Cocottes, Dutch Ovens & Stock Pots
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For the masters of French cuisine, including such great chefs as Auguste Escoffier, Joël Robuchon, Julia Child, and Paul Bocuse, there was one essential piece of cookware: the cocotte. Nearly a century ago, French craftsmen took the humble, cast iron Dutch oven and elevated its design by using an enamel coating on both the interior and exterior of the pot, allowing for more even heat distribution and easier cleaning than a traditional Dutch oven’s traditional raw cast iron.
True connoisseurs consider Staub cocottes, still made today in Alsace, France using traditional sand molds, to be among the world’s finest cookware. Handcrafted with careful attention to quality and detail, Staub cocottes are famous for their even-browning bottoms, their tight-fitting lids that preserve juices and for their tiny, condensation-collecting nubs that baste food during cooking, much like a Moroccan tagine. The result is a timeless piece of cookware that concentrates flavors to create truly glorious succulent slow-cooked dishes.
These cocottes sport a porous black matte interior that develops a natural seasoning over time that also becomes virtually non-stick the more you use it. As rugged as they are beautiful, they can last several lifetimes, whether used on your stovetop, in your oven, or even on a wood-burning grill (or buried in its coals as it withstands temperatures to 750 degrees) --some of the reasons you these cocottes grace the kitchens and tables of many Michelin-star restaurants.
Traditionally used to make stock or broth, a stock pot is a wide diameter pot with tall straight sides and a flat bottom-most commonly used for cooking complex liquid stocks slowly and over long periods of time, but may also be used to boil lobsters for a clambake, or for boiling large quantities of pasta. Stock pots are double-handled pots with lids. Due to the large size of a stock pot, copper is generally the finest quality available.
Whether made a century ago in Europe, or newly forged in the United States, copper stock pots define handcrafted heirloom quality. Vintage and Antique English and French versions are easily procured re-tinned stock pots prove the test of time and add a bit of Downton Abbey style to any kitchen. New copper stockpots, such as those forged by Brooklyn Copper Cookware, provide an American take on an Old World classic. These new copper stock pots are the finest quality available anywhere in the world.
It is nearly impossible to make a gourmet meal without great ingredients, and honoring those ingredients is only possible with quality cookware. Use a cocotte for classic French dishes such as oefs en cocotte, or cassoulet, or make modern classics such as a New England clambake, All American Chili, or Potager Beef and Leek Stew, for warm, satisfying meals that will delight friends and family. A copper stock pot will provide plenty of aesthetic delight and is the perfect vehicle for boiling noodles or lobsters, and building complex bone broths and stocks that add depth and richness to recipes.