Browning and Flavor with Raw Cast Iron and Enameled Cast Iron

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Joined Jan 10, 2010
It may have been mentioned here that browning and searing is better done on raw cast iron than on enameled cast iron.  If that's the case, and one wants to braise in an enameled pot like a Le Creuset, how would one get the most flavor from browning on raw cast iron into the enameled pot?   Would the raw cast iron fond be deglazed and then the liquid transfered to the enameled pot?  Or might therfe be another, perhaps better, method?  Thamks!
 
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Joined Sep 29, 2003
I honestly don't notice that much difference in the browning between my leCrus and granny's old iron chicken pot.  The drawback to the 'raw' cast iron is that you shouldn't deglaze with wine, tomato product or any other acid, whereas you can do this in the enameled pot.  My motto is 'the fewer pots the better - especially when I'm the one washing them!'  :) 
 
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Joined Jun 5, 2009
The problem with the enameled iron is that you can't get the same temps as plain cast iron without endangering the enamel coating.  I'm not too sure that there is that much danger from briefly deglazing with an acidic product in the cast iron.  I wouldn't continue to cook the dish with the acid but would transfer it to a preheated enameled container.  The short period of time, as in a minute or two, it takes to deglaze shouldn't hurt anything.  At least that's my opinion.  I'll be interested to see other's opinions.

Rich
 
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
Absolutely right, Cabosailer.

The oft repeated advice to not use acidic products in raw cast iron actually only applies to long-term usage. That is, if you, say, did a braise, using tomato juice as the liquid, there could (and I stress the "could." It takes a lot of abuse to destroy a good cure) be problems.

But short term, such as deglazing, will have no ill effects.

That aside, I often sear directly in enamaled cast iron. I've never had a problem with the coating. And the meat doesn't seem to react any differently then it does in raw cast iron. That being the case, I see no reason to dirty two pots.

I know that in theory you can heat the raw iron hotter. But I'm less concerned with theory and more concerned with practical kitchen usage. And in my experience, there is, in practical terms, no difference between the two.
 
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Joined Nov 5, 2007
I'll agree that short term deglazing in raw cast iron is not an issue.  A well seasoned skillet or whatever can take a bit of abuse.  But multi-hour braises and such I usually do in some other sort of pot.  And sometimes I do sear in the raw iron, deglaze with wine then transfer the lot to another pot.

Cast iron is pretty indestructible.  I've on occasion wondered what would happen to it if I ran a piece through the self-cleaning cycle of my gas oven...

mjb.
 
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Joined Jun 5, 2009
Teamfat,

Run it through the self cleaner and I'd be willing to bet that you would burn out all your hard won seasoning.  Other than that, nada.  The cast iron should be able to take a couple thousand degreees, far hotter than the self cleaning cycle.

Rich
 

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