ECI Dutch oven or a Stainless Rondeau?

Hello, having been thinking about choosing between ECI dutch oven and stainless steel rondeau. I have been looking for cookware with wider cooking bottom. Both 26cm ECI Staub cocotte and 28cm stainless Rondeau/braiser fit my requirement, but which one would be better choice ?

What are you planning to cook and what is your goal? Simply functional? Or you want a touch of presentation and/or going back in history? If it is simply functional, I am not sure how the stainless steel cladded rondeau can be worse. It will be more even heating. Less likely to get damaged from tools or from sudden temperature change.

Don’t get me wrong. I think it is perfectly fine to get an enameled cast iron cookware. I have one and I have a few clay cookware – just so I can feel how people used to cook foods.

For the wider sizes, primarily on the stovetop, I’d recommend a disc based stainless rondeau over ECI and cladded stainless. On the stovetop, the pan floor provides an overwhelming majority of the heat, as only the first couple of inches of the pan walls will be in contact with the food. In the oven, I have noticed that my seasoned raw cast iron dutch oven will absorb heat more readily than stainless steel, but that could be because it’s black. If you’re going to use it primarily in the oven, ECI with a dark exterior might be good, but I’d still go with stainless for the versatility and ergonomics.

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I have both Le Creuset enameled cast iron (28 cm low height dutch oven) and stainless steel (28 cm copper and also aluminum disc based) and I choose depending on what I need to cook. For these larger sizes more often than not I will cook something - on my gas stovetop - that is imho best off in a Le Creuset. Things like sauteed chicken with a sauce.

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I own an array of both type cooking vessels.

If you want pure performance and don’t worry one second over looks/design of the pot (some people like to serve their stews on the table in front of the guests) I would probably suggest you to buy a Fissler Original Profi stewpot. It’s stainless steel with a very thick aluminium sandwich bottom. It’ll be the most even heating and less scorching of all cooking vessels for long simmering stews and also probably the most durable of them all.

I own the Fissler Original Profi 7.2 liter 28 cm stewpot and the Fissler Original Profi 4.5 liter 28 cm roasting pot.
I also own the Lagostina Accademia Lagofusion 24 cm 5.6 liter stewpot, and the Lagostina Lagofusion is also very even heating with a quite thick sandwich bottom (not quite as thick as the sandwich bottom in the Fissler Original Profi however) but the Lagostina Lagofusion has also a cladded/ply body.
They all perform very well on my gas stovetop and in the oven. They also perform well on induction.

However with all that said I prefer to cook stews and braises in one of my 7 Staub and Le Creuset ECI pots for romantic reasons and because I feel I get the better tasting stew dishes, when I cook in my ECI pots.

I can’t provide any actual proof of why ECI pots produce better tasting stews, so I’m probably basing this on my biased opinion.

Tim once wrote a post explaining why some of us get better tasting stews, when we use ECI pots, but I’ve forgotten his points. But I believe his arguments were that because the ECI pots needed more attention in general and in particular more attention to temperature control to avoid scorching, the stew would turn out to be better tasting in the end, if I recall correctly.
Don’t quote me on this.

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Yes. Attention and technique beat cookware selection IME.

To the OP’s original question I have two more thoughts. The additional depth of a DO will allow for taller braises like pork shoulder, whole fowl, and leg of lamb. So what are the foreseeable dishes? What is the budget? There may be other options.

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Here’s my take: At 26cm, the inherent unevenness of cast iron should not present a big problem–unless you do a lot of cooking of more viscous things. If you don’t already have an “oven” geometry piece or a stockpot, I’d get the Staub. But be aware that it’s not really DW-able, and not impervious to utensils or being cracked if dropped.

While I think the rondeau is more versatile (and more capacious for braises), Maybe the Staub is a better choice at this point. If you get the rondeau, make sure you get a cover.

Same here. I think certain cookware force the user to pay more attention

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I have a lot of stainless (both clad and disc bottom), and two LC ECI.

