Braises, stews, and the like

@emglow101 nailed it for me. They all arrive at the same destination!

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Great topic, Tim.

As I mentioned in my post in the ‘instant pot’ thread, I prefer to cook where I can monitor the cooking process.

To an extent I can still do this when cooking a stew in the oven, but my preference is to cook the stew on the stovetop without using the lid, unless the stew recipe specifically call for the use of the lid during the cooking process.

I prefer to cook my stews in one of my 4 Staub ECI pots/dutch ovens or in one of my 3 Le Creuset ECI pots/dutch ovens, but results are also very nice when cooked in one of my 2 Fissler Original Profi pots.

I also from time to time cook smaller stews in my Falk copper 24 cm Pot au feu.

Staub VS Le Creuset ECI pots ?
I own and use both. If you pointed a gun to my head and asked me to pick one over the other, my preference would be for Staub. I like the dark inner bottom better, they sear a bit more evenly and their pots seem to be thicker and slightly better build quality than Le Creuset.
I have zero problems monitoring the browning process with the black inner bottom in the Staub, and coincidentally 2 of my 4 Le Creuset ECI pots have the same black inner enamel glass coating.

If I’m lazy I’m browning the meat in one and same pot for the whole stew, but I get better results by using either a low sauter pan or a frying pan in either carbon steel, PLY or copper and then deglaze afterwards and pouring that into the stew pot.

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One of my favorites. I think from
Le Creuset at Vacaville Premium Oulets
It’s about 5"×2" and I don’t think it would work for a braise, but great for cooking or reheating a single serving of something that benefits from an oven.

I’d love to know other ways to use it.

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Stovetop, 1 pot.
I like to see what’s going on, check on liquid, taste, add things etc
Arbitrary choice, sometimes a cast iron pot, sometimes enamelled cast iron, sometimes the first pot I see. All are no name brands :wink:
If a lot of acidic ingredients are used, I stay away from standard cast iron.
I use the oven sometimes, when the wind is blowing too much. Mostly, I just forget I could use the oven.
Sometimes it goes on top of my charcoal grill or on tripod over coals

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I’m in the brown on stove top, braise in the oven camp when it comes to stews, pot roasts etc. All in the same pot.
My preferred vessel is a 5qt LC ECI oval Dutch oven. Yes, OVAL. I think this shape is just so much nicer looking than the round and fits better on the stove top. And the lighter interior of the LC makes it easier to monitor browning.
I’ve followed a few recipes for stovetop cooking for stews, and they worked fine, but the oven method is much easier. 250-300F for a couple of hours with a few peeks and stirs. And the oven method is better for larger cuts like a pot roast.

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Has to be ECI these days on the stovetop because I have induction. Braises and stews are all one pan, round Dutch oven. Brisket I do in a large round le cresset casserole pan with an ECI cover, in a slow oven. Works like a charm. I’ve had the pan for so many years, I don’t remember making a brisket any other way (although I suspect I might have used a Graniteware roaster …). My copper rondeau has been relegated to baking stuffing.

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Do you find copper pots on par with ECI pots for stews and soups ?

I honestly think I prefer my ECI pots over other type pots for stews because of tradition (I grew up with a mother who ageists used Le Creuset ECI pots for stews)
I think my Falk copper pots and Fissler Original Profi pots perform just as well, but in my mind the stew taste a tiny bit better, when made in one of my Staub and Le Creuset ECI pots.

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The copper rondeau has been relegated to the oven because I can’t use it on the induction cooktop. I’ve always done my stews in ECI since my mother gave me my first le creuset while I was still in school. My largest copper sauce pan is 3 qt; too small for a stew, so I never tried using it for stew. Never had a copper soup pot; just big sauciers., and frypans and a sauté pan.

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Stovetop or oven is based on the dish. In this regard, it is still kind of random in that I’m just picking the method that goes with how I first learned the dish, rather than any logic to it. One caveat, though, if it calls for more than about 4 hours, I’ll go with the oven after browning.

