Thursday, September 27, 2012

Shallow Cazuelas

Shallow cazuela
Spanish cazuelas are well known for their cooking capabilities, terracotta is after all great cookware but given the numerous shapes, sizes and designs the Spanish cazuela comes in it is worth keeping the cazuela in mind for not just cooking but also serving.

Shallow cazuelas or 'super planas' (super flat) are suited to a number of tasks, hold one in your hands (especially if you have an outdoor clay oven) and 'pizza' will spring to mind almost immediately! The super plana cazuela boasts all the characteristics of any other terracotta cookware item, it needs to be looked after the same way (see 'seasoning a cazuela), it can withstand heat from all the usual sources from the gas hob to the open fire, but bring one of these cazuelas to the table and you have a typically Spanish and very rustic way of serving your food.

One characteristic the super plana cazuela has, is its thickness especially larger more heavyweight examples. The finish on these pieces is also more on the rustic side with a textured glaze so you wont find any 'perfectly finished' glaze on this terracotta which all adds to the charm. Sizes vary from the smaller 17cm cazuela up to the big examples reaching over 40cm, the latter being weighty, substantial pieces of terracotta.

Pictured above is barbequed chicken, but racks of ribs, sliced butterflied lamb, escalivada, pork and a whole host of other oven cooked or barbequed meats and vegetables can look fantastic on this terracotta.

To find out more click here

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Spanish Terracotta Casserole

Spanish Terracotta Casserole
Spanish terracotta casseroles come in a rather large range of shapes and sizes, pictured left is something new we just had to try and see how it performed in the kitchen. You can already find a more traditionally shaped terracotta casserole on your terracotta page here but with this particular model offering more volume we thought it would be worth investigating further.

This casserole is actually the baby brother in the range, at 3ltr capacity however it is by no means small and will certainly serve 5 - 6 people with a hearty winter lamb stew which is what we cooked here. Although this particular casserole is quite large it will however fit in a standard sized domestic sink to soak overnight (preferably) which is essential prior to use (the lid also needs to be immersed in water).

Having used this casserole for the first time to cook a stew for 4 people we can honestly say that it performs very well indeed. Our particular lamb 'hotpot' was slow cooked in the oven although as with all terracotta cookware it can also be used on the gas hob. The casserole is also easy to handle having two albeit small but practical handles on each side which makes removing from the hot oven very easy. The lid is also easily removed and as for aesthetics - this casserole boasts an element of style, a timeless design whilst remaining rustic enough to always remind you that it is a typically Spanish Mediterranean piece...

Spanish Lamb Hotpot Recipe

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Cazuela Meatballs

cazuela meatballs
There are quite a few Spanish recipes these days adopting 'Cazuela' in their title and why not? The cazuela is certainly one of the most frequently used items of terracotta cookware in the Spanish kitchen and in any case, