Monday, July 18, 2011

Le Creuset Doufeu - Vintage Ebay Find!

I made a wonderful purchase off ebay last year of a vintage Le Creuset Doufeu. It has now become a workhorse in my kitchen, and is one of my favourite pieces.


The doufeu is a dutch oven with the unique feature of a concave lid for holding ice cubes. The term comes from the french words for gentle (doux) and fire (feu) and the principle of this pot is that it allows for slow cooking without letting the flavours escape.


As you can see from the detail, the handles are ears along the side of the pot, and there is a depression on the lid that allows you to hold ice cubes. The underside of the lid is is dotted to allow for gentle braising of meats. The difference in temperature between the top of the lid and bottom of the lid encourages condensation - similar to an ice cold glass of water getting foggy and wet. The droplets collect at the dots, and drip down on the meat, keeping it moist and not requiring you to open the lid and stir or add dilute liquids.


My favourite dish to cook in the doufeu is braised beef brisket. I start by browning the seasoned meat in some olive oil. Then I remove the meat from the pot, and sautee some vegetables with the seasoned bits in the pot.


What I love about this dish is that I can throw in veggies from the fridge in a somewhat carefree manner. If I have green onions, I'll throw them in. If not, I skip it and add some garlic instead. I try to base the veggie combo on the wonderful trifecta of onions, celery, and carrots, also known by the french as the mirepoix.


Soon I am able to place the meat back on the bed of sauteed vegetables. I add my braising liquid (I usually use a combination of dark soy sauce, some vinegar, ketchup, and/or any stock I have on hand), set it to low heat, and cook for 4-6 hours. Once I put the lid on, all I need to do is flip the meat at the halfway point. Otherwise, it takes care of itself and produces a beautiful succulent piece of meat!


I love all my Le Creuset items, but the intruiging science behind this pot makes it my favourite piece of all! It also never fails to deliver a flavourful braised beef brisket with minimal effort or risk of drying out.

I'm linking up with HLA's Flea Market Finds!

12 comments:

  1. I recently discovered that my mother owns a vintage Le Creuset piece that she received as a wedding gift in the early 70s. I told her to take good care of it! LOL!

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  2. I love it! I'm a big fan of le Creuset and am most intrigued by the doufeu. Thanks for sharing that recipe. Mmmmm, you've made me very hungry indeed!

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  3. This is beyond fabulous. I would love to own some le Creuset and I had never heard of the doufeu. I'm off to do some googling now. Thanks!

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  4. Other than the vintage camera the hubby purchased, this is the only vintage item I've bought off ebay! I couldn't resist, and I'm so glad.

    It was a bit of a splurge, but I use it all the time... Even when summer isn't the best time to be braising beef for 5 hours on the stovetop. =)

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  5. Well I am a convert now! I have always seen Le Cruset as been quite an expensive brand, but after your post, I can see the quality in it! Your braised beef looks delicious.

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  6. I love this piece. I've never even heard of that style but now I want one. I love your blog by the way.

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  7. I didn't even know there was vintage Le Crueset! Makes my Le Crueset pots look positively modern. Beautiful, beautiful pot.

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  8. It's fab! I've been on the lookout for one of these for a while!

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  9. such a pretty and elegant piece! i've never seen one like it. and how cool about the science behind it.

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  10. Love it, esp with the yummy contents :o) Scarlett x

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  11. Thanks for the great comments! Le Creuset actually has a couple of doufeu's out right now too, I believe they might be part of their Heritage Collection?

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  12. Wonderful info. Will keep an eye out for this as I would love to have one. What a useful item.

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