Le Creuset (pronounced as ‘luh-croo-say’, meaning “the cauldron”) is a French cookware manufacturer best known for its colorfully-enameled cast-iron cookware “French Casserole Ovens”, also known as “Dutch Ovens”.
Whenever I shop at local departmental stores like Tangs or Robinsons, I would inadvertently walk by a shelf or two of these visually stunning Le Creuset cookware whom those friends of mine who own them would wax lyrical about. Imagine our ecstasy when we were invited by Le Creuset to collaborate on a home cooking series for our readers. Finally, a Le Creuset for our kitchen! We can’t wait to experience the differences it make to our home cooking. After all, every Le Creuset cookware boasts of the following features:
Why Le Creuset?
- It heats perfectly and evenly. Food doesn’t burn easily.
- Lids seal in moisture and flavor, much like a pressure cooker!
- It can be used on gas, electric, induction stove tops.
- Flat bottoms sit firmly on the surface of your cook top.
- It retains the heat so we can turn off a soup or casserole thirty minutes way before the recommended cooking time.
- Porcelain enamel coating won’t absorb odours or flavors.
- It can be transferred from stove top to oven to dining table direct.
- Knobs are heatproof up to 200 degrees Celsius.
- It cleans easily. The enamelled coating keeps food from sticking to it.
- It is visually appealing and comes in a rainbow of pretty colours!
- It is durable and can be passed on from generation to generation.
Presented with a 22cm Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven (in its signature Flame Orange no less), we decided to trial with some heritage recipes to see how relevant a Le Creuset would be to local cuisines. So, since David is half Foo Chow, we decided to cook our all-time favorite Foo Chow dish – The Red Wine Chicken Soup! Here’s the recipe:
- 500g Chicken (or half a Chicken), chopped to small pieces
- 6-8 pcs Chinese Mushrooms (optional)
- 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 6 slices Indonesian Ginger, julienned
- 250ml Red Glutinuous Wine (红槽酒) * I substituted with Shaoxing Huatiao Wine (绍兴花雕酒)
- 3/4 tbsp Light Soy Sauce
- 100 ml Hot Water
- 1 heaped tbsp Red Glutinous Wine Lees (红槽) - available at NTUC and wet markets
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1/2 tbsp grated Ginger Juice (optional)
- Fresh Chinese Parsley (or Coriander)
- Julienned Ginger
- Marinade chicken for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- In the Le Creuset dutch oven pot, heat sesame oil and olive oil. Fry half of the ginger strips.
- Add chicken pieces. Stir fry until the chicken is cooked on the surface.
- Add the mushrooms, wine and light soy sauce. Cover with lid and let the contents simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Turn the chicken pieces over with kitchen tongs so that they can absorb the gravy evenly.
- Add in hot water. Simmer with lid closed for another 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked. Season to taste.
- Garnish. Serve with rice or boiled mee sua (面线).
- If you would like to buy authentic Red Glutinous Wine Lees (红槽), Glutinous Red Wine (红槽酒) and Foo Chow Handmade Mee Sua (福州面线) in Singapore, I've seen them sold at: Seow Choon Hua Restaurant. Address: 33 Sultan Gate Singapore 198481 (Nearest Station: Bugis). Tel: +65 6298 2720. Opens 10am to10pm daily.
Our Le Creuset Experience
A Le Creuset cast iron pot, though heavier than the average casserole pot, provides a very pleasant and efficient cooking experience. Here are some of our observations from our ‘virgin’ attempt at using a Le Creuset:
1. The pot heats up very fast, even on the induction stove that we were using.
2. The ginger strips browns quickly and evenly without being burnt!
3. The heavy cast iron lid flushes perfectly with the pot, seals in all the moisture and condensation and transformed the pot into a mini ‘pressure-cooker’.
4. The chicken pieces turned out tender and ‘fall-off-the-bone’ yummy, like an Asian chicken stew with rich broth.
5. The stock which was added during cooking did not dry up at all! I didn’t have to keep adding water which would have otherwise diluted the taste.
6. We took a drive to deliver the dish to my cousin (who just delivered a baby) and amazingly the dish was still warm after an hour.
7. Cleaning was rather fuss-free. I soaked the pot with warm detergent water overnight and all the stains inside came off easily with rinsing.
We thoroughly enjoyed cooking with the Le Creuset Dutch Oven and are already looking forward to trying more heritage recipes with it. If you have any favourite recipes you cook with a Le Creuset, please share with us! Here’s one from our favourite cooking blog, the Domestic Goddess Wannabe – Coq au Reisling. Happy Cooking!
Do connect with Le Creuset Singapore through its website: www.lecreuset.com.sg, Facebook Page: Le Creuset Singapore or Instagram: #lecreusetsg for more updates on recipes, culinary classes and promotions.
Photo Credit: Le Creuset Singapore FB Page