I've been lurking on Chowhound for a while and have taken advantage of oodles of good advice provided here. I'm wondering if folks might be able to give me their opinion on the single-most usefully sized piece of enameled cast iron cookware?
I'm replacing old, dying, nonstick pots (on a budget), and I need one more, but I haven't a clue what to get. I've been poking through Molly Stevens's All About Braising, and she recommends a 5-6-qt dutch oven, but then whole slew of recipes suggest a 3-4-qt braiser (as well as other sizes).
I already have a standard 12" skillet, too many small pans and pots, and one 4-quart round Descoware dutch oven, and recently bought one 9-quart round Le Creuset dutch oven so I can continue to make soup in extraordinary quantities.
I can purchase one more pot, and I need that one pot to do everything the 4- and 9-quart pots can't, especially braise its way through this braising book. (I've never been able to braise, and damn it, I'm determined to get it right.) I'd also like to bake no-knead bread and use it for medium-sized soups and dishes, if possible, so I was originally considering a dutch oven in a size between the two I have, but I've read a lot about the advantages of braisers, and now I'm not sure what to do. My 9-qt is too big for general recipes, I'm not sure if the 4-qt is big enough, and although a lot of people recommend that if you can only buy one piece, buy a 5/5.5-qt, I don't know if that would be different enough from the 4-qt to be advantageous. My brain is starting to hurt.
So I'm wondering if you had to choose one all-purpose piece (preferably to go with a 4-qt and 9-qt), what style would it be and what size?
ETA: Sorry, I forgot to mention: I'm cooking for 2, but we eat like 4 and like leftovers (hence the soup in extraordinary quantities), so anything smaller than 4-qt is silly for us. I'm hoping to be able to make standard recipes, which tend toward 4-6 servings. Food-wise, we're all about easy and unfancy: inexpensive meats (both cuts and whole) and lots of veggies. Thanks again.