Editor's Note: You asked for more recipes for Le Creuset mini cocottes and we've delivered! Check out Executive Chef Lisa Counts new blog post for more recipes: More Recipes for your Le Creuset Mini Cocottes.
As a Francophile, I am fortunate to be able to spend part of each year in Lyon, a charming – and food-obsessed – city just a few hours south of Paris. Whether I arrive in June when the entire town smells like fresh-cut flowers or in early December for the annual Fête des Lumières (Festival of Lights), I’m always amazed by the warm hospitality of the citizens of Lyon.
What I enjoy most about Lyon is that the whole city is designed around a genuine love of food and cooking. From open air neighborhood farmer’s markets like Marché St-Antoine on the Presqu’ile to the upscale Les Halles de Lyon - Paul Bocuse indoor food hall to ubiquitous Carrefour hypermarkets, both locals and tourists are overwhelmed by the wide selection of high-quality ingredients and prepared gourmet foods. It is not uncommon to see shoppers trading recipes on the street, nor is it considered impolite to ask purveyors for free food samples.
Lyon is also renowned for its “bouchons”, casual local bistros originally designed to serve the silk workers — “canuts” — of the Croix-Rousse district in Lyon. Stemming from the word “bousche”, which means a twisted bundle of straw, the story goes that bouchons would hang straw from their roofs, indicating that a hot meal could be found within. The world of the canuts was essentially snuffed out by bureaucratic regulations in the mid-19th century, but their food traditions are maintained by modern bouchons. Legend has it that bouchons were the first to cook and serve food in the same tureen rather than transferring food from cookware to a serving plate, as done in fine dining.
On one of my early visits, a friend gave me a Le Creuset mini-cocotte as a housewarming gift and it has become a tradition to collect them in a variety of different colors over the years. These sturdy little stoneware vessels maintain even temperatures so they resist scorching and block moisture absorption to prevent cracking, crazing and rippling. Because they’re safe for the freezer, microwave, oven, broiler and dishwasher, the versatile mini-cocotte is the perfect dish for single-serve portions. Best of all, I can easily prepare individual dishes for special dietary requirements or personal taste preferences.
You can find lots of recipes online or get the Le Creuset “Mini-Cocotte” cookbook filled with recipes specially designed for the mini-cocotte. Here are my favorite meals to make in the Le Creuset mini-cocotte:
- Baked Eggs with Spinach, Tomato & Feta
- Pecan Cinnamon Breakfast Rolls
- Caramelized Onion and Roasted Pepper Frittata
- Deep Dish Pizza
- Coquilles St. Jacques
- Fish Chowder Stew
- Rustic French Onion Soup
- Beef & Potato Shepherd Pie
- Duck Sausage with Lentils & Carrots
- Mac ‘n Cheese with Crispy Bacon
- Crab & Courgette (Zucchini) Stuffed Mushrooms
- Honey Cornbread Soufflé with Aleppo Pepper
- Baked Apples with Cheddar Cheese & Spiced Walnuts
- Maple-Glazed Root Vegetables
- Creamed Spinach with Crispy Leeks
- Moroccan Rice with Carrots & Raisins
- Blackberry Fruit Clafoutis
- Sticky Toffee & Date Bread Pudding
- Baked Custard & Cheesecakes
- S’mores in a Bowl