Fashion is everywhere

Chez Larsson

Elbow Grease

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So, I didn’t just bring home an orange ash tray from my mom’s last week. Mom and I were talking about how I’m now cooking more than ever and how I’ve come to the conclusion that while cooking’s still not my favorite thing when I do cook I prefer casseroles, stews and soups. Those are dishes where I can throw stuff in a big pot and it can simmer away on its own while I do other things.

I haven’t had a good solid pot though so I’ve been contemplating getting one of these which will do the job AND look great at the same time. Then mom reminded me that she used to have something like that but smaller but we couldn’t find it in the kitchen so she figured she’d gotten rid of it.  When I cleaned out a cabinet in the sun room a day later I found it!

 

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It’s by Husqvarna and hasn't seen any use for a looooong time but I do I remember it being in use back in the 70’s and early 80’s. It looked a bit grubby when I found it, you know the greasy grub from when it’s been in a cabinet for “a while” and probably wasn’t squeaky clean when it was put there in the first place (sorry mom).

So I armed myself with a blunt knife, a Scotch Brite, some Vim (Jif to some of you) and a good deal of elbow grease. First I prepared a smoking hot bubble bath with an OD of detergent and dunked the pot and lid in there for at least an hour while I ticked off my list of other things to do. After a good soaking I used the blunt knife to scrape off the worst of the burning on the outside and then gave the inside and outside a good scrubbing with the Scotch Brite and some Vim/Jif until all the burning and grease was gone.

 

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I couldn’t resist putting it through the dish washer too when I got back home and the result is pretty awesome. There are a few chips in the enamel of the lid but I’m ok with that. I lightly greased the cast iron inside with canola oil after it was dry and I can’t wait to use it. It is on the small side so I might still get a larger white Le Creuset for those big batches (I like to cook less often and freeze) and for when we have company but I like the idea of using this one for dinners for Wille and I.

Do you have any favorite one-pot-cooking, or slow-cooking recipes that can be done in cast iron pots like these? I'd love to hear and add them to my repertoir! 

50 Comments

  • RC in Upstate NY says:

    I received the Le Creuset pot you linked to as a gift from my mother for my one-year wedding anniversary. That was 35 years ago and it’s still going strong. I can’t say that about many household products! I like making soups too and it’s perfect for a generous batch, enough to eat some now and freeze some for later.

  • Lotta says:

    I have the Le Creuset pot too (mine is green) and love it. I have others I bought or inherited as well but they aren’t Le Creuset.
    I use it for standard meat stews (kalops, boeuf bourguignon) and soups.
    Pulled (or shredded) pork is a staple in our house.
    One-pot-pasta – I just found this and have only tried it once, but I liked it.
    And in one of my smaller ones I bake bread from time to time.

  • Ramona K says:

    I´m with you here Benita. I even threw out my elderly teflon coated frying pan and switched to cast iron (no inside enamel). Healthier and ever-lasting, what more can you ask? If I was much younger I would probably invest in Le Creuset but now I trawl the Swedish ebay site and now have a collection for various purposes. My only grouch is that they are heavy. But I love´em.
    B t w I even managed to get a perfectly good Slow Cooker on Tradera for under 100SEK! It was an older model but virtually unused. I don´t think they realised what it was. Works perfectly.
    Greetings from Uppsala
    Ramona

  • Lotta – I also love Pulled pork and can’t wait to make it in this pot next time! Will check out the one-pot-pasta for sure and the bread sounds great!

  • AnnaA – Det måste jag testa! Verkar betydligt enklare än det andra brödet lite längre upp i kommentarerna :).

  • Titti says:

    Ah! Vi hade en exakt likadan gryta när jag var barn. Många middagar man fått serverad ur den genom åren! Undrar om den fortfarande finns kvar?
    Själv har jag faktiskt en vit LeCreuset (deras största, tror jag) som används när vi har gäster + en något mindre av annat fabrikat som används när det bara är familjen som ska utfodras. Mycket trevligt att kunna ställa en snygg gryta direkt på bordet, tycker jag.

