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As the name suggests, the dutch oven comes from the Netherlands. Thought to date back to the 17th century, this style of cooking pot was inspired by the thick-walled brass pots made in Europe. Cast iron became the metal of choice for the dutch oven, with many models still being made from it.
The dutch oven is a superbly versatile item of cookware, often used for cooking on open fires but also suitable for stove top and oven cooking too. Their considerable volume and robust design make them useful for cooking in quantity at family gatherings and celebrations. Their rustic appearance makes them an attractive addition to the dining table – especially if you’re eating al fresco.
In the home, with their sturdy bases, they are an excellent tool for browning meat, including larger joints and whole birds, thanks to their large size. With the addition of their snugly fitting lid, they allow you to braise, stew or boil their contents and are most often used for dishes that require long, slow cooking.
There are also lighter ceramic dutch oven options, and though these don't get quite as hot, they offer a wonderfully generous size for mass catering slow-cooked favourites. Often featuring an enamel coating, they still brown meat effectively, and they have the benefit of being more non-stick and easier to clean up.