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These days, manufacturers are calling just about any large pot with a tight-fitting lid a Dutch oven. Cast iron is the way to go, though, and a 5- to 6-quart model is just the right size for everyday and casual entertaining. Here, a few of our favorite models. (Psst: they make great holiday gifts.)
Le Creuset Raymond Loewy Coquelle This magnificent 5-quart mid-century limited-edition vessel has all the attributes of its round and oval cousins. $375; lecreuset.com
Staub 5.5-qt. Round Cocotte The black enamel coating of this French Alsatian classic model won’t stain. $284.99; zwillingonline.com
Tramontina 5.5-qt. Dutch Oven The price is right for this sturdy enameled cast-iron version available in many retail stores. $99.99; target.com
Lodge Dutch Oven with Loop Handles Skip the enamel and stick with seasoned cast iron (just like the skillets) for an affordable, American-made option. $60; lodgemfg.com
Got a Dutch oven and wanna start cooking? Here are a few foolproof recipes: