A rondeau is a favorite staple in a chef’s arsenal and should be in any home cook’s as well. Sometimes called brazier or brasier, this wide, somewhat shallow pan is similar to a stock pot or a Dutch oven but not nearly as deep. The pan has straight sides, usually has two loop handles, and nearly always comes with a lid. Generally, it is made of stainless steel, copper, or a combination of clad metals.
Range of Possibilities
Part of a rondeau’s allure is its versatility: its shape lends itself well to searing, braising, oven-roasting, frying, poaching, pan-roasting, and simmering or boiling. The shape is deep enough to hold liquid for poaching or braising, but shallow enough that it can evaporate to make a cooking liquid more intensely flavored.
When shopping for a rondeau, look for one with a heavy base, which will conduct and retain heat well. You also want a tight-fitting lid and an oven-safe construction so you have the option to finish—or even fully cook—dishes in the oven. Also, make sure the pan is not too wide; it should not be more than a couple of inches in diameter larger than your burner or it won’t heat properly. Like stock pots or Dutch ovens, rondeaus come in a variety of sizes; choose one that will accommodate the number of servings you usually prepare. A 6- or 7-quart version should be sufficient for preparing 4 to 6 servings.