As the wintery nights set in, is there anything better than cooking up a big stew for the family from the comfort of your cosy, warm home?
Combine that with lockdown 2.0 - and the prospect, perhaps, of another one next year - and one might find themselves in need of a casserole dish.
Robust, long-lasting and versatile, this is an essential piece of kit for one-pot lovers and batch cookers alike. And though often expensive, a good quality dish is sure to last a lifetime… or even outlive you.
Casserole dishes come in all shapes and sizes, whether you’re cooking for yourself, your significant other or the whole family.
As a good benchmark, a 24cm / 4 litre dish will comfortably feed at least four, and from there you can scale up or down (though we’d recommend always going for a bigger pot than you need).
The shape is surprisingly important, too, depending on what you’re cooking: oval is better for meat joints but round will make stirring a breeze. Check which hob the pan is suitable - hob or induction, or both - and whether it can go in the oven. Ideally, opt for one that is good for all three.
The material is equally vital. Cast iron, the most traditional, is more expensive but will last for decades. A good cast iron pan will ensure your food is evenly cooked and the moisture locked in.
Enamel coating will help you avoid burnt bottoms, while raw cast iron will need regular seasoning - it’s up to you how much faff you’re prepared to put in. Meanwhile, non-stick metals and ceramic options are just as effective and cost half as much but last half as long. And remember: plastic non-stick coatings are best avoided.
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