IMHO SS does better on the stovetop. It is more even, and lighter/easier to handle. I don’t do a lot of stews, but if I did they’d go into the oven (like my braises) unless it was doing something else. And I oven braise in just about anything… including corningware and pyrex. In the oven it really doesn’t matter.

Long cooks on the stovetop… like bolognese is also preferred in SS. Chili… after browning things in CI goes in the crockpot.

Honestly I rarely use the LC. It’s heavy, takes long to come up to temp, is not very responsive, does not heat very evenly on gas (although is pretty good on ceramic provided the burner size matches the pan). They’re good to fry in given their heat retention, but I rarely deep fry - preferring to shallow fry in a CI skillet.

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Really? I thought ceramic stovetop is pretty uneven. Recently, my MadeIn carbon steel pan warped on a ceramic stovetop. I also have rice burn on a ceramic stovetop too.

My ceramic (Frigidaire Gallery 36") does a more even job heating all my pans than my GE Profile gas cooktop (converted to propane).

But I did warp my 12" Lodge cast iron skillet on the ceramic, but that was 'cause I was stupid enough to leave it empty on high for way too long.

What is “rice burn”?

Wait? I heard of warping carbon steel, but never cast iron. I didn’t know this is possible.

I mean the rice burn at the bottom of my clay pot, and burning pattern is clearly uneven. Now, I got a heat diffuser, and it help a lot.

I left it empty on high, and got distracted for the better part of an hour. It is not highly warped, but doesn’t sit on the flat surface without rocking just a bit. It is still perfectly usable.

I do my rice in a clad SS sauce pan. Boil water, stir in rice, cover and move to warming burner set to high for 20 minutes. Perfect every time… really mean perfect.

I cannot find the exact article, but I remember Made In even made a special case of how to take care of the carbon steel cookware if they are used on induction or smooth glass cooktop.

I remember Made In indirectly suggesting the carbon steel cookware are easier to get warp when used on electric cooktop.

Hi Claus, the Fissler OP roaster is a nice option i do consider, for W28cm x H7cm, it is wide enough for searing, the only downside it has only 7cm depth which i worry it is not enough. I cant find a 28cm sized stewpot though, and the 28cm stockpot side wall is too high. I always find the Staub Cocotte has a good dimension W26cm x H14cm, but it is a heavy beast at above 5kg with lid.

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Hi vecchiouomo you are right, I do prefer additional depth of the DO for deeper braise somehow. I have not found the right piece of stainless rondeau at similar dimension.

I own both the Fissler OP Roaster in 28 cm as well as the Fissler OP stewpot in 28 cm.
The Fissler OP stewpot in 28 cm is 12 cm high I believe, and at 7.2 litre a very large stewpot. When Fissler gets it back in stock it would be the ideal option for you, I believe.

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I once had to throw out a warped 12" cast iron skillet after using it on radiant. It served me well for 6 years prior to that. I think radiant tops radiate evenly, but any uneven pan contact causes big differences when hearing the pan because the ceran top gets very hot and will conduct heat much faster at those spots than whatever the burner radiates through.

Yes, indeed, Fissler also carries a taller 28 cm ‘rondeau’ at 7.2l. I have one as well, but it’s not my favourite pan. I don’t like the tall sidewalls in a 28 cm: it prevents proper browning versus lower sidewalls, and I never really make large quantities of very voluminous ingredients.

As an example, I made 2+ kilograms of crab the other day perfectly fine in a 26cm Le Creuset dutch oven. The Fissler would have been fine as well, but it’s just not worth it to me for the occasional time a year I need these tall sidewalls.

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You might look at some of the restaurant industry braziers. They tend to be deeper than a rondeau but not as deep as a Dutch oven.

https://www.acemart.com/kitchen/cookware/braziers/valueline-acb-18-18-qt-aluminum-brazier/AAAACB-18

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