  • MelD says:

    Bread in one of these is simply suberb… and couldn’t be simpler.
    I have a smaller Le Creuset and a larger, much cheaper one from Tchibo (both purple) and use them a good deal. Although I was keen for the Le Creuset and got it from an outlet store, it was still expensive and I have found that it’s only advantage is that it’s smaller than the other = you’re paying for the name! Quality is just the same.
    I’m sure you’ll have a lot of interesting meals from your Husqvarna!!

  • Dawn says:

    I have 3 sizes of le Creuset pots, one is a low walled one (useful for things like rice pudding, clafoutis etc). I’ve had them for years and they are well worth the investment. They look good on display as well!!

  • Leena says:

    That is beautiful, but I would just have one for show. I’m not into cooking either, but unlike you I don’t like to cook slow. When I start feeling hungry that is when I start making food, so key for me is to get something fast.

  • Andrea says:

    Is it weird that I find this pot very beautiful? 😀 We inherited a “Römertopf” from my boyfriend’s grandmother and I absolutely love it. It’s clay not iron but still so much better than teflon.
    I usually prepare my autumn casseroles in it. Pumpkin, potatoes, courgette, carrots, bananas, , pears, peas, apples, whatever you have on hand mixed with an intense cheese like feta and a bit of oil with garlic, salt and cracked pepper. Put in the oven for about 25 minutes to soften, then remove the lid and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Hmm. If you leave out the feta, it’s so nice with some cottage cheese. Oh and a bit of pumpkin seed oil on top. Yumm 🙂

  • Andrea – That sounds delicious! I actually used to have one of those. Sad now that I got rid of it because we never used to use it. My mom actually offered me hers when I visited her, maybe I’ll take her up on the offer next time :).

  • Dorothy says:

    Benita, two comments about Le Creuset.
    First, it’s gorgeous, but it is (as you know) heavy. So before you buy the larger piece, think about lugging it around your kitchen.
    Second, you might consider an oval pot for your next purchase, rather than a round one. If you have an oval one you can put a whole chicken in it. And it can still do everything a round pot can do. Or perhaps your mom’s pot can hold a whole chicken?

  • jja says:

    Great work Benita! I also love dishes prepared that way…

  • Heather says:

    I love my Le Crueset but I agree with Dorothy, consider an oval if you think you might roast whole chickens. (Are whole chickens common in your area?)
    Staub also makes a very nice product.

  • Mary – Thank you!
    Dorothy – Mom’s pot can hold a whole small chicken!
    Hether – They are but I’ve never like the smell in the house of chicken but maybe in my closed pot it won’t be as intense.

  • ibabe says:

    Love those kind of pots…at my mothers there are some, but were put apart after buying the vitroceramic fire. I use something similar but in inox. Here, in the basque country, there are lot of those cooking receips. I have been looking for some, but it is difficult to find it in english.
    TAke a look in this page. She is from the basque country and lives in USA. The receips are inspired in basque cook.
    http://www.cannellevanille.com/recipes/
    And maybe some more
    http://euskalkazeta.com/ek/?p=2953
    Hope you like and enjoy them

  • Ibabe – Thank you, I’ll check those out!

  • Monique says:

    I’ve long wondered about putting my Creusets in the dishwasher… it doesn’t damage the cast iron?
    I am so impressed with how clean your new pot is! 🙂

  • Joellyn says:

    One of my favorite one-pot meals: Add the following to a pot and bake at about 375 for a good hour! (Chop everything) kielbasa sausage, white potatoes, a sweet potato, summer squash or zucchini, onion, sweet peppers, fresh minced garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Vary amounts according to your preference. So delish! (You can microwave the potatoes first while you assemble the rest to speed up the cooking time.)

