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Cookware 31

Help me choose a Dutch Oven

aikigypsy | Jan 29, 201108:42 AM

I'm setting up a new kitchen. I have a lot of old, odd bits of cookware but I need a few things, including a toaster, immersion blender, cooking sheets, and a good cast iron dutch oven.

I often use my mother's 6.5 quart oval Le Creuset. It is about 10 years old and the enamel is fairly stained. I have an old Copco 3-quart saucepan, too. Its enamel is chipped around the rim, but it's less stained than the LeCreuset, despite being much older (I bought it at a Salvation Army 10 years ago, but it's probably from the '60s originally). I often wish I had just a bit more room in the 6.5 quart dutch oven, especially when I'm cooking soup with a pound of beans, or large pilaf dishes. I will be cooking for four people (2 of them small children right now) most nights, and 6-12 people probably about once a week.

At the moment, I would rather not spend a fortune, so I'm thinking about the Lodge 7.5 quart. I think it's the right size for me, and the lid would fit the 12" skillet nicely, but I'm concerned about the durability of its enamel. Has anyone here had a Lodge enameled Dutch oven or other Lodge enamel ware for more than a couple of years? How does it hold up?

Browsing around online, the best thing out there looks like Staub, but it's frighteningly expensive. I am also kind of looking at the Mario Batali/Copco, though I'm not crazy about the colors, and the Tramontina from Walmart, but it's a bit smaller than I'd prefer, though I'm sure I could work with it as I have with the Le Creuset.

I guess my big question is how the enamel holds up on these brands, in people's experience.

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