|Right out of the box! So pretty!|
It's going to be very durable.
And ... it's still going to be really pretty even after it's seen some use and it's got some age on it. There's something about well-used cooking equipment that makes it appealing, because you know someone spent time with it.
When I first got the 9-quart stockpot (with the steamer insert ... squeeee!) I was almost afraid to use it because it was sooooo pretty, but then ... I had to. That's what it's FOR. So, I started getting it dirty.
The funny thing is that the first time I lifted the pot, I almost threw it to the ceiling. Not that it's a lightweight pot, but I see that LeCreuset design on the lid and my brain thinks "cast iron" and my muscles gear up to lift something super heavy and ... wheeee!
The pot made from tri-clad stainless, and the bottom is definitely thicker and heavier, but overall, it's liftable. Or it is when it's empty. Fill that sucker with water and you've got some water weight to contend with.
Because of the heavy bottom, it cooks evenly, which is a big deal. Cheap cookware tends to have hot spots where food tends to stick and burn. When I first started cooking on my own, I didn't think pots made that much difference and I used some pretty cheap stuff. When I got my first good piece of cookware, I was amazed at how different it was. I didn't have to hang around and stir as much. And I didn't burn as much food.
I absolutely love the lid on this pot. First, there's the look. It's got that distinctive Le Creuset design, which I think looks pretty awesome in shiny stainless. But it's not just the look. It's designed so that drips go back into the pot, and it holds steam in really well, too.
Between the heavy bottom and the ability to hold in steam, you can put this on simmer and it can cook for a long time with little attention.
Another really, really cool thing about this pot is that the inside is etched with measurements up to 7 quarts, which is probably where you want to stop filling it, if you're a sane person. It will hold 9 quarts, but if you're going to be cooking and stirring, you need some empty space. It's nice to see how much stuff you've got in the pot, whether you're filling it with water, or you're checking how much something has reduced.
The steamer is pretty sweet, and if you're going to spend the money for a pot like this, consider the steamer, since it will make the pot even more versatile. I have a few pots that came with steamer inserts, and some are better than others. Some go nearly to the bottom of the pot, so they're more like pasta inserts. Not great for steaming, since anything at the bottom of the pot will be sitting in water. Or you can only add an inch or two of water. And that's not what you want.
I have other pots where the steamer insert is really shallow, so you can't put a whole lot of food in it. These sit at the top of the pot, so I guess you could be cooking a stock in the bottom and steaming some corn on top - but who does that? It's just silly.
The steamer for the Le Creuset pot is far enough from the bottom of the pot so you can put a decent amount of water in there before it reaching the level of the food in the steamer. And the steamer itself is deep enough so you can steam a reasonable quantity of food, and not just a couple hot dogs.
After using this pot for a while, there's really nothing bad I can say about it, except that it's expensive. But you get what you pay for. This should last a lifetime ... and get handed down.
Who's it for: People who like quality cookware from reliable and well-known brands.
Pros: This is going to be the sort of pot that you'll pass down to your children. It's well made. Unless you run it over with a truck, I can't imagine how you could fatally damage it.
Cons: Price. This isn't cheap cookware. It's an investment.
Source: I received the 9-quart stockpot and the steamer from Le Creuset. They accidentally shipped an extra stockpot and when I informed them, they said, "don't bother sending it back." I could have kept it for myself, sold it, or given it to a friend, but I decided that a giveaway here would be so much more fun.
To see a recipe where I used this stockpot, look here.
GIVEAWAY is OVER