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Also known as a French oven or cocotte, the cast-iron Dutch oven was originally designed to replicate the encompassing heat of oven cooking, so it could be used by pioneers who were camping out on the frontier during the late 1800s. It has stood the test of time and is still made from cast-iron today, though for ease of maintenance, it is sometimes enameled. Dutch oven cooking has endured so long for a reason. With the gradual, even heating of this type of cookware, and its ability to retain heat for long stretches of time, there's nothing like it for slow-cooked dishes like stews and roasts. Even the toughest cuts of meat are rendered fork-tender. The heavy, tight-fitting lid that typically accompanies a Dutch oven helps lock in moisture and flavor. It sends moisture back into the pot, braising your food, so you'll never have to face a dried-out stew again. Try one for all your slow-cooked meals, like chicken cacciatore, coq au vin, pot roast, and yes, beef stew.