A cooking vessel consisting of a large heavy pot with a tightly fitting lid, considered by some to be a casserole dish with a lid. The early era versions of this pot contained side handles formed as extended brackets from the heavy cast iron metal, most often produced in Holland where the casting process for these ovens originated. The lid of the early Dutch Oven was shaped to hold hot coals that enabled the top area to continually heat and bake the enclosed contents, such as bread, biscuits, meats for stews. The Dutch Ovens were placed into the fire, the fireplace with logs, or adjacent to a hot fire in order to cook the foods being prepared.
Today, the name "Dutch Oven" continues to refer to a large heavy metal pot with a lid, which may be made from cast iron or other types of metals. Traditional sizes hold 7 to 8 quarts to be used for braising and stewing meats or vegetables, both on the stovetop or in the oven. In addition to meats and stews, Dutch Ovens can be used to cook rice, various grains, potatoes, and fried foods, such as fried potatoes. Other names commonly used for this kitchen utensil include: casserole, Dutch Oven pot, French oven, round oven, stockpot, and flame-proof casserole pan.