The Le Creuset Oval French Oven is your premium enameled cast iron cooking pot for stove top and oven use that really is a fantastic investment and a kitchen must have.
Ease of Use/Performance: 24/25
How much I enjoy 25/25
A French oven is a cast iron pot with a lid that is similar to a Dutch oven you may hear about but from Le Creuset it does not do the term cooking pot any justice. The Le Creuset French Oven performed so well and handled everything I could throw at it that it earned my Blue Ribbon for Excellence.
The Le Creuset Black Onyx line is a new series of black enameled cookware along with another new line in white that Le Creuset is proud to be creating and selling. I like the sound of French Oven but it really is much the same as similar enameled cast iron cooking pots you may have seen only of the best quality.
My son purchased a less expensive brand, Martha Stewart, at a sale at Kmart and I was kind of impressed with that for cooking on the stove top to brown foods and then baking in the oven. Move over Martha, the Le Creuset is not even in your league as it cooks so much better and does not stain or discolor at all.
I have had the Le Creuset French Oven, 6 ¾ quart black, Black Onyx pot for a month now and am convinced this is the kind of pot every kitchen needs. I think you should really have a couple but that can wait until I get into my own home and have the room to really do some cooking.
The Le Creuset French Oven comes in a wide variety of sizes and three shapes; round, oval and the cute 2 quart heart shape for those romantic dinners or desserts. The French Oven is an enameled cast iron pot with the enamel covering all the parts of the pot inside and out except for the lid and edge where it will contact the pot.
This means no chipping of the enamel starting at the rim of the pot or the lid for a lifetime of use from the enameled surface. The knob on the lid is a nice stainless steel metal so no worries about a fireproof but possibly cracking material getting ruined over time.
The Black Onyx French Oven has the black enamel on the outside of the lid and pot with a cream colored enamel on the inside of the pot and lid. The handles on each side of the oven are nice sturdy cast iron pieces formed from the pot that are large enough to hold onto with oven mitts on but not so large that they get in the way in or on the stove.
The Le Creuset French Oven is a nice cooking pot that is for all kinds of stove tops such as electric element or glass top, gas and even induction stoves. The enameled cast iron can also be used in wood, oil, gas and electric ovens as many other types of French and Dutch ovens can.
The Le Creuset company has been around since 1925 and I have really seen many forum comments about the Le Creuset ovens lasting for years. Several comments talk about handing down French Ovens from their parents and grandparents so I know they last for a long time.
Using the French Oven is great and like I said this one is really made well without any problems of staining or discoloring of the inside enamel. After only a few uses the Martha Stewart enameled cast iron pot my son purchased started to get discolored when cooking things like tomatoes in sauces or soups.
After a few months use the inside of the Martha Stewart enameled oven is no longer an even color but has stains from about an inch down covering the entire inside. The Le Creuset has no signs of any discoloring or staining and I have read others who also say they have French ovens that are 30 plus years old without any stains.
Cooking with the French oven is a great treat as you can use the same pot to brown meats and add other ingredients to create some great soups and stews, roasts and main dishes. The French oven works very well to brown chicken or roasts and then bakes them in the oven to complete the cooking process.
I have really gotten some great use out of the Le Creuset French Oven cooking things like chicken breasts, bread pudding, soups and stews. The French oven heats evenly inside while in the oven and does not burn or scorch on the stove top nearly as easily as other pots and pans I have used.
I first tried out some spaghetti using the old cook the meat and onions, then add the tomatoes and other ingredients and the Le Creuset did extremely well. The stove top use is great as the oval oven allows you to have some are directly over the heat and some side area not quite over the burners.
This cooking allows a great simmer and cooking for long periods as well as having a good way to add ingredients and push the already cook ones to the side to cook the new ones. When cooking hamburger or browning onions I have begun to add spices for the dish during this part of the cooking as I found from America’s Test Kitchen that cooking oil based spices makes for more flavorful dishes.
An easy way to accomplish this without overcooking the already started onions or meat is to push the cooked parts to the two sides where they will continue to cook slowly and add the spices and new foods into the center and cook them there. Of course some of the side stuff will mix in with the cooked foods which is good but you mainly cook the new foods over the heating area.
This is possible with a large dutch oven such as the large cast iron oven I have but that oven is round and more of the sides tend to cook the foods all over the inside. With the oval Le Creuset can push foods to the two ends and concentrate the center area for new ingredients.
The Le Creuset French Oven, especially the oval, makes for a nice and handy way to cook all kinds of foods and even those nice roasts. The oven allows less cleanup by being able to lock in the juices by searing the meat and then starting the final slow oven cooking in the same pot.
The 6 3/4 quart size is perfect for a family of four and makes a great French oven for meals whether on the stove top or in the oven. The Le Creuset in the oven is great and makes a fantastic roaster for medium to small meats and roasts like beef, pork and chicken.
The Le Creuset Black Onyx series of French Ovens brings style and elegance to a traditional cooking device that works exceptionally well. Even with the higher cost of the Le Creuset Black Onyx French Oven at about $260 I still highly recommend this essential and elegant cooking pot.