Dutch Oven vs Braiser | Do I Really Need Both?


Dutch Oven Vs Braiser

It is not an easy decision knowing whether you need to purchase one type of cooking pot over another unless you understand the differences between two similar cooking pots.

The two pots we are talking about today are so similar they are effectively cousins in the world of enameled cast-iron cooking. They are of course the Dutch oven and the Braiser. So which cooking pot is the best Dutch oven vs braiser?

Dutch ovens and braisers are both made from enamel coated cast iron. The Dutch oven has high sides for casseroles, soups, and stews but can also fry, roast and bake. The braiser has a wider base with lower sides and is used for shallow frying, roasting, and other dishes that do not require a large amount of liquid.

Whether you need both a Dutch oven and braiser depends upon what functionality you require from the pots. Combine this with storage capability in your kitchen and your budget you can then make an informed decision as to whether you need both cooking pots.

I guarantee making the decision as to whether you need both cooking pots in your kitchen will become easier when you understand the differences and functionality of both the Dutch oven and the Braiser.

Let’s go…

What Is a Dutch Oven?

 

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Round French (Dutch) Oven, 5-1/2-Quart, CeriseOpens in a new tab.
Click the image to check out this Le Creuset Dutch Oven in beautiful “Cerise” at Amazon for yourself…

Dutch ovens when working at their absolute best are the ultimate cooking pot for slow cooking and preparing stews or casseroles.

They are a high sided cooking oven cast from thick cast iron with a thick base, sides a little thinner and a very heavy tight-fitting lid.

Heat sources for a Dutch oven include a stovetop, gas, electric, induction, ceramic, and conventional oven.

Although seasoned cast-iron is non-stick anything less than a very good quality brand of enamel-coated cast-iron cannot be truly non-stick.

Good quality brands such as Le Creuset, Staub, and some less expensive brands will give you a non-stick and nonporous surface which will allow your dishes to develop a fond.

How Does a Dutch Oven Work?

To achieve this type of cooking (with tougher cuts of meat) the idea is to have the food fully submerged in the liquid.

Then with low heat over a period of time, the meat tenderizes with the help of a heavy self-basting lid which stops any steam from escaping and the condensation drips back into the dish being prepared. Forming beautiful nourishing, tender hearty meals.

Due to the high level of condensation formulated within the Dutch oven, combined with the excellent heat retention properties of cast iron you can achieve this over any heat source. Meaning the majority of the cooking process does not have to be finished in a conventional oven.

Dutch oven uses  –  stews, casseroles, roasts, baking, soups, chili, beans, frying, sauteing, and more…

Dutch Oven – Cooking Technique

Courtesy of Michael Ruhlman and Le Creuset

Budget Slow-Cooked Cassoulet (Casserole)

This is a true budget cassoulet which turns out creamy and decadent every time.

Ingredients

  • Bacon Chopped
  • Sausage of choice
  • Pork shoulder
  • Caramelized Onion
  • Carrots
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Water
  • Parsley

Instructions

Prepare all ingredients before you start cooking.

Heat your pan on stovetop add chopped bacon – add water. Water will evaporate and your bacon will be browned/fried.

Remove bacon and set aside.

Add pork shoulder pieces then sear/brown all sides – remove and set aside.

Time to brown the sausage remove and set aside.

Time to layer the cassoulet.

Pork, sausage, bacon, soaked beans add water onion, carrot, and bay leaves.

Simmer on top of the stove for 30 minutes

Then move the Dutch oven to your conventional oven pre-heated to 300° for 1 to 2 hours.

Serve with chopped parsley and enjoy!

What Is a Braiser?

 

Le Creuset Signature Enameled Cast-Iron Round Braiser, 3 1/2 Quart, MarineOpens in a new tab.
Click the image to check out this Le Creuset braiser in beautiful “Marine” at Amazon for yourself… 

A brasier is fondly known as “the everyday pot” in many European countries. Called this because a pot like this is used everyday in kitchens the world over.

The braiser I refer to today is of course made from enamel cast-iron. Further, the two pots I refer to today are of similar volume – 3.75 quarts.

It comprises of a look similar to a Dutch oven in that it has molded handles at the side of the pot like a Dutch oven. You will notice the handles in the image above are very generous in size making it easier than some similar pots with handles to move around safely.

Also sports a tight-fitting heavy lid like the Dutch oven.

What Is a Braising Pan Used For?

The wide opening of a braiser makes it perfect for sauteing and searing ingredients required before the actual cooking process begins.

Cooking tough pieces of meat is ultimately what a brasier is used for. Much like a Dutch oven, this cooker uses low temperature for longer to soften the meat.

The braiser cooks a little like slow cooking but the meat ingredients are not covered fully. The liquid, in fact, should only cover the meat halfway.

The liquid slowly bubbles away and steams the meat. The steam is used to break down the food.

The types of dishes that you would prepare in a braiser are coq au bin, risotto, paella, beef bourguignon, bean dishes, lamb shanks, stir fry, Osso Bucco, and shallow frying…

Braiser – Cooking Technique

Courtesy of Michael Ruhlman and Le Creuset

Braised Short Ribs

Ingredients

  • Beef Short Ribs
  • Chopped carrots
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Olive Oil
  • Flour and salt
  • Whole canned tomatoes (large can)
  • Red Wine
  • 1-2 Bay leafs
  • Gremolata – (parsley, lemon vest, garlic)

Instructions

Prepare all ingredients before you start cooking.

Coat short ribs in salted flour

Heat your pan on the stovetop. Add a generous amount of oil. Place your beef short ribs in to be sealed until brown.

Remove ribs and set aside.

Dispose of fat and clean off any residue from inside the pot.

