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Old 12-28-2014, 06:07 AM   #1
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Question Le Creuset Question

Hi there,

Cooking noob here!

I have a question regards a 24cm Le Creuset casserole dish I received for Christmas. I have looked for recipes on BBC GoodFood website (I'm from UK), and a lot of chicken casserole/one-pot dishes (linking in with trying to eat healthier meats in 2015!). I have noticed that a lot of these dishes require to simmer on the hob instead of cooking in the oven. The whole reason I wanted a Le Creuset dish was to use the oven for stews and casseroles. Thus, I have a couple of questions...

1. If the recipe requires for example 40 minutes simmering on the hob, is it ok to replace this with cooking in the oven instead?
2. If yes, then what heat (in centigrade) would I set to achieve a 'simmering' (n.b. fan oven)
3. What is more efficient from an electricity bill point of view? Electric ceramic hob simmering or electric fan oven?

4. Not really related, but I'll throw in anyway - how versatile is my Le Creuset casserole dish? I.e. can I make one-pot dishes in it easily, even if the recipe doesn't require an oven? I ask because I have a cheaper big pan that is more non-stick and I would have thought better for frying meat etc. as it has a non-stick surface (although I may be completely wrong about this!)

Appreciate any advice.

Oliver

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Old 12-28-2014, 07:41 AM   #2
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Welcome to DC, Oliver! Is the pan you received one of the ceramic LC or is it enameled cast iron? I have lots of LC pieces, but none of the ceramic ones.
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Old 12-28-2014, 08:09 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by CWS4322 View Post
Welcome to DC, Oliver! Is the pan you received one of the ceramic LC or is it enameled cast iron? I have lots of LC pieces, but none of the ceramic ones.
Hi,

Thanks for your reply. It is enamel cast iron, oval shaped, with metal handle :)
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Old 12-28-2014, 09:27 AM   #4
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You can put that in the oven. I'll have to check my user manual for the C temp, but I think you can put it in the oven up to 400 or 450F. Love my LC pieces.
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Old 12-28-2014, 09:38 AM   #5
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If I want to use the oven, for say a braised dish, It generally goes in at 350F. I have a similar oval LC, which is called a Braiser. I have used it both stove top and in the oven. Although the oven has convection, we rarely cook with it. Mostly used to bring the oven up to temperature quickly.
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Old 12-28-2014, 10:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oliver27 View Post
1. If the recipe requires for example 40 minutes simmering on the hob, is it ok to replace this with cooking in the oven instead?
2. If yes, then what heat (in centigrade) would I set to achieve a 'simmering' (n.b. fan oven)
3. What is more efficient from an electricity bill point of view? Electric ceramic hob simmering or electric fan oven?

4. Not really related, but I'll throw in anyway - how versatile is my Le Creuset casserole dish? I.e. can I make one-pot dishes in it easily, even if the recipe doesn't require an oven? I ask because I have a cheaper big pan that is more non-stick and I would have thought better for frying meat etc. as it has a non-stick surface (although I may be completely wrong about this!)
Hi Oliver. Welcome to DC!

1. Yes. Absolutely you can put dishes requiring a long braise or simmer in the oven. I do it all the time. I find it's easier for maintaining a steady temperature and more even all around cooking. Less stirring as well.

2. It depends on the recipe. Anywhere from 325-350F (160-175C) should be fine. In general, I would bring it to a low simmer on the cook top (hob) first, as it will come up to temperature more quickly there, and then cover it and pop into the oven.

3. No idea. An oven holds heat better than an exposed cooktop, so my guess is that it's the more efficient method. But I'm not a physicist.

4. If your Le Creuset dish has an enameled surface (all of mine do) than you can indeed use it for making any number of one pot meals. I brown meat in them and - provided some liquid was used in the cooking - they clean up nicely, with only marginally more elbow grease required than with a non-stick pan.

And just so we are clear, this is what you are asking about, correct?
http://www.lecreuset.co.uk/cast-iron...px#.VKAgVV4AAA

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Old 12-28-2014, 10:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oliver27 View Post
Hi there,

3. What is more efficient from an electricity bill point of view? Electric ceramic hob simmering or electric fan oven?

Oliver
In terms of simple heat transfer to the food, the oven is very inefficient. Almost all of the heat generated by the fuel goes into the oven walls and is radiated or convected to the kitchen. Convection ovens are better but are still far short of the 90%+ efficiency of the range burner. (All ovens are "convection" cookers. "Convection ovens" are actually forced convection ovens.)

