Enamel clad cast iron.

Over here in the US we have huge factory stores.  Coach for purses and totes.  Michael Kors with designer clothing.  Nike for athletic wear and shoes.  Le Creuset for the ultimate in cook ware.  Not just any cookware either.  French enamel clad cast iron with not one single dutch oven priced UNDER $200.

I picked up a 5 quart dutch oven made by Lodge Cast Iron while we were traveling through Tennessee earlier this month.

5 quart enamel clad dutch oven

I was not so very thrilled to learn that this addition to my cooking arsenal is from China :-(.

With the proliferation of television cooking shows and a rise in consumer demand, Lodge broadened its variety of cookware by importing vibrant Porcelain Enameled Cast Iron from China. After several years of searching for the right partner foundry, Lodge introduced the elegant L-Series in 2005, and has since expanded its assortment, earning positive reviews from Good Housekeeping and Fine Cooking magazines, test kitchens, and our valued customers.

There are a few things to consider before you fork over the money to purchase an enamel clad cast iron pot, pan, or dutch oven.

  1. The enamel coating on the inside and outside of the vessel is GLASS enamel.
  2. The enamel will chip and crack if handled roughly.
  3. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT, preheat this cooking pot or pan with nothing in it.  DO NOT allow water to boil dry in this pot or pan.  The enamel will crack and chunks will break off.  There is no repair, that I have found, for broken or chipped enamel.  Once chipped you will have to make sure the cast iron is SEASONED within the crack or chip if it has gone all the way through.
  4. The enamel will stain while cooking some foods such as black beans and some tomato preparations.
  5. Cleaning the stained enamel will require using baking soda and water mixed into a paste and quite a lengthy spate of time using elbow grease.  You can also fill the vessel with hot water and add household bleach then let it set until the water cools, then wash well with soap and water.
  6. The cooking heat is not insulated by the enamel while you are cooking.  You will burn your fingers off if you grab the handles during cooking.
  7. These pots and pans are HEAVY!  Because they are made from cast iron then coated with the enamel they weigh quite a lot.
  8. When not in use the cooking vessel needs to have air circulating.  Keep the “Bumpers” it came with.

When you first take your dutch oven out of the box you will find some silicone “bumpers” (for lack of a better word) that are placed along the rim of the pot.

Silicone "Bumpers"

These “bumpers” protect the outer rim of the dutch oven while the lid is stored on top.  These bumpers are easily removed.  Just grip one with your fingers and pull straight up.

They are easily removed

Do not throw these bumpers away.  Once you have finished cooking, washed your dutch oven and dried it, you will put these bumpers back on the rim of the pot before placing the lid on for storage.  These bumpers protect the edges of the pot from chipping.Don't lose them.

Before you begin cooking with your new pot make sure to give it a really good wash in quite warm water using dish soap.

Wash and rinse well before first use

I made spaghetti sauce in this pan and I was totally delighted with the results.  Better than any sauce I’ve made with my other pots and pans.  Really flavorful.  I do use a store bought sauce.  The one I like the best is Bertolli.  I prefer Bertolli over Ragu and Prego, even Hunts brands of spaghetti sauces.

Bertolli spaghetti sauce

This sauce not only tastes good (in my opinion) the first two ingredients ARE NOT corn syrup and sugar.  Sugar is one of the LAST ingredients.Sugar is one of the last ingredients on the list

Joe and I prefer to have chunky spaghetti sauce.  Most people would think this is obscene and the sauce is no longer a spaghetti sauce but we like it.  If you find you don’t have enough ground meat for your sauce adding chopped vegetables stretches your food dollar.  Plus you get the benefit of eating your veggies 😀

One medium onion, two ribs of celery, two carrots, and about 12 button mushrooms.

Fresh vegetables to add in the sauce

All chopped and ready to go in my fancy new pot 😉All chopped and ready.

A drizzle of olive oil in the bottom of the pan, turn the heat on medium.  I  have an electric range with heat numbers of 1 through 10.  I started the heat at 5 to cook these vegetables in the oil.  After about 15 minutes of cooking on Level 5 I reduced the heat to Level 3 and cooked the vegetables for another 15 minutes.Into the fancy pan with olive oil

The good thing about cooking with cast iron is it retains the heat.  One of the bad things about cooking with cast iron is the whole entire pot is HOT!  Sides, bottom, and handles are HOT!.

