French Copper Pans their names and uses – 2/4
Marmites, Faitouts, Bassine a Ragoût, Casseroles, Dutch Ovens, Rondeaux, Daubiere Ovale , Braisieres Rectangulaires, Faitout Conique, Marmites Droits, Poissonieres, Turbotieres, Boites a Aperges, Jambonneau, Saumonnier, Marmites a Pomme de Terre, Marmite Pomme Vapeur, Faitout cylindrique, Chaudrons a Legumes, Marmite a Bouillon, Pomme Anna, Marmite a couscous, this is not an exhaustive list!
There are many French copper pans and pots that have different uses and different styles and measurements. These styles have evolved over time, have become more specialized and in some cases are just for one type of ingredient or one recipe. All French copper pans have their ancestor as the cauldron over an open fire, on possibly a tripod or attached feet but more often in the fire itself. Cooking was a hot dirty job, with spitting foods, a hot environment that was difficult to control and resulted in poorly cooked food.
In French gastronomy, there are three main areas of cooking.
The regional cookery of the peasants and urban poor, the cuisine bourgeoise - middle class cooking and haute cuisine French restaurant cooking.
This has been well documented by various cooking trailblasers from the 1600s such as Nicolas de Bonnefons and Francois Menon going on to Louis Audot. Who instead of just listing recipes and ingredients, the cooking techniques were also incorporated into the recipe and of course the perfect pot to do it in.
Of course, the major 'food influencer' from the 1800's and generally seen as the 'grand fromage' of the French culinary movement was Georges Auguste Escoffier
(1846–1935) a French chef, restaurateur, and food writer who popularized and updated traditional French cooking methods. Most of our modern Chefs throughout the world have been influenced and guided by his works directly or indirectly.
This culinary expertise has been developed and enhanced and up to the present day we are still referring back to the 'new era' modern Chefs such as Julia Childs who instigated a whole new movement in French Cooking in the US with her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961, 1970).
In the UK of course there was Keith Floyd in his book and TV series Floyd on France. (1988), the French style of cooking now championed by James Martin in his TV series and book, French Road Trip (2018). Of course, there are many Chefs including Raymonde Blanc, who advocate the true spirit of French cooking by including their own 'potager' or vegetable garden as a requirement for traditional French cooking! Ah I digress
All modern Chefs in their recipies include the ingredients, the method and the pot to cook it in!
There are many French copper pans and pots that have different uses and different styles and measurements. It is important to note that the design ratio of the size of the pans go to the specific use of the pan.
Boites are literally boxes made from copper and are designed for various tasks. These can have inserts and separate linings - especially if they are used for boiling water. They can be for cooking asparagus, large hams, poaching anything and used for storing dry goods like flour.
Bassine A Ragoût
Not to be confused with plat à sauter deux poignées, dit 'rondeau' or a double handled saute, this bassine a ragoût is essentially a stew pot or a casserole in the UK and a Dutch Oven or Stew Pot in the US. It is shorter than a Marmite and is ideal for browning meat then cooking slowly on either a burner or in an oven. Not too tall, easier to move and clean. Very versatile and useful.
This is a simple pan with a simple job, this design has been used since the early 1700's (and before in different guises). It makes great confit, a sort of single ingredient stew that has the rendered and added fat left in it to form a layer on top of the meat, it then can be kept for many months - 'Confit du Canard'. We buy it in tins these days - but this will make your own.
Of course, you can cook any meat, fish or vegetable in this, put it on your woodburner and leave it, the tight fitting lid will keep all the moisture and flavour in, this is a great useful, beautiful, special and above all a great useful pan. This is the best of both worlds for the copper enthusiasts who want to see the age but still use the heirloom - copper history in action.
These fabulous pans can be used today as it was when they were new, you can start making new memories with this, sitting making a stock or stew on your cooker, hob, range, wood burner or fire, just doing its job, needed as necessary.
These types of Braisières can be called Daubières, Chaponnières or even Poupetonnières (the nearest to this is Paté or meat paste!) they are for cooking a l' étouffé or sealed without air - hermetically sealed.
Cocottes ronde ou ovale
These are generally smaller in size than Marmites or Bassines a ragoût they are used to cook whole chickens or smaller poultry. They can be used for side dishes and or single mains, for pies and puddings. A follow on from the Tourtière perhaps?
