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May 9, 2013 07:33 AM

3qt cast iron dutch oven - useful or no?

I came across a really good buy for a 3qt cast iron DO...but I'm not sure that I will find that much use for it. I have 2 larger one, and I use them for mostly bread baking. I do love to cook, but it's just me now while my son is at college...but I do cook for me and my BF when we have time. Just wanted some other opinions as to whether a 3 qt can be a useful addition.

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  1. We have a small 2 3/4 Staub we use a lot for 2 of us. 3 qt is a great size for casseroles, baked ziti for example. I use it for oven baked rice, also like to pile it full of root vegetables and seasoning and bake at 450 for 45min to an hour for a great side dish. I also am almost ashamed to admit, I use it for Glorious One Pot Meals once or twice a week. That seems such a cop out for cooking, but there are those nights it is sooo convenient and it gets a healthy meal on the table with a minimum time investment. The Staub is perfect for that!

    1. Lots of other uses for a Dutch oven - making soup, stewing, braising and slow cooking, just about anything on the stovetop or in the oven that needs a multiquart capacity and a serious lid. If you're cooking just for yourslf and occasionally one other, you might find the smaller piece a better fit for your cooking and more comfortable (lighter) than a big one. (It doesn't have legs, does it?) Since you already have two, a third might seem a luxury - unless you decide to part with one of the larger ones...

      1 Reply
      1. re: John Francis

        I wouldn't part with the others - I love them. One is a 5 qt, and one is a beautiful white oval 6 qt. They are staying. :-)
        And no, they don't have legs. But I do have 2 camping DO's, with legs. I don't use them except for camping...the legs are a pain in the oven.

      2. I use my 3qt every now and then since I just cook for 2 people. I usually use it for braised dishes that I've cut down to 2 servings.

        1. 3 quats will be useful if you like to cook frequently and it is good for 1-2 person. If you like to cook with a healthy amount of left over, then it is not that useful.

          1 Reply
          1. First cookpot I ever bought was a 3-qt DO at a hardware store in Sonora, CA just before my GF and I took off on a camping road trip to Oregon. Its baptism was a batch of Armenian-style lamb stew cooked on a campground grill over a wood fire near Mendocino. It was even better reheated in Coos Bay. It'll never be properly seasoned because it's always been used for chili and similar stuff. It's perfect for small batches of Italian sausage with onions and peppers, or for braising a small pork butt roast, or pot of beans. I have a couple of bigger ones, but this is still my go-to pot. I do have some enamelled-iron ones I use more for acidic stuff, just because They Say you're supposed to, but all that chili and sauerkraut done in the plain pot tasted just fine to us.