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Appropriate Cooking Vessle

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone I was hoping someone could help me out with my
cooking vessle.

I picked up a Piazza 12qt stockpot at a garage sale recently. I thought it would be perfect size for my tomato sauce because of the meatballs, sausage, braciola I add. After making this a few times I think it is too big and the wrong shape.

When I add the meat it fills the pot up 3/4 to the top, but because the pot is more tall than wide the meat seems cramped and piled up on itself making it hard to do the occasional stir.
I am thinking of getting a 9qt pot that is shorter and wider. Le Creuset makes one although expensive it would give me many years of use. I was under the impression these pots were made for slow stovetop cooking like this sauce.

Another option would be to buy an 8qt anodized-aluminum stockpot. I am thinking a better quality one would cook as well as the Le Creuset although it would be smaller.

The third option is to cut the recipe. I would have a hard time since it is grandma's exact, and it gives us two extra frozen meals for later, plus I still need a smaller pot anyway.

Any opinions or recommendations are greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 8
Hello BJ, I am inclined to think it might be as well to avoid aluminium, esp. if you use tomatoes frequently. Other high acid foods might be a bit of a bother too. I adore L.Cr. but only have 2 casseroles and a very business like fry pan with lid. The weight is a consideration of course, but if you can afford it......well. A jam pan is something you might also consider. But I think perhaps I would go for very high quality stainless steel of the shape and size you consider appropriate. You will never need to buy another.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
I was leaning tward the stainless but the salesperson (who also said anodized-aluminum is nonreactive) tried to convince me an enamled cast iron like LC is much better to long simmer a tomato sauce. I have never cooked my sauce covered (whether that is wrong?). Before I made the investment I figured I would seek some advice from the more experienced here.
post #4 of 8
I think your initial considerations are right. Stainless steel, with a lid, for those times you want to use it. I have had my three for 25 years now, and some horrible things have been done to them. But they are still up and going, I have never regreted the money spent.
post #5 of 8
Weighing in here, literally: do you have really good upper-body strength? If not, anything BIG LeCreuset is not a good choice. Those pots are very, very heavy. :eek: I have several LeC (including some for more than 35 years) and I love them, but man, sometimes they are almost impossible to lift empty, not to mention full of stuff.

The salesperson is right about the advantages of a good, heavy pot for slow simmering, but you can accomplish the same thing in a thinner pot by using a simmer pad or Flame Tamer -- a metal disk that sits between the burner and the pot, to diffuse the heat and make it more gentle. Those are very inexpensive and are great for cooking many different foods -- delicate sauces too, if you don't have a double boiler.

A pot with either a stainless-steel or anodized aluminum interior will work for your sauce, and will be easier to lift, especially when full. Do get one with a cover, if you can, because a pot that size is very handy for other things -- making stock, cooking pasta -- and a cover is good to have. (It holds in the heat, so your full pot of pasta water comes to a boil faster.)

But are you sure you are looking for the right size pot? I did a little math: 3/4 of 12 = 9, so if you only get a 9-quart, your new pot will be full up to the top -- which will be difficult to work with in a different way. Stay with a 12-quart if you can, but look for one that is wider and shorter than the one you have.

:lol: . . . I've tried to resist, but I can't: I'm going to put in a plug for my favorite brand, All Clad :p I have a 12-quart stock pot, with lid, and it is a true workhorse in my kitchen. It was expensive, yes (although I have the least expensive style, the Master Chef line), but it is worth every penny as far as I'm concerned. But you don't have to take my advice on brand -- just get something that won't react to acid (interior of stainless steel or anodized aluminum) and is relatively easy to lift and carry, and if it's on the thin side, also get a flame diffuser.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #6 of 8
An argument against annodized aluminum and for LeC is color. The black interior of the aluminum makes it difficult to gauge the color of what you are cooking and sometimes this is important.

Another is the acidity of some foods. Someone alluded to this already but taking the discussion a bit further, acid will remove the annodized surface from the pot - especially if you store a high acid food like tomato sauce in it. Then you are left with an expensive, plain old aluminum pot that is very reactive.

post #7 of 8
Give me good old stainless steel any day.

Regards Cakerookie...
post #8 of 8
Go heavy. Get a flame tamer anyway, unless you have a truly awesome stove. Heavy & light colored bottom. Burnt fond is a crime.
The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
The genesis of all the world's great cuisines can be summed up in a four word English phrase: Don't throw that away.
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