This is a WEIGHTY and very LARGE oval “French” oven or “Cocotte” (a “Dutch” oven is round) that I bought quite a few years ago when I was still preparing game for some hunters I knew (their wives wanted nothing to do with learning to cook game.) And I would prepare the roast or haunch or “saddle” of venison or elk or a “leg” of boar (like an extra-large ham) because this would hold it and smaller roasting pans would not. (I also had a couple of large Magnalite roasters but they have high domed covers and some of the ovens these folks had were not tall enough inside to hold the taller roaster.)
Apparently this 12.5 quart oval vessel is no longer being marketed by Staub in the U.S. because it does not appear on the official Staub web site. I found French sites that I think offer it, but as I do not read French and did not want to go through the translation process, I am guessing. It was costly when I got it but I certainly enjoyed using it.
It weighs almost 30 pounds EMPTY (with the lid) and I have difficulty lifting it as it is and certainly would be unable to pick it up and move it with anything in it.
It does an amazing job on BRAISING tough meats that have to be cooked long and low to achieve the tenderness that only this cooking process can achieve (and is essential with most large game animals). There are “drip spikes” on the underside of the lid so that condensed liquids will be distributed evenly over the entire interior and the lid fits snugly into the oven so there is little loss of moisture over the extended cooking time. It can also be used on the stove top – over two burners – for an extra large soup or chili pot.
The material of which it is made is practically indestructible. It will crack or break if dropped on a cement floor or struck with a sledge hammer, but otherwise, it is a tough piece of iron and it is coated so it will not rust and DOES NOT REQUIRE SEASONING. It’s not truly enameled – except on the outer bottom – it has a tough ceramic coating that is similar to interior surfaces in glass kilns where it is important to avoid any flaking of the kiln material onto the glass being fired. And, it can go into the freezer, with a prepared roast to keep it chilled for transport and then into the oven – I advise a cold oven to start, then set the heat and time. This is far superior to the LeCreuset and other enameled cast iron that does stain when cooking certain foods and may craze and chip over time with resulting rust spots. The lid handle is safe to 500°F. in the oven but can be removed if it is to be used in a hotter oven – a friend who has a smaller one uses it in his wood-fired pizza oven for baking huge loaves of artisan bread.
I’m going to put it in an ebay auction, as soon as I can figure out how to package it securely (needs a heavy duty box) and the shipping is going to be expensive. Meanwhile, I’m admiring it because it is a handsome piece of cookware.
It’s 19 3/8″ overall length, including the handles. The body is 16″ x 11 5/8″ and height with the lid is 7 1/2″.