Can I cook for two in a 5-quart Dutch oven?
Yes, while Glorious One-Pot Meals work best when they are filled to the brim with food, you certainly can use a larger Dutch oven to prepare a smaller amount of food. You just need to realize that some things will change and it won’t be as effortless as it would be if you were following the “1-quart-per-person” guideline for pot size.
When using a Dutch oven that is too large for the amount of food you’re preparing, you will have “dead air space” in your pot. This may or may not affect your cooking time, and in some cases, your meal may be a bit dried out. You will really have to follow your nose to know when dinner is ready. The more you get to know your pot and how things work in it, the easier this will get.
Additionally, I find I experience “over-enthusiastic vegetable preparation” — I include way too many veggies and have leftovers composed entirely of veggies but no protein. This may not be an issue for everyone.
So, using a larger Dutch oven will affect your cooking time, the quality of the meal, and you will have to pay more attention to the amounts of the veggies you include. Otherwise, you’re good to go!