A Dutch Oven
Le Creuset's French oven ($360) is a classic among chefs and home cooks, thanks to incredible heat retention and a porcelain coating that holds up against acid, odors and stains. It's the ultimate piece of cookware for whipping up everything from soups to casseroles and works just as well on the stove as it does in the oven, making it incredibly versatile.
Tip: Browse discount stores like TJ Maxx, Homegoods, and Ross for steep discounts from other stand-out brands like Cuisinart. I scored one for $60 at TJ Maxx!