Enameled Cast Iron
Do you like Le Creuset?
So do I!
Can you afford Le Creuset?
Le Creuset is the touchstone of enameled cast iron cookware. It’s what chefs prefer and what testers almost always choose as best in class. Le Creuset cookware is coveted by many, and for very good reasons. It simply performs and does it better than nearly everything else out there. It is America’s Test Kitchen’s (ATK) annual winner. I have absolutely nothing bad to say about Le Creuset. Except for one thing.
So what’s a wannabe chef to do if The Budget™ says no to Le Creuset and all of its many virtues?
Said wannabe chef punts.
I punted once several years ago when I purchased a Staub Cocotte, which is a 4-quart Dutch oven. The color is Grenadine – kind of a dark, rich wine red – and it has worked admirably through the years. Like Le Creuset, it is made in France (Alsace to be exact), has a lifetime warranty, and is a kitchen workhorse. it’s a good mainstay in my kitchen arsenal. Even though I purchased it on sale, it also has the same basic “issue” that Le Creuset has. <<Sigh>>
I needed something larger, especially since I entertain more and realize that not everything can be cooked Sous Vide. Unfortunately. I have a 12-quart stockpot which is obvious overkill. Great for stocks and broths, but sucks for, say, stews, soups, or smaller dishes.
Unfortunately, the larger sizes of Staub are almost equal in price to Le Creuset, so I found myself kind of stuck. I’d used the cheaper brands in the past and each one ended up in a garage sale because I didn’t like their performance. Because they were cheaper, they were also lighter and it was easy to scorch foods in them. A couple of them chipped or crazed, and while it didn’t affect their function, I didn’t like the look of raggedy pots on my stove.
While window shopping on Amazon, I stumbled across the Landhaus line of cast iron enameled cookware and was immediately intrigued.
The color caught my immediate attention. Nearly identical to my Staub, the color is a rich wine red. Unlike my Staub, the interior is a creamy white – the Staub is black – and perfect for searing and seeing how the fond has developed.
I immediately purchased the 6.2-quart size and have been completely satisfied with its performance. Unfortunately, I don’t see that exact size on Amazon anymore, but it’s available from other online stores.
So what’s the upshot to this? In other words, the price.
The 6-quart Staub is $279.00 on Amazon
The 5.5-quart Le Creuset is $319.95
The 6.2-quart Landhaus is $99.00
The inexpensive price doesn’t mean much if it’s a piece of crap or something that is deficient enough to end up on the garage sale lineup or in the recycling bin.
It is heavier than I expected, which, for me, means that I use a lower heat setting for most things, including searing. I haven’t burned anything in it which considering that I’m using my (fabulous, amazing, glorious) BlueStar range, is nothing short of a miracle because it has managed to allow me to burn a lot of stuff as I adjusted to its power.
According to the Landhaus info, the line is designed in the United States but made in China.
So, at least for the time being, I can easily recommend the Landhaus line. I’m very happy with its apparent quality and performance, and I think that it’s an acceptable substitute for Le Creuset or Staub. Particularly for those of us who listen to our wallet. By the way, ATK recommends the Cuisinart version for a budget substitute. If anything changes towards the negative end (I especially hate crazing) I will rant appropriately.
It’s what I do.
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