A heavy covered casserole, a Dutch oven (aka daubière) is indispensable in a French kitchen. Certainly it was indispensable to me in my first Paris apartment. While we lived at a chic address in a ritzy neighborhood, our apartment came sans oven, as many apartments in old buildings in old Parisian neighborhoods still do. It was only then that I realized that a Dutch oven truly is an oven, albeit a small one. While I never baked in it, although ovenless French friends of mine did, I used it to roast chicken, beef, and vegetables and, of course, to make soups and stews, the dishes I pull it out for most often now that all my kitchens are fully equipped.