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Old 02-13-2009, 12:29 PM   #1
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What size dutch oven

What is a good size for a dutch oven? A dish (such as jambalaya or marinara & meatballs) that will serve 6 will be pretty typical.
It's just my husband & I so it's more likely we'd do smaller than larger dishes.
Also, dutch ovens can be used on stove or oven, correct? Are casserole dishes oven only?

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Old 02-13-2009, 12:34 PM   #2
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I have 4 cast iron Dutch ovens of various sizes, but if I could keep only one, I'd opt for 8 quarts. Better too big than too small. Even though you're cooking for only two most of the time, it's nice to make a big pot of stew or whatever and have leftovers. Also, you may want to use it to prepare something for company.

And yes, they can be used on either the stove or in the oven, whereas most casserole dishes, which are generally made of glass or ceramic, aren't intended for stove top use as they may crack from the direct heat.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:41 PM   #3
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Thank you.
If I got a bigger one, is it feasible to cook smaller dishes in it?
EG, if a baking or casserole dish is too big, the contents will heat too quickly.
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Old 02-13-2009, 12:42 PM   #4
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I'd probably go for a 5 to 6 quart size. Most are designed for both stove-top and oven use. Most casserole dishes are designed for oven use only.
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:01 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Vermin8 View Post
Thank you.
If I got a bigger one, is it feasible to cook smaller dishes in it?
EG, if a baking or casserole dish is too big, the contents will heat too quickly.
I misspoke -- my largest one is 7 quarts.

I wouldn't use it to cook a small quantity, but most recipes that I make in it fill it at least half way, and that's not been a problem. That said, I have to admit that I do use my 4- and 5-quart Dutch ovens more frequently.

One thing to remember -- they don't seal as well as your typical stainless pot, so you need to check now and then to be sure the food being cooked in it doesn't dry out. Also, most Dutch oven recipes that I make call for relatively low temperatures, 300 or 325, and long cooking times. I rarely use them on the stove top except for browning and sauteing before popping the assembled dish in the oven.

FWIW, I have both Le Creuset and Staub; I have a slight preference for the latter, but both are excellent. Lodge also makes great cast iron cookware, just not as fancy looking (or as expensive). Check Amazon for good prices on all three brands (especially with free shipping and no tax)
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:12 PM   #6
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Thanks, Finca, and thanks, Scotch, very good insights. It sounds like jambalaya isn't a good idea.
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:02 PM   #7
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Thanks, Finca, and thanks, Scotch, very good insights. It sounds like jambalaya isn't a good idea.
I've seen Guy Fieri cook jambalaya in a dutch oven a couple of times. Are you thinking pure cast iron or coated?
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:16 PM   #8
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I hadn't thought that far...I was thinking pure but is there an advantage to either?
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:19 PM   #9
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I hadn't thought that far...I was thinking pure but is there an advantage to either?
I think it's personal preference. The coated is being sold by all sorts of brand names with some celebrity name on it, like Paula Dean and Racheal Ray. Not my thing. I have a DO that's cast iron and 100 years old that I love. I would never trade it. I do so much with it, it's a six quart. I even make corn bread in it. It's great for just about everything.
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Old 02-13-2009, 02:24 PM   #10
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I think I'll go for the pure - it seems like coated is something that could chip and degrade and unless it enhances heat distribution - which doesn't make sense since cast iron is supposed to be one of the best.
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