Place pot over heat add onions, carrots, short ribs, red wine, liquid from tomatoes.

Puree whole tomatoes then add to the braiser as well as your bay leaves, season with salt and pepper.

Cover and heat up the pan to a simmer.

Then move the Dutch oven to your conventional oven pre-heated to 300° for about 2 hours.

Serve with your favorite accompaniments.

Top with Gremolata enjoy!

What Is the Difference Between a Dutch Oven and a Braiser

You will have noted the similarities between the preparation and the cooking of both recipes in the two different pots. Ultimately both dishes were finished with slow cooking

Dutch OvenBraiser
Dutch oven has high sidesBraiser has low sides
This pot can carry out various types of cooking styles including sauteing, shallow and deep-fry, stew, roast, bake and moreA braiser can carry out almost all the cooking styles a Dutch oven can apart from stewing and deep-frying - shallow sides of the pot limit this
A heavy tight-fitting lid which has nodules or spikes built in that allows for the oven to self-bastA heavy tight-fitting lid which allows for dishes to be cooked at low temperatures and steam
Dutch ovens stew tough cuts of meat which are fully immersed in liquid and generally slow cooked - to achieve that fall off the bone tendernessThe wide design of the braiser allows for ingredients to cover the bottom of the pan, the sauce does not cover the ingredients so each piece will obtain the most heat possible - giving a braised dish
The stewing of the food generates full-flavored nourishing, natural tasting dishes
A Dutch oven can braise as well in smaller quantities due to the smaller circumference of the base of the oven

What Is Enamel Cast-Iron?

Unlike seasoned cast-iron that provides a natural non-stick cooking surface that improves with use, enamel cast-iron is only non-stick to a certain extent. Plenty of oil, liquid, and low cooking temperatures provide the best non-stick surface with enamel cast-iron.

It also helps to avoid your food sticking to your enamel cast-iron.

Good quality brands such as Le Creuset, Staub, and some less expensive brands will give you a non-stick and nonporous surface which will allow your dishes to develop a fond.

Cleaning Enamel Cast Iron

Whenever I come across the subject of enamel cast iron two things are always mentioned.

Enamel cast iron is non-stick and easy to clean.

Let’s address non-stick first. The quality of the enamel matters and I would challenge anyone out there to add any ingredients to a hot pan without adding some sort of liquid.

Oil or water will stop the food from sticking to the enamel.

Utensils will scratch and wear down the enamel of any quality – so stick to wood if possible or silicon.

As far as cleaning enamel cast iron… The interior of most enamel cast iron pans will be a light color so you can expect discoloration.

Manufacturers advise that enamel coated cast iron can co into a dishwasher – BUT… I always wash mine by hand – soapy water and a soft scourer will do the trick.

There are some different strategies if a heavier clean is required – see this article.

Do I Really Need Both?

I would say yes you do if you regularly carry out the various types of cooking that both cooking pots offer.

You will note that even though both pots are very similar including material and design it is in the preparation of similar types of dishes that they differ.

  • One cooks in half the liquid and is finished off by steam under the heavy cast-iron lid.
  • While the other fully covers the ingredients and slow cooks it in its own juices.

Ultimately it comes down to what meals you like to prepare regularly. Braised meals or hearty liquidy stews and casseroles?

Choices are:-

  • If you do not want both in your kitchen – what you need is the one you will use the most
  • Still cannot choose – my advice is that if you only want one of these pots the choice has to be the Dutch oven as it can adapt to the recipes that require braising
  • Unfortunately, a braiser cannot carry out the functions of a Dutch oven

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a Braiser the Same as a Dutch Oven?

No, a braiser is not the same as a Dutch oven. They can be made from the same materials but a Dutch oven has high sides to hold more liquid for stewing.

Whereas a brasier has lower sides and the dish being prepared is not meant to be submerged wholly into the liquid for cooking.

Can I Use a Dutch Oven Instead of a Braiser?

Absolutely, as long as you take into consideration the smaller circumference of the base of the oven as opposed to the wider base of a braiser. You could reduce the size of the meal or cook in two Dutch ovens if you have them.

If you want to shallow fry in the Dutch oven just do it in a couple of batches.

What Can I Use Instead of a Brasier?

Dutch ovens, skillets, or deep skillets and be used to sear or brown the ingredients. Then put all ingredients an oven-safe cooking pot with a lid and finish of the meal in a conventional oven.

You can use a casserole dish, ceramic dish, or glass casserole.

This article gives you some awesome suggestions as to what you can use instead of a brasier.

Final Thoughts – Dutch Oven Vs Braiser | Do I Really Need Both?

Should I buy a braiser or a Dutch oven?

Two very different cooking pots that can prepare almost all the same dishes. The only real difference is that one can hold more liquid than the other. Thereby restricting the choice of recipes a little.

But any good cook will know it is all about adaptation if you really want a particular recipe but only have one vessel to prepare it in – you will find a way to adapt the said recipe to that cooking pan.

That being said if you have space, money and will use both pots then go ahead and treat yourself.

Check Out My Favorites

(Click on image to check them out at Amazon)

ENAMELED CAST-IRON DUTCH OVENS
(Click On Image To Check Them Out)

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Round French (Dutch) Oven, Cerise

Staub Cast Iron Round Cocotte, Black Matte

Lodge 7.5 Quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, Caribbean Blue
ENAMELED CAST-IRON BRAISER

Le Creuset Enameled Cast-Iron Round Braiser, Cherry

Staub Enameled Cast Iron Braiser, Dark Blue

Crock Pot Enameled Cast Iron Braiser, Slate Grey

One-Pot Cooking Rocks

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