  • Jane says:

    Continuing on the orange theme I got a fab
    Le Creuset large frying pan and a pot similar
    to yours at a car boot sale for £3.00 for the pair
    Lots of elbow grease later they look great and are
    absolutely brilliant for cooking everything.
    Love reading your blog Benita

  • Catherine says:

    Oh, I love that pot! So pretty and I am sure you will get good use out of it. I don’t have an enamel dutch oven but I am saving my pennies for one. I really want the Le Creuset because they still enamel them in France and the quality is supposed to be better than all the ones made in China. No idea if that is really true but I have bought cheaper versions of things before and not been happy with them so I am not going to do that this time. Now you make me want to go and clean all my pots…

  • Jane – What an amazing find!
    Monique – I won’t put mine in the dish washer in the future, I just wanted to get it really clean after it had been sitting unused and a bit gunky for so many (+25?) years. It’ll be hand washed from now on.
    Catherine – I’ve also been tempted into buying knock-off versions of stuff I like only to regret it and buying the real thing after a while and thereby spending far more than just the expensive one. I’m now older and wiser 🙂

  • Joellyn – Like the sound of that 🙂

  • Paula says:

    I agree with MelD, bread is so good baked in a cast iron pot. I bought a secondhand large orange Le Creuset pot from a thrift store (amazing find) and I only bake bread in it.
    If you decide you want to try a bread – a no-knead one is lovely. Minimal work, minimal yeast and maximum reward.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/081mrex.html?_r=0
    another version for small or large loaves from a Canadian chef
    http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipes/Side/Rice-Grain/recipe.html?dishID=9530

  • Kate says:

    This is one of my all-time favorites. It’s so easy and so tasty (also healthy!) http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-easy-turkey-chili-with-75630 I’ve made it at least 4 times already. It’s especially perfect in the fall and winter.

  • MelD says:

    @ Paula: I think Janet’s recipe at the Gardener’s Cottage was the NY Times one, just simplified even more. It takes me about 3 mins to assemble/mix, a minute’s attention after an hour and then for the oven, brilliant! Also the pot is almost clean when you’re finished 😉

  • RebeccaNYC says:

    Is the inside non-enameled cast iron? If so, you will want to heat it after you wash it to avoid rust. I have an arsenal of traditional American non enameled cast iron, and they rust and pit very easily. Just something to keep in mind.

  • Ingrid says:

    Maybe you like these pots, produced in Austria (near by my hometown)
    http://www.truehomeware.com/aromapots

  • Rebecca – It is. thanks for the tip, good to know!
    Ingrid – I’m quite set on a Le Creuset but I’ll check it out!

  • Kari says:

    Great find!
    I have a few older pieces of enameled cookware from my mother as well that I just love. Four were first marriage gifts (1947) and two others were Dutch pieces from the 1960s. I also have several Le Creuset pieces from the mid 1980s (we bought 10 pieces for $99.00–can you believe that?!?). I adore enameled cast iron and use it all the time.

  • lili says:

    Here is the name of your Vim/ Jif : Cif!
    and Le Creuset is nice, but sooooooo heavy!
    Kisses from Provence, France

  • Kerstin says:

    Based on another blogger’s recommendation I purchased a Staub Dutch Oven (also made in France but a bit more affordable and working great!) and so far I always making the same dish in it because it’s so delicious: lamb shanks http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/heavenly-lamb-shanks/Detail.aspx. I think this winter I need to expand my repertoire a bit, I am intrigued by the bread baking suggestions above …

  • Linda27 says:

    Hej Benita, I have had a Le Creuset pan for ages and it’s really suited to all sorts of soups and stews: I make Boeuf Bourguignonne in it but also tagine style dishes, Asian curries – every dish that has to be slowly stewed. It’s certainly better to hand wash them as they don’t get properly cleaned in the dish washer and food will stick and burn.

  • Karen says:

    I have a number of white Le Creuset pots – started buying 20 years ago – and they are great. They tend to discolour with use so you do have to accept that.
    When I went to the link you provided I noted that there was no white option. I have found that the range of white has decreased alot over the last few years and they are harder and harder to come by. I got caught once buying on line – Dune is not white….. Just thought I’d make you aware, given your love of all things white ;-).

  • Karen – I will go to a store then to make sure I get a white one! I have a catalog where it says Pearl. I assumed that was white but now i will make extra sure, thanks!

