Posts Tagged ‘le creuset’

The perfect pot for browning a roux

December 12, 2008

I love anything thickened with a roux. I make Béchamel for all my casseroles instead of using canned cream soups. I make a roux for the base of macaroni and cheese, roux for Étouffée, roux for gravy. And then of course, I make a roux for gumbo.  I’ve heard it said that gumbo is actually love you can eat, and I buy that.

I just stood in the kitchen for about 4 hours, stiring and adjusting, and loving the hell out of a gumbo recipe found on 101cookbooks. com.  I highly recommend that recipe.  However, the best part of the entire meal was browning the roux in my Le Creuset dutch oven.  Andy bought the 6 3/4 quart and 3 1/2 quart models in my favorite blue over the last year. I’ve been using them for every roasted bird, stewed stew, pot roast, or loaf of bread I’ve made since.

Using the enameled cast iron allowed me to brown the perfect roux. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten one darker than today’s, and it didn’t burn even a little.  The heat distribution and retention is great on cast iron, so you get an evenly browned mixture. Plus, since the le creuset are enameled, the pan comes perfectly clean as you scrape it with a wooden spatula. Somehow, using this pan instead of my usual cast iron skillet let me cook the roux for much longer (around 50 minutes). It smelled like toasted popcorn and tasted like roasted nuts.

If you have the dime you must pick one up. http://www.amazon.com/Creuset-Enameled-Cast-Iron-4-Quart-French/dp/B000EWNXKS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1229046979&sr=1-3

This was about 40 minutes in. 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of flour. It ended up chocolate brown.

This was about 40 minutes in. 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of flour. It ended up chocolate brown.

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Roasted duck.

July 20, 2008

I came up with this to be the first recipe made in the beautiful Le Creuset dutch oven Andy gave me for my birthday.

1 dressed duckling, brined overnight in salt water,
2 large white onions, sliced
4 large oranges (reserve ½ orange, juice 3½)
1 tbs orange zest
2 tbs orange liqueur
½ cup chicken broth
kosher salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes
1 head of garlic, peeled
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh lavender
1 sprig fresh sage

Remove duck from broth.  Trim fat pad from main cavity, and set it aside.  Pat duck dry, rub with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Stuff cavity with ½ white onion (sliced), garlic, ½ orange (sliced), and herbs.  Set stuffed duck aside.

In a gorgeous, cobalt blue Le Creuset dutch oven, render the duck fat slowly over medium heat.  If the fat is not available, just use olive oil.  Saute remaining onions in the duck fat.  Add orange zest and stir until fragrant.  Add orange juice, liqueur, broth, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Stir to combine, and simmer until reduced by about half.

Wiggle the duck into the orange liquid and onions.  Spoon some of the mixture on top of the duck.

Raw duck in roasting pan.

Raw duck in roasting pan.

Cover tightly and cook at 350ºF for 1.5 hour until the bird reaches an internal temperature of about 150ºF.  Remove lid, crank heat to 500ºF and brown for approximately 15 minutes. The final temperature should be around 170ºF before resting.  Remove from heat, cover, and allow to sit for around 10 minutes before carving.

I’m serving this with seared brussel sprouts and basmati rice.