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Apr 17, 2013 12:08 PM

What size/shape for a second dutch oven (for two people)?

Summary: My husband and I ended up receiving three 5.5 quart dutch ovens for our wedding (we feel so fortunate/lucky!). I would like to keep one of them (no gift receipt anyway), and then return the other two for something else. For two people (with just a little left over), do you think a 4 quart round or oval would be good as a second DO?

Are ovals very useful do you think? Or should I just stick with a round so it fits better on my burner? We do eat meat and we want to start braising more food. I've heard ovals are more flexible since they can fit lamb shanks, whole chicken, etc, but it's weird to me to cook food on a burner in an oval pot!

Another option is to get a 2.75 quart braiser, though we have some SS french skillets that would work for braising in small quantities, too.

More Detail:
So my husband and I just got married and we've been going through all of our wedding presents. We put a 5.5 quart red Staub dutch oven (enameled cast iron) on our registry, but we didn't expect to get one since they are so expensive. Well, it seems our friends and family are extremely generous people, because the only duplicate items we got (and actually the only items we will probably return) are THREE 5.5 quart dutch ovens!

One of our friends got us a 5.5 quart Flame Le Creuset (no gift receipt). And we also have 2 of the staub dutch ovens (with gift receipts).

I was all set on just keeping the LC flame one since we don't have a gift receipt for it (and it is very beautiful), but as soon as I opened the other two packages I fell in love with the red of the Staub. The red also matches our mostly red-themed kitchen.

We feel so lucky and fortunate! But we don't feel like we need three of these beauties. I would like to perhaps exchange one of them for something else entirely, and the second for a different sized dutch oven.

For the most part, it's just my husband and I. We do appreciate some left overs, but we have a small freezer so we'd probably use a smaller size pretty frequently.

I was thinking of either a 4 quart round, or a 4 quart oval (or oval wide). We have a roasting pan and some nice all-clad SS French skillets that could also be used for braising smaller quantities.

Should I get an oval, a round, or heck, and/or a nice enameled cast iron braiser (2.75 quarts probably)?

What size/shape do you think we might use most often? Both of us are reasonably new to cooking and to dutch ovens.

Thanks so much in advance for your help!

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  1. I have mostly cooked for one or two, and I found the 4.5 qt perfectly useful for years before I splurged on the 5.5 qt.

    These are the LC sizes. I'm not familiar with Staub. In terms of choosing between the two brands, I find it's easier to see when cooking on the light LC surface. Other people like cooking on the black Staub surface because it doesn't show stains (or so they say--again, I've never used Staub).

    You can exchange the third piece for something completely different, I suppose. A 3- or 4-qt. saucepan from All-Clad, or something copper, maybe?

    1. I own 4 LC pieces and 4 Staub. I'm probably going to sell the LC and buy more Staub. There is nothing wrong with LC but, I really just like the Staub better.

      For your situation, I would get the Staub 4¼-quart 'Coq au Vin' Oval Dutch Oven, a Staub 2¾-quart Round Dutch Oven, and a Demeyere Atlantis/5-star skillet, though the LC deep skillet with splatter screen would be hard to say NO to in your case.

      In summary, I believe you will find the ~4 quart Staub/LC are your most used pans and that the Oval ovens will see the most use for meat and the beans, stews, etc will see the Round ovens most. A premium upper end stainless steel skillet is a thing that must be experienced to be appreciated (I was pretty biased on them prior to my Demeyere purchases).

      The Le Creuset Signature Deep Skillet with Splatter Screen is also worth considering since you have the LC Oval oven to exchange.

      1. I have been using a LC 5.5 Quart for about 15 years. In the non-summer months it gets used at least once a week.

        It works super good for things like lamb shanks, pork roast, chile, etc. I think of it as the "magic pot" where you combine ingredients, and put it in the oven. Come back a couple of hours later and its ready to go and delicious.

        It is also good as deep fry vessel or for making no-knead bread.

        If you are going to cook with this method you should either invite friends or plan on left overs.

        Regarding size, I would probably only want a smaller size if my range didn't have room at the moment for one I have.

        1. Hi, jishera:

          You do not say what *else* in the way of cookware you received, but IMHO 3 ECI ovens this close in size is a waste. I would keep whichever 5.5 pleases you the most, and exchange/sell the others. Then apply the credit/$ toward something you need, like an excellent saute or a pair of saucepans.

          If you must keep two ovens, I'd exchange one of the Staubs for an oval 4Q, and peddle the LC on eBay.


          1. We are a family of 2 and own both a 5.5 quart round LeC dutch oven, as well as an oval LeC dutch oven which is slightly larger ~ 6 quarts or so. Honestly although I use the round oven about once a week (for stews, braises, soups, etc.), I use the oval perhaps 2-3x year. The only time I use the oval oven is when I want to stew a whole chicken (which is rarely...I prefer roast or broiled chicken), or sometimes for a brisket of beef, or corned beef which fit better into the oval shape. Unless you have all the other cookware you need, I'd keep only the 5.5 quart round oven, and buy other things with the trade-ins.