  • Stina says:

    Hej! Vi har en liknande hemma, om det är gjutjärn på insidan så bör den oljas (och brännas in) efter att ha åkt diskmaskin, annars kommer den både rosta och bränna fast i i framtiden. Och aldrig diskas med diskmedel utan bara hett hett vatten i framtiden! Jag råkade nämligen köra vår i diskmaskinen och fick bannor av min man efteråt, men vad visste jag om gjutjärnsprodukter innan! Vår Le Creuset kör vi dock i maskin!

  • Stina – Hur gör man när man bränner in den? Ställer den i het ugn när den oljats? I så fall, hur länge ungefär?

  • sparris says:

    Jag är inte heller överförtjust i matlagning, just därför älskar jag min Le Creuset!
    Ratatouille är toppen att göra, bara skära ner grönsakerna och låta det puttra loss =)

  • Liz says:

    I have a large creamy white Le Creuset which came with some small rubbery clips that you put on the pot to seperate the lidof it when not using it,the lid is put on top so a little breathingspace is created. Also, I clean my pots with bakingsoda, bakpulver in Swedish, and Yes (Fairy) dishwasher liquid. Just soak over night and all crease and if you burn something in the bottom of it comes out easy peasy. 🙂

  • Alana says:

    Benita, you can bake fantastic bread, look online for the no-knead dutch oven bread recipe.
    Alana

  • Ruth says:

    In my family Le Creuset pots are called “magic pots” because everything cooked in them tastes wonderful, like magic! We all have one and give them for wedding presents.

  • Stina says:

    Förlåt för sent svar om inbränning, jag brukar göra så ibland att efter att jag diskat den, de gånger jag inte bara smörjer in den. Jag brukar hälla i lite olja som täcker hela botten och smörja in kanterna/väggarna (inte olivolja som inte tål så höga temperaturer), tills det blir riktigt varmt (inte kokande), sen slår jag av plattan och låter det stå tills det svalnat, då torkar jag ur det överblivna! Man kan också rengöra gjutjärn med salt, googla det för mer utförliga instruktioner 🙂

  • Alison says:

    Sorry I am a little late in responding, but I wanted to “throw this out there”. The color of my collection of Le Creuset is the ever elusive WHITE and I was really paranoid about it losing it’s pristine color inside and out. Then, I used the AMAZING “Barkeepers Friend”. My pots look brand new inside and out. 🙂 It’s one of the most amazing cleaners. Hopefully you can find it. 🙂
    http://www.barkeepersfriend.com/

  • Alison – That’s great because I have two cans! I alsways stock up in the States :). I’ll go hunting for a white one then!

  • Alison says:

    Benita,
    From what I just found out…Le Creuset only offers the white (NOT Dune) ones twice a year (I think)…which is why they can seem like they are hard to find. I found mine at Sur La Table. I believe they have exclusive rights to the white cast iron…or at least they did in the past…another reason why they were so hard to find. Unfortunately, they aren’t being offered at the moment, but if you’d like, I can let you know when they are. They do ship internationally. I don’t know what the shipping rates are, but maybe you want to see if you can find something in Europe. I just took a look at the French Le Creuset site and they offer a color called “Coton” that LOOKS like white, but I would contact them to double check. Another option…they do show up on e-bay every once in a while, but beware. I bought something that they listed as “white” and it was “dune” (thankfully it was only a small grill pan so I didn’t mind THAT much…although initially I did and ALMOST contacted the seller and told them it was false advertising). Also, there tends to be bidding wars at the very end when the white ones are available. Just know how much you are willing to spend and stick to it…because it gets CRAZY. Good luck!!! 🙂

  • mona says:

    You must try Anna’s (from Door Sixteen) vegan chili. I am not vegan but I tried her recipe and it is so delicious and healthy. It has bulgur in it and balsamic vinegar – they make the difference!
    I also don’t love to cook, so I just used generic chili powder and it was a great chili – slow cooking is the way to go and it’s even better the next day!
    here is the link – http://www.doorsixteen.com/?s=chili