Mr. Henry’s notion of holiday cheer comprises eating, drinking, bah and humbug in equal parts. He resists participating in national frenzies like Christmas bargain-hunting, college football rivalries, or presidential primaries. He admits to being a complete devotee, however, of religious music, and in pursuit of it will spend long hours seated on cold cathedral pews.
For the benefit of his faithful readers and in collegial competition with Twistie’s suggestions last week, Mr. Henry here reveals the first installment of items personally used by and personally endorsed by Mrs. Henry herself – high arbiter of practical good sense. You may present these at Christmas fully confident of escaping the whispered ridicule of loved ones.
Twistie’s endorsement of the Le Creuset 5.5 quart enameled iron Dutch oven is not overstated. The Dutch oven Mrs. Henry recommends, however, is the 6.75 quart oval Le Creuset (in flame), a veritable battleship for braising, the superior combat weapon for pulled pork or pot roast, big enough to ensure plenty of leftovers and commandingly beautiful on the table.
Although the round oven yields marvelous roasts and stews and works fine enough for risotto, for his own risotto Mr. Henry prefers something with a shallower lip and a non-stick surface. His uses the Swiss Diamond 4.3 quart sauté pan with transparent ovenproof lid and steam escape valve. Although lightweight, the Swiss Diamond conducts heat reliably. The risotto will cook to crunchy perfection yet not stick. (The trick for risotto, no matter which pan you choose, is to make sure the broth you add is piping hot.)
For sauté pans, there is no finer instrument than the All-Clad non-stick. If you are ambitious enough to attempt a béchamel or other eggy French sauce, however, you may want to spend the vacation money on an All-Clad copper core sauce pan. It holds heat so well that as you add cool ingredients to your sauce its temperature doesn’t drop very far. With this pan you become a magician of the wooden spoon.