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Old 02-08-2017, 09:15 AM   #1
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Frying Pan, Casserole Pan or Stock Pot?

Hi,

I've been looking into getting a complete new set of pots and pans for some time now, but I am having a bit of a problem deciding what sort of pans I need.

I'm looking at the Le Creuset 3-Ply Stainless Steel range as I love the look and have a load of John Lewis vouchers to use up.

I tend to cook a lot of curries, pasta, stir fry and casserole dishes, as well as meat dishes accompanied by boiled/steamed vegetables. I also love a fry up at the weekends as well as pancakes, omlettes.

I already know I am going to get the 4 Piece saucepan set which comes with a 16cm, 18cm, 20cm saucepan and a 24cm non-stick frying pan. I am also going to get the 24cm steel saute pan (un-coated) as I love to caramelise onions and saute veg.

I am torn, however, when deciding which large pan to get for cooking currys/spag-bol/resotto/stir-frys and other large dishes for the family. In the past I have always used a 28cm non stick frying pan with a lid for these dishes which has worked out well. However I am not sure if I should be using a casserole pan, or something more like a saucepan or stockpot, or if there is something else I have completely forgotten about. The Le Creuset 3-Ply range currently offers:
  • 28cm or 30cm Frying Pan (non-stick)
  • 26cm or 30cm Steel Casserole Pan (non non-stick)
  • 24cm Steel Casserole Stock Pot (non non-stick)

I guess I'm trying to find which is the most versatile large pan which will cater for my needs of cooking large meals in, but am not sure which it is!

Thank you in advance.

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Old 02-08-2017, 09:45 AM   #2
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Hi and welcome to Discuss Cooking

I use my sauté pan for stir-fries and risotto and some sauces, as well as some braised dishes.

For larger batches of soups, stews, braises and curries, I suggest either a braiser or a Dutch oven. I only use my stockpot for stock and large batches of sauces like lasagna sauce - sort of like spag bol, I guess lol

http://www.lecreuset.com/cookware/braisers

http://www.lecreuset.com/cookware/dutch-ovens

I would also suggest that you stay away from sets, except that saucepan set you mentioned. You usually end up getting a bunch of pans you rarely use. You're better off buying individual items that you know you will use.

I would also suggest not getting non-stick, with the exception of a pan for eggs. The bits that stick are called fond. It adds great flavor to food when it's scraped and dissolved into sauces
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Old 02-08-2017, 10:04 AM   #3
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Thank's for the welcome, and also for the reply!

The braiser that you have linked looks to me as the equivalent Casserole Pan in the UK, see the link. That seems to be more towards what I will use rather than a dutch oven. I do most of my cooking on the hob in relatively short time and all in one go such as cooking the meat and veg then adding the sauce till it simmers all in the same pan on the hob. It's vary rare that I would leave something to cook for hours on end, the times that I am organised to do that I would use either a small slow cooker or large pyrex bowl with a lid in the oven.

(https://www.lecreuset.co.uk/signatur...attribute=2968)

I am in the UK and am aware that the pans available in the ranges differ slightly from the US to the UK.

With regards to sticking to one set, I don't mind not getting all the same set, but if the range offers everything I need then I'd rather stick to it than have mis-matching pans.
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Old 02-09-2017, 12:49 AM   #4
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I'm curious, if the 28cm non-stick pan you have now works well for your big family dishes, why change pans? There is a saying here in the US, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

I tend to add pans to the ones I have that work, and only get rid of one's I don't like, or never use. I got rid of my tri-ply stainless skillets, because I found myself using either my non-stcick restaurant supply skillets, or my cast iron skillets instead. My LeCreuset cast iron dutch ovens get a constant work out, too. But, my daily "go-to" pans are some non-stick skillets I got at the local restaurant supply store for relatively cheap.

A few stainless sauce pans of different sizes are very handy. Mine are All-Clad, and I use them a lot. Buying "sets" of pans can be more cost effective, as long as you are pretty sure you will use almost everything in the set. You just need to weigh the cost of the set vs the cost of the pieces you really want purchased separately.

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Old 02-09-2017, 03:25 AM   #5
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It needs replacing as the non stick is coming off, and it is warped beyond measure to the point that the lid falls off wen placed on it. The reason for wanting a whole new set is because I have very little cookware at all, just that, a saucepan and a small frying pan which is also warped and flaking. Hence why I tend to cook everything in the large frying pan.

