Though it is a somewhat convoluted tale, suffice it to say that the Dutch oven is not necessarily Dutch. Some speculators of history surmise the name stems from the fact that Abraham Darby—the Englishman who patented the lidded cooking vessel—produced the first Dutch oven after visiting the Netherlands and "observing" the Dutchmen's cookware casting methods. Others swear Dutch ovens first appeared in Holland more than 300 years ago.
Either way, we've been braising, boiling, frying, simmering, and sauteing in them ever since, and what has endured is the pot's all-around usefulness—both for indoor and outdoor cooking. There's almost nothing you can't cook in it, from a cake on a camping trip (trust us, it can be done in a cast-iron Dutch oven) to a slow-simmered stew on an autumn evening. Here are a few indoor-only dinnertime recipes for which you'll find a Dutch oven not only useful but indispenable.