially when taking a heavy pot out of the oven.
This pot has bigger handles for a better grip but is the same, wonderful enamel-over-cast iron that works so well for cooking soups and roasts. The enamel is inert (like glass) and is non-stick as long as you remember not to scratch it up with abrasive cleaners and scrubbers. If something sticks, you can soak it when it's cooled down, and there is a TRICK for the sad, black patches that happen occasionally to the distracted cook. (No saving the burnt-flavored food, you're on your own if your pot roast "catches" on the bottom. I taste the sauce, and if no burnt flavor permeates, we are good to go.) To remove burnt patches, let the pot cool down, fill about 1/4 the way with water, add a handful of baking SODA and boil up. Then let sit off heat. The action of the alkaline soda on the somewhat acidic burnt food will lift it right off the bottom in big flakes. Then you can wash out the pot as usual. For stains, you can use a paste of baking soda or try some Barkeeper's Friend (which is said to be non-abrasive.) The pot will eventually stain a bit on the bottom, and that is called "patina"; in other words, don't fret.
This pot stays on my stove all the time--it's pretty and I love the cherry red, though the other colors are equally attractive. I had to choose, and red is good in many kitchens (black and white, yellow, for example.) It looks appetizing.
I will include here my pot roast recipe, which was and is our favorite dish from the dutch oven:
French Style Pot Roast
3 lb chuck roast
1 big yellow onion
1 leek, white part cleaned and sliced
1 diced carrot
1 stalk fine diced celery
1/2 lb mushrooms (prefer brown crimini, but white mushrooms work too)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 handful parsley, chopped, optional
Salt, pepper as desired
1/3 bottle good Merlot, Cabernet, or Shiraz (any drinkable dry red wine)
1 Tbs beef stock paste (Mrs. Minors) or 1 packet beef bouillon powder
Brown meat in Le Creuset Dutch oven until all sides are browned. Take out meat and set on a platter.
Brown onion (large dice), then leek, carrot and celery until softened. Add in tomato paste, garlic, beef stock paste or powder, deglaze (bring up the cooked bits from bottom of pot with the wine. Add back the meat, season, add bay leaf. Place in 325 degree oven, cook for 2 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender and falling apart. About 1/2 the way to this point, add in the washed, sliced mushrooms.
When the meat is cooked, remove it to a platter and keep warm. De-grease the sauce: remove bay leaf, push sauce through a sieve (to extract vegetables), pour sauce into a gravy separator and let settle. Pour off the sauce and discard the fat. Reheat gravy, season if you like with the parsley. Slice the meat and serve with the gravy.