How to save a Le Creuset pan when you’ve been an idiot

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a before picture, but trust me, it was horrific. Now it’s all cleaned up (well, back to the level of staining it had pre-idiocy, at least) and beautiful again.

I hesitate to post this because my Dad is going to be deeply disappointed that I did something so dumb. Me too, Dad. Me too.

In fact, on Saturday I did two stupid things. I also cut my hand on my mandolin while slicing daikon. But this post concerns the second stupid thing I did that day which was make a fucking awesome vegetable soup for dinner and then leave it sitting on the element, and now for the stupid part, without turning the element off.

Conservatively, I’d say that soup sat on the element for a good half hour to 45 minutes. Or maybe more? It was long enough for all of the broth to evaporate and for a thick layer of charred cauliflower, kale and potatoes to adhere to the bottom of my prized Le Creuset dutch oven (a gift from my boss). Dad, nothing caught fire. Later, to cap things off just right, I went on a bad date in which the dude slept through the entirety of new Bond movie. In the theatre. Well, at least that was a couple of hours where I didn’t have the opportunity cut or otherwise endanger myself.

Anyway: I had been soaking this pot since Saturday night and as of this morning that burned on mess was still as hard as cement. I didn’t really want to screw around with anything too abrasive that might ruin the enamel – you guys this pot is one of like two things I own that are actually good – so, I Googled. As usual, the Internet provided reassurance, in the form of lots of advice for this specific problem, that I am not the only one who occasionally acts like a moron in the kitchen. I decided to try these instructions from The Kitchn, since the post went to far as to refer to “pots scorched with batches of vegetable soup left unattended.”

It worked! I did the procedure twice, because I had a lot more char on the bottom than the pan in their post. But even after that, there was still a little caked on in the middle. I decided to dump some straight up baking soda in there with just enough water to make a paste. I smushed it around and – praise! – everything that was still stuck lifted. Over the summer, I was making batches of black tea in this pot weekly for kombucha and the baking soda even removed the tea stains I thought would never come off. (Note to self: use a different pot next summer).

Long story short, don’t worry Dad, I’ve learned my lesson.

 

4 thoughts on “How to save a Le Creuset pan when you’ve been an idiot

  1. See that fellow over there in the corner, the one with the sheepish look on his face? Uh huh. Him too. It has to be a right of passage, correct? (And nicely written, too.)

  2. Baking soda saves everything!!!

    ps. Re: element left on!? I left one of the elements on my gas range on Simmer overnight once with a pot of beans…………….never mind the pot was ruined I am surprised we didn’t die from gas fumes!!!!! DOH! (feel a bit better now?)

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