Generally I like to brown in a big skillet just for efficiency’s sake, or if browning a whole piece of meat where the final cook vessel is ill-suited to browning - for example spoon lamb in the first image below - that cheapo traditional bird roasting pan can’t really be used for browning. And because it’s a 7-hour recipe, it’s definitely oven not stovetop for me. I only used this pan for the lamb because the smallish Dutch oven wouldn’t have accommodated it. If I had an oval shaped Dutch oven I’d have used that instead.

I do generally deglaze the browning pan and transfer, except if there’s actual scorching that would be bitter, like you might get from a dish calling for a marinade with substantial amount of brown sugar.

image

I had a 5 quart Calphalon “Dutch Oven” that I used for a lot of braised meat dishes - most of them, as long as they would fit. One daughter stole it for college (pop corn!) but another daughter found this pan at a thrift store (I’ve shown it before) and now it’s my go-to for braises whether stove top or oven or both. I call it my “Goat Pan” because it’s been used for goat stew more than anything else. I do goat entirely on the stove top because (a) that’s how the guy I learned from did it and (b) there’s a lot of working interludes even after everything’s browned.

Finally - horror or horrors - I make oxtail stew in the Instant Pot. I dearly love oxtail stew but have never been good at judging how long it will take to become tender. I’ve had family waiting until 8 when I told them dinner would be 6:30. I get a little closer to guessing correctly if I finish in the oven, but with the Instant Pot it’s been a lot easier to hit the mark on time.

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Same as the others, unless I need to something to crisp, or the time needed to get something chewable or the right texture is ungodly long on the stove (e.g., exceeds 4 hours) then it will go into the oven to finish. An searing and browning is so much quicker on the stove. Otherwise, stove is fine. I don’t think 1 to 2 hours makes a huge difference and since only about 1/3 of my cookware is good for the oven, I hate having to switch pots or cook in a pot that isn’t really right-sized for the servings.

Some things I do stick with my Instant Pot. When I make Chinese style beef brisket with offal, it’s a bear to get the beef tendons to that right texture. Pressure cooker is so much easier, and then it’s just easier again to cook the whole dish in the pot rather than juggling two. Laziness and lack of desire to clean multiple pots trumps in my home most often.

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That is a tough one. To purge out the taste is also tough. In some ways, I like to do it outside of the pressure cooker. Yes, it may take longer, but I can constantly monitor the texture. Anyway, I have not made beef tendon for almost ten years now (at least 5 years). Need to do it again soon.

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Damn, that looks good enough to go swimming in.

Well done, sir.

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re: Goat pan:

My mom had a full set of that cookware! I don’t know how much of it she still has, but those loop handles are distinctive.

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Everything you need but the crusty bread is right there. I think , when I die, I want to be buried in a big ole ECI braiser, surrounded by potatoes, carrots, etc., just for effect. Open casket/braiser funeral. Pallbearers’ll get pissed, but hell, it’s my last day.

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Le Creuset goose pot? Maybe there’s a Le Creuset bathtub (with lid). You’ll have to bequeath something special to your pallbearers.

I’ve tried to make goose several different ways. Fajitas is the ONE that seemed to work. They thought it was tough beef.

Maybe they could stuff me in it. Hopefully, sans goose. Just veg.

Le Creuset is beautiful stuff. I’m currently in the market for much of this stuff. Looking to clean out a bit. I see most Lodge is made in China in the ECI dept. Is there no reliable ECI source in the states?

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I have my great grandmother’s cast iron soap kettle, which holds twice the volume of the LC goose pot. So, maybe a Trumpeter Swan pot?

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Years ago, when we were still on Chowhound. Lodge has given an explanation why they go to China. It is because of the looser regulation, and claim they won’t able to make nearly the same quality if they tried to make these in USA.

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Do you believe them? I don’t.

I think the only reason Lodge makes in China is the cost of labor.

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That makes zero sense.
Stringent regulations make the product worse?
:thinking: