Kitchen stores make me giddy. I was lucky enough this Christmas to be the recipient of a Sur La Table gift card from some special people. Like a kid in a candy store a chef in a kitchen store, I was excited to find one new ridiculous cooking tool.
With utter certitude that I had found the best deal in the tri-state area, and self-assurance that I had all the chef’s knives a girl could want, I settled on a Staub cocotte enameled cast iron pot that required a supportive hand underneath the paper shopping bag to prevent it from ripping. The sheer weight of the thing is impressive.
What a beaut it is, and I couldn’t wait to use it. Having studied in the Alsace region of France, known for their hearty, one-pot meals like baeckeoffe, I had an instant emotional connection to this pot, which was a product of Alsace. Having been a Le Creuset owner and a huge fan of soup and meals made in pots, I knew the benefits of enameled cast iron. Is there anyone who doesn’t love a little cast iron?
But the real question is: Would this beautiful red gem hold up to my faithful Le Creuset?
In a word: abso-freakin-lutely.
I made the most delicious braised buffalo chili I have ever tasted. I don’t know if it was me, the Staub, nostalgic visions of Alsace, or if I was just extremely hungry, but this thing was a culinary tool workhorse. A Clydesdale of cookware. The creme de la creme of enameled cast iron.
In contrast to the Le Creuset, the inside of the Staub is cast iron gritty instead of smooth enamel; and other than the dimples in the lid to aide in the basting process during braising (which honestly could be achieved by placing foil under the lid of a Le Creuset), the two pots are very similar. Please tell me I am crazy when I say I LOVE THIS THING.
And the ES debate begins here: what is your favorite enameled cast iron? Go.