Faitout is a term that is used extensively in the modern copper vocabulary, it is usually used to describe a big stock pot – marmite a droit or any big pot with straight sides. This term came about in the mid 19th century to describe a big pot that literally ‘did it all’ fait-tout in a domestic setting, it always had two strong side handles and a good solid lid. (Recently, I have seen sauteuse évasée described as such too)
Dehillerin Marmite a Droite couvercle a degré
This name covers many different styles of pot but essentially they have a tall body with the diameter about the same, always with a lid and almost always with two handles to the side. They stared out life in the mid 1500s with legs to place in a fire or cheminée. Later they developed into flat bottomed pots – sometimes referred to as faitouts – as these pots were used for making soups, stews and broths, can boil vegetables, poach meats and fish. Your marmite a droite is a pot that can do it all.
Marmite with lid, swing handle and feet
Marmite Couvercle Emboitant
Marmite Couvercle Emboitant – Stock Pot with Snug Cover Lid or Covering Lid This is a tall pot, it has straight sides and a snug covering lid. This is ideal for using as a stock pot, the high sides and the lid ensure that moisture is kept in the pot. Ensuring that your broth, stock or consommé is not boiled away.
Marmite a Bouillon is a large vessel for dispensing stock or broth in a kitchen. The stock is made by boiling vegetables, meat bones or fish – whatever your wish to have as your base for your dishes for the day, then it is placed in the Marmite a Bouillon – or stock pot and when you need a stock to start a dish your hot stock is ready for you. This can also be used for hot water or coffee too.
Chaudrons/Marmite a Lègumes
Just as the title suggests this is a big pot with sloping sides evaseé that is ideal for boiling vegetables.
Marmite pomme vapeur
These pots for steaming potatoes are deceptively weighty and robust. They have an extremely heavy base. The water is placed in the bottom the cover is then placed on the rim and the potatoes on top. Then they are steamed until tender. These gorgeous pots are wonderful from oven to table too.
Marmite Bassine à Blanchir Legumes
Vegetable blanching pot. This is a large bassine evasée or sloping sided cauldron or basin that is used for blanching vegetables, the large, open top enables the Chef to scoop out the vegetables easily and quickly. There is no lid - notice the flat rim indicating this.
Poissonnière Fish Kettles
The snug insert enables the Chef to remove the cooked fish without damaging the fish itself. It is an ingenious thing that enables you to either poach or shallow steam a whole fish; a salmon, bass or any large fish you wish to cook. You can remove it as a whole and use the cooking liquor for your sauce. It is a thing of beauty and really useful It is a necessity for a professional or well-equipped kitchen. This can be used to cook anything that needs steaming, poaching, or boiling not necessarily fish but also dumplings, suet puddings, ham, or vegetables. This is a versatile item that is lovely to look at. Older versions of these don’t have lids or sometimes no inserts as the fish was poached rather than partly steamed.
Turbotière Turbot Kettle
Turbotière Turbot Kettle - Antique
Turbotière Turbot Kettle - Vintage
This is a Turbotiere fish kettle for specifically large fish such as a Turbot, or any flat fish, you can cook many fish at once in here too. Ideal for a commercial outlet or a fabulous home kitchen.
Saummonière Poissonière Truitière
A high domed fish kettle for trout or salmon, it holds in the steam generated and reduces the evaporation of the cooking liquor. Smaller than a regular poissonnière and turbotière, it is ideal for round fish.
This is a pot that is specifically designed for one recipe. Pommes Anna or Potatoes Anna that is a classic dish that needs to browned on both sides. This pot enables you to turn over the pot during cooking without leakage of the garlic butter or cheese.
Soupière or Soup Pot
The tall sides and smaller opening reduce the surface area of the soup so reduction is at a minimum. They can be kept on a low heat for hours.
Eared Poacher, Bain Marie, Braconnier
Ideal for keeping brittle sauces warm without them curdling or splitting. The ears balance on the outside of a saucepan and it sits in the warm water or steam to remain at the desired temperature.
Tourtiere or Tart Tin with Lid
This is a dish traditionally used over an open fire, the legs keep it from the direct heat from the coals so cooking can be slower. Ideal for Tourtes or pies as the lid retains heat to cook pastry and filling and stops ash from contaminating the food.
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