Joe and I saw this little gadget while in the Lodge Factory Store and we had quite a conversation over what exactly it was for.  The top green parts are silicone.  The little pads on the silver part are silicone.  The two green tops squeeze together like a binder clip.  Oh, now I think I know what it is…..

What the heck is this?

A spoon rest that clips to the side of the pot.  Okay, I guess my fancy new pot needs to have a fancy new gadget to go with it 😉A spoon rest is what it is.

When the vegetables are nearly done add your ground beef and cook until well done.  Or you can cook the ground beef in a separate skillet then drain the grease.  Something I should have done because this fancy pot is HEAVY and quite cumbersome to hold the lid on while tilting the “hot mess” over the sink to allow the grease to drain into an empty tin can.  Did I mention that cast iron cookware is HEAVY?

Cook the ground beef until done.

Once the grease is drained well add the spaghetti sauce and stir well to incorporate.  Allow the sauce to simmer in the pot, COVERED, for about 20 minutes.  You might find a hungry person slinking around your cooking and going in for a sniff 😀Add the spaghetti sauce

When you are satisfied the sauce has cooked long enough and your noodles are done, ladle up the goodness and “Mangia”.  Mangia = eat

Ladel it on over noodles and enjoy

When the pot cools down enough then store the remaining sauce (if there is any left) in a freezer bag to save for a night when you don’t have time to make fresh.  Maybe the next time you use this sauce you will decide to have lasagne.  Poof!  Magic!  Sauce is already prepared, all you have to do is thaw it and cook the noodles 😀

Leslie

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About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

6 responses to “Enamel clad cast iron.

  • Maureen Mathis

    I sometimes used Italian sausage instead of ground turkey for my spaghetti sauce; I’ll have to send you the recipe I use. It’s really easy, too! That fancy cookware looks like too much trouble for me! There’s no way I’d ever mess with those fool bumper things, and I’m much too rough on my pots and pans to not chip this good stuff! Oh, well, saves money for crafty stuff, although I’m not spending near as much since I had to quit teaching at Michaels!

    • Message In A Fold

      I love some Italian Sausage in my spaghetti sauce. Yum!

      This is one of those “Be careful what you wish for” things. I’ve coveted the Le Creuset pots for quite a long time. When I saw one under $100 at Lodge I ran with it. Literally ran with it to the register. Once I got home and researched – AFTER the fact – I wondered what the heck was I thinking :-(. Oh well.

      Oh, man. I didn’t know you had to quit your teaching at Michaels :-(. Bummer. You okay with it?

      Girl, you bang those pots and pans around. Only good stuff comes from it 😀

      Love you my friend – Leslie

  • gardenpinks

    Love Le Creuset, don’t own any but I have used them when house sitting for a wealthy lady – she had a whole set of them! I wonder why that pot is called a Dutch Oven in America? Over here we would call it a casserole dish/pot for cooking things in the oven! Or in days gone by some combination of meat and vegetables would be cooked to boiling over a fire in a similar container and then put into a box filled with straw or hay and covered with hay or straw and a lid and left to do its own thing for many hours 🙂

    Oh definitely agree with you that a spaghetti bolognese must have plenty of chunks in it lol. I’m sure the Italians would be astonished 🙂 Ragu is my favourite pasta sauce but I only buy it when it is on special offer as it is quite expensive.

    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

    • Message In A Fold

      What?! I thought you would have all kinds of fantastic bits to share about the Dutch Oven.

      No mystery. You will have something to add that would be really great to learn. The “Dutch” brought their cast iron pots to the Americas long before we riled up King George. Households had cast iron pots and cauldrons for cooking on the hearth of a fireplace. From what little I know the Dutch settlers deep pots had fitted lids.

      Much like what you described with the hay and straw this was new to some of the colonial people and the term “Dutch Oven” was coined. The lidded pot was moved from the central heat and kept warm by many means allowing the food to bake.

      Bolognese, and I even know what that is. First I thought you had just cracked your head. I saw “Bologna” – a cheap pressed meat that is wrapped in a red casing and sold by the pound.

      I used to use Ragu long ago when the children were little. Stuff gave me heartburn most of the time. Will you share one of your recipes? That would be fun.

      Love you – Leslie

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