You're one of the first people I've seen on here who prefers their non-stick skillets to stainless, everyone else seems to favour the stainless for the fonds.

Maybe I should be looking to get a Dutch oven instead then? I'm not quite sure what one is, or what it's used for and how to use it? Do you put it on the hub or in the oven? How long does it usually take to cook up a meal?
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Old 02-09-2017, 04:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sam90 View Post
It needs replacing as the non stick is coming off, and it is warped beyond measure to the point that the lid falls off wen placed on it. The reason for wanting a whole new set is because I have very little cookware at all, just that, a saucepan and a small frying pan which is also warped and flaking. Hence why I tend to cook everything in the large frying pan.

You're one of the first people I've seen on here who prefers their non-stick skillets to stainless, everyone else seems to favour the stainless for the fonds.

Maybe I should be looking to get a Dutch oven instead then? I'm not quite sure what one is, or what it's used for and how to use it? Do you put it on the hub or in the oven? How long does it usually take to cook up a meal?
Ah, if the pan is worn out, by all means, replace it.

If I am browning meat, or otherwise want to develop a fond, I use my cast-iron. But, for other things, the non-stick works. If I want to make a grilled cheese sandwich, or whip up some bacon and eggs, the non-stick works fine, and I can wash it, dry it and put it away in about 30 seconds.

A dutch oven can be used stove-top or in the oven, or both for some slow-cook recipes where you start off on the stove-top, browning and developing that fond, and then move to the oven to slowly braise.

For me, I find a cast iron dutch oven to be very versatile, and an essential item in my kitchen. If I were allowed only one pan/pot for the rest of my life, a dutch oven would be it.

All of my comments in this thread, BTW, are just a reflection of what works for me, worked out over 20 years of trial and error in the kitchen. I now have an eclectic collection of cookware that I feel comfortable, and confident using.

CD
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Old 02-09-2017, 11:18 AM   #7
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This is a Le Creuset enameled cast iron Dutch oven, in the color I happen to have

Click image for larger version

Name:	flamedutchoven.jpg
Views:	34
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ID:	26144

They come in several sizes and colors. For my family - just DH and me - the 5.5-quart size works great for soups, stews and braised meats. How long something takes to cook depends on what it is. These are great for long, slow cooking.
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Old 02-09-2017, 05:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caseydog View Post
There is a saying here in the US, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
And I'll agree with that 100%.

But I'm a cheapskate and hate to see anything that can be used discarded.


Quote:
Originally Posted by caseydog View Post
Ah, if the pan is worn out, by all means, replace it.

Again I agree. Everything has a useful service life and when the time comes we all gotta go sometime.


I now have an eclectic collection of cookware that I feel comfortable, and confident using.

This is sound advice and matches the cookware I've accumulated over the years.

You've asked a question only you can answer.
Get what fit's "your" needs and only you know what they are.
Run any and all suggestion through your filter and then buy what you feel is what you need for the results desired.

That being said, I'm not a big fan of nonstick.
I've never really seen the need for it since most pans can be nonstick if cared for properly and care is taken in preparation methods.
All nonstick pans wear out or should I say the coating wears out. You need to watch out for the utensils used with them and the temps you cook with.
But without the coating a pan can take a beating and keep on ticking. That's why I like my older pot's and pan's. They let me abuse them some and survive for another day.

Best of luck in your search and I'm sure you'll get what you seek.
And remember that every day is a learning experience.
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Old 02-09-2017, 06:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
This is a Le Creuset enameled cast iron Dutch oven, in the color I happen to have

Attachment 26144

They come in several sizes and colors. For my family - just DH and me - the 5.5-quart size works great for soups, stews and braised meats. How long something takes to cook depends on what it is. These are great for long, slow cooking.
I have the same color... Flame. I live near a LeCreuset outlet store, so over the years, I've acquired three sizes of the dutch ovens for relatively cheap. I use all of them pretty regularly.

CD
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Old 02-09-2017, 08:49 PM   #10
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Nobody has given any bad advice on this thread!! LOL

Please also keep in mind pans (or pots for that matter) that have oven friendly handles (and lids) are wonderful. Yes, metal handles and lids do get hot but to be able to slide something into the oven to finish up is a definite plus!

Did a recipe yesterday that said to use a casserole dish for in the oven and then switch to a stovetop pan to finish the sauce... duh... started in an oven safe saute pan and finished it in the same pan - one less dish to wash!
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