Earth colours and flavours

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These earthenware cazuelas are definitely part of my essential kitchen equipment, well worn, chipped and some slightly cracked, they are used almost every day.  As soon as one of these dishes begins to heat up on the hob or in the oven a characteristic earthy smell fills the kitchen and I’m sure that they add flavour to anything that is cooked in them.  They are widely available in markets and shops here and over the border in Catalunya and Spain, sold with varying advice on how to treat them to make them last ‘for ever’.  I don’t believe that they do last for ever, but they aren’t expensive so if one does crack too badly it can be replaced.  When they’re new they should be soaked for an hour or so in water before use, but after that I find that so long as they are heated slowly, on a low flame to start with if used for cooking on gas, they last for years.

I used one today to make a chorizo, pumpkin and haricot bean stew – very simply, with tinned beans added near the end of the cooking time when the pumpkin was done.

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9 thoughts on “Earth colours and flavours

  1. I love them, they are really good to cook with – I had a few when I lived in Barcelona. My flat mate from Ecuador insisted that one should rub the bottom of a new one with raw garlic and heat it gently until the glaze (inside) started to crack slightly. I’ve no idea if that’s really what one should do, but I never had any problems after doing that😉

  2. I love cooking in cazuelas and other clay cookware. My various sized cazuelas get the most use, but I also have a Chamba pot that I make most of my soups in, plus a chicken shaped Chamba bean pot and a Chamba roasting pan/skillet. And I have a Vulcania bean pot that is also great for making risotto and farrotto. Oh, and I also have a terra cotta tagine. Hmm, I think that’s most of the collection… I do love my clay cooking pots!

  3. Me too – I have loads of all shaopes and sizes (but not all those wonderful colours that you seem to have) and like Mad Dog I rub their bottoms (excuse me!) with garlic and it does seem to make them last. In fact, my only losses have been through dropping them rather than having them crack. They do add something special to the flavour and I love what you cooked up today!

  4. There must be something about cooking in earthenware because many cultures use them. Just the other day, I watched an Italian chef on television prepare a recipe in what could be described as Abruzzo’s version of your cazuela. Now I wish I had paid closer attention to its name. No matter the name, if one will help me to create a dish as enticing as yours here, I’m going to start collecting them.

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