I was admiring this piece of enamel cookware at a friend's the other night. What struck me most was the way food cooked in it.
Chicken, for instance, seared to a delectable golden brown without any effort at all, it seemed. The skins developed an exquisite crispness. I don't know if I could have burned it if I'd tried.
Anyone who's tried the same thing in a traditional iron skillet or the standard stainless or aluminum pan knows how quickly things can go wrong. I prefer my iron skillet. Still, it's not perfect. Using the pan above was like driving a Rolls Royce. There were no bumps in the road.
So does anyone know what it is? Sur la Table calls a similar Le Crueset pan a "buffet casserole." We used it on the stove top, first, to brown the chicken and then make a ratatouille in the classic fashion, gently cooking several different vegetables, then combining them all at the end to finish the stew. We then arranged the browned chicken parts, along with some browned chorizo sausage, on top of the ratatouille and baked it in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes. (The dark brown thing in the middle is a pork shank that was braised separately in the oven uncovered for about two hours.)
So in case you're thinking of making a gift of some sort to The Slow Cook, this casserole would be at the top of our list.