This Enameled Cast Iron Braiser Just Replaced Half the Pots in My Kitchen (and It’s Gorgeous!)
Well, folks, as much as some of us hate to admit it, summer’s end is nigh, and like a friend crashing on our proverbial couch for two weeks, we’re sad to see it go — but also glad it’s gone (and taking its sweaty days and costly AC bills with it). Why glad, you ask? Because fall is finally here, people, and with it comes crisp mornings, tailgating, baked goods, and — best of all — soups, stews, and braises.
Now, while I’m a diehard soup lover all year round, there’s truly no better time to tuck into a warming bowl of gently braised meat and veggies happily swimming in their own stew-y goodness than in autumn. That’s why I was so excited when Misen launched their enameled cast iron braiser back in Feb., and after using it for a few weeks, I’ve gotta say: This thing is awesome. I used to think I’d never stray from my tried-and-true Lodge Dutch oven, but these days, I’m not sure I’ll ever go back! And while it does feel a bit like cheating, the sleek look and thoughtful design of my new favorite piece of cookware just can’t be topped.
Right off the bat I was struck by how heavy it is. It’s not too heavy, where you couldn’t carry it around or wash it by hand, but just heavy enough that it’s definitely not going anywhere — even when vigorously stirring on the stovetop. (The wide handles make it easy to grip, too.) That weight is also what gives the lid its incredibly tight seal; it doesn’t leak, hiss, or sputter, even after simmering or braising for almost three hours. Plus, I like to flip the lid upside down on the counter next to my stove and use it as an extra plate to pop meat or tongs on while I cook, leaving me one less dish to wash during cleanup.
Another great part of Misen’s braiser is its ample surface area for searing large amounts of meat at once — without having to crowd the pan and effectively steam the things you want to sear. (Oh, and I should mention that this sucker is a searing superstar and safe on all stovetops.) Its wide cooking surface also lets you cook all different shapes of pasta in less water, so you’re able to up the starch content of your pasta water for easy emulsifying and sauce-thickening.
However, this braiser isn’t just for braising. I use it for pretty much everything: eggs and bacon in the morning, boiling pasta and making a quick pan sauce for lunch, and as (of course) a braiser for dinner. Just pop it on the stove while your oven preheats, sear your meats, sweat your veggies, add your braising liquid — beer, for me — and gently nestle in your protein so just the surface is exposed. Then pop the lid on, toss it in the oven (it’s safe up to 500º F), and go about your day! I like to come back about halfway through the cooking time to check on everything and give it a stir, then I let it finish cooking, pull it out, and voila! Dinner is served.
Now for the final reason I love the Misen braiser: It just looks gorgeous. Honestly, it’s a little wide for your average small-apartment cabinet, but don’t let that discourage you — this piece of cookware is something I leave on my stovetop 24/7, since it’s practically a modern art installation. With clean lines and an inoffensive color palette, it also doubles as servingware. Its chip-resistant enamel is easy to clean in the dishwasher, too, which means it keeps looking good even after weeks of heavy-handed use by, ahem, careless roommates. So, what are you waiting for? Fall is nearly here — it’s time to break this bad boy out and start braisin’.
Buy: Misen Enameled Cast Iron Braiser, $140