But everything is not equal here. Heat conduction is vastly more efficient than convection. The burner transfers heat directly to the vessel. But there are very good reasons we use ovens. One is that an oven can heat the whole vessel or the whole loaf equally. A pot on the burner has a very hot bottom transferring heat by conduction and convection to the food. The food has to be substantially liquid for the convection to work. A dry roast in a pan on the burner would be a disaster.

We can't often move an oven-based recipe to the top (not without essentially constructing a min-oven for the range top), but when there's a choice, the fuel-efficient method is the top.

I haven't worked it out, but I suspect that, the longer the cooking time, the more efficient the oven becomes. But this depends heavily on the quality of the insulation. Doesn't mean it become anything like as efficient at the top, but I wouldn't fret too much about a method that required a long time in the oven.

The most efficient cooking mode in history was probably the ancient urban custom of everyone taking their food to the community oven service to be cooked.
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Old 12-28-2014, 12:10 PM   #8
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LC is so versatile you can use it pretty much anyway you want. You can use same pot for making soup and frying potato, if you wish.
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Old 12-28-2014, 12:22 PM   #9
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Is it a casserole dish which is shallow, usually rectangular or oval and may not have a kid?

Or is at a Dutch/French oven like the orange one pictured above? Much deeper and round or oval.
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Old 12-29-2014, 11:15 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kroll View Post
Hi Oliver. Welcome to DC!

1. Yes. Absolutely you can put dishes requiring a long braise or simmer in the oven. I do it all the time. I find it's easier for maintaining a steady temperature and more even all around cooking. Less stirring as well.

2. It depends on the recipe. Anywhere from 325-350F (160-175C) should be fine. In general, I would bring it to a low simmer on the cook top (hob) first, as it will come up to temperature more quickly there, and then cover it and pop into the oven.

3. No idea. An oven holds heat better than an exposed cooktop, so my guess is that it's the more efficient method. But I'm not a physicist.

4. If your Le Creuset dish has an enameled surface (all of mine do) than you can indeed use it for making any number of one pot meals. I brown meat in them and - provided some liquid was used in the cooking - they clean up nicely, with only marginally more elbow grease required than with a non-stick pan.

And just so we are clear, this is what you are asking about, correct?
http://www.lecreuset.co.uk/cast-iron...px#.VKAgVV4AAA

Thank you so much for the comprehensive response. And yes indeed this is exactly the dish I have :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by GLC View Post
In terms of simple heat transfer to the food, the oven is very inefficient. Almost all of the heat generated by the fuel goes into the oven walls and is radiated or convected to the kitchen. Convection ovens are better but are still far short of the 90%+ efficiency of the range burner. (All ovens are "convection" cookers. "Convection ovens" are actually forced convection ovens.)

But everything is not equal here. Heat conduction is vastly more efficient than convection. The burner transfers heat directly to the vessel. But there are very good reasons we use ovens. One is that an oven can heat the whole vessel or the whole loaf equally. A pot on the burner has a very hot bottom transferring heat by conduction and convection to the food. The food has to be substantially liquid for the convection to work. A dry roast in a pan on the burner would be a disaster.

We can't often move an oven-based recipe to the top (not without essentially constructing a min-oven for the range top), but when there's a choice, the fuel-efficient method is the top.

I haven't worked it out, but I suspect that, the longer the cooking time, the more efficient the oven becomes. But this depends heavily on the quality of the insulation. Doesn't mean it become anything like as efficient at the top, but I wouldn't fret too much about a method that required a long time in the oven.

The most efficient cooking mode in history was probably the ancient urban custom of everyone taking their food to the community oven service to be cooked.
Thanks so much for your reply, very well thought out! So, just to ensure I am understanding you correctly, you are suggesting that cooking on the hob to achieve a simmer in the aforementioned LC dish would be more energy efficient than using the oven (in most cases) in terms of making stews/casseroles?

Also, it is worth a mention that my electric ceramic hobs seem to work by blasting heat then turning off, not lowering the heat but on a constant basis like say a gas range would. E.g. with my hob:

Max heat - ring always on
Mid heat - ring comes on half the time
Low heat - ring comes on some of the time

But always the ring would heat up the same amount. So just black and white, no grey. Just 1/0!! Hope this makes sense!!
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