What’s the difference between a Dutch oven and a Sauteuse?
Aside from how easy they are to pronounce.
There was a point in my life when the only piece of cookware I needed was a cast iron skillet. That was a long time ago (back when I was an idiot), and in the years since, I’ve learned to appreciate not only the difference between various types of cast iron skillets, but the differences between various types of cast iron Dutch ovens as well. Maybe some day I’ll even become enthusiastic about something that isn’t made of cast iron, but I’ve got plenty more hairs to split until then, starting with the age old question:
What’s the difference between a Dutch oven and a sauteuse?
Or, as the question is sometimes framed:
Scanning the Le Creuset website would leave you with the impression that a sauteuse is basically just a Dutch oven with a tougher-to-pronounce name, but it’s more than that. “Sauteuse” is the French word for “saute pan” or “frying pan” in the feminine, and it refers to a covered pan of varying sizes and materials with a wide base and sloped sides that can be easily transferred from the stove to the oven.
If you think that sounds like a Dutch oven, go take a look at yours. You’ll most likely find that it’s a deep pan with harder angles around the bottom. The sloped sides of the sauteuse are far more amenable to a whisk or spatula, making it the ideal choice for cooking up sauces or any dishes that require constant stirring.
The sloping sides and large surface area make the sauteuse more useful for simmering and reduction, and the lower sides make it better for shallow frying and dishes that don’t require much liquid.
A Dutch oven, on the other hand, has far higher sides, making it more suitable for casseroles, soups and stews.
In summary, a Dutch oven is best for:
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While a Sauteuse is better suited for:
- Dishes that do not require much liquid.
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My personal take is that the Dutch oven is a bit more versatile, but I’m also less enthusiastic about soups and stews than some. Both can substitute for the other in a pinch, but if you’re really dedicated to getting a particular dish just right, then you may want to make your choice carefully.
Or just buy both? I dunno, I just write about cookware.