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Le Crueset Burned Debris

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi guys, I checked around the forum for an answer to this question but was having trouble with the search engine.. so hopefully this question hasn't been answered before over and over again!

I have a fairly new Le Crueset dutch over, the large oval one, think it's 6 quarts? Last night, I was making the Cook's Illustrated French Onion Soup, which requires me to melt some butter and then reduce 3lbs of thinly cut red onions. I've made this recipe before in a standard non-stick dutch oven but I the Le Crueset is bigger and I was hoping the steady even heat would help the onions get nice and browned and sticky, faster.

Soup turned out great, problem is, there's this awful black char literally fused to the bottom of the enameled pot. The onions weren't burnt at all. The soup had no burnt taste in it. I have tried everything to get this off in an easy fashion - boiling water while scraping with a wooden spoon, soaking overnight.. basically everything that has always worked without a problem on even the most extreme messes on my other pots and pans.

Eventually I managed to free up the char by using a plastic putty knife and really, REALLY digging into it, as the char flaked up a bit at a time. However I'm hesitant to use this thing again, as this has become a bit of a pattern.

When I first purchased the pot, another recipe called for browning cubed pieces of pork country-style ribs, then simmering with some broth. Same char developed on the bottom of the pan, and same scraping was required.

Any ideas as to what I did wrong or what I can do in the future to prevent this problem? Heaven forbid I actually ever truly burn something in this pot, I can't imagine ever having enough strength or patience to scrape off that kind of char..

Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 7
Hmmm, this is not a usual problem for LeCrueset. If the pot is whole and sound, my first thought is that your burner is too hot. Consider lowering the heat or turning it down earlier in the process.

Also, if the pot isn't completely clean, a new burn will begin where the resiudue of the old one is.

As for cleanig such a mess, I'd recommend covering the burned on residue with ammonia, putting the lid on and leaving it overnight. It might be better to leave it outdoors to keep the ammonia smell out of your home.
Never eat more than you can lift! - Miss Piggy
Never eat more than you can lift! - Miss Piggy
post #3 of 7
I assume you have the same dutch oven as me with the cream coloured linning.
I have had the same problem many times and I don't recommend browning anything in the dutch oven past a gentle golden brown. The dutch oven in my opinion is definately unsuitable for browning meat. This would be best done in a decent seasoned fry pan , deglazed and transferred to the dutch oven.

The black char does fade over time and the base of mine now looks pretty awful , but it still works fine.
post #4 of 7
That's strange because I have browned things numerous times over high heat in my le Creuset and never had this problem. I mean, there was some black stuff on the bottom but nothing that a little cleanser, (I like Barkeeper's friend) couldn't take off.

Maybe there's some defect, not visible to the naked eye within the pot surface? For example, metal cookware can develop tiny cracks which encourgae the sticking and burning of food.

Maybe you should contact Le Creuset and make a case for the pot to be replaced.

Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
post #5 of 7
Not sure , but I certainly wouldn't dare returning my le Creuset dutch oven in the state its in now :o

The way I see it is, the cream lined saucepans and dutch ovens are not great for browning. They char black very easily and once they do , a nuclear war head wont shift it. The grey lined fry pans are much better for high heat searing , although they can also become a bit chared and need elbow grease to clean.

I have sold or transferred to my "wifes equipment drawer" most of my le Creuset stuff . For high heat work (and I hate to be so repeatisous) there is nothing like a well seasoned raw heavy steel pan.
post #6 of 7
LeCrueset is my first choice for braises. When I make pot roast, I brown the roast in the LeC. When I may beef barley soup, I brown the beef shanks in the LeC. The same for chicken dishes such as paprikash or cacciatore. I've never had a burning problem. The cream interior on my LeC is pretty much the same color it was when I bought it.

I recognize the browning benefits of raw cast iron. Many of those same benefits are present for LeC as it's cast iron as well.

Oh, well. One man's trash is another man's treasure.
Never eat more than you can lift! - Miss Piggy
Never eat more than you can lift! - Miss Piggy
post #7 of 7
Good point Andy , cookware is very much a personal choice.

Just a thought with the le Creuset cream lined pots , that maybe there is a point of no return ? If you damage the surface or overheat it once , perhaps from then on you are going to have problems and the more you battle the charing the more you are damaging the surface. I certainly can't be sure that didn't happen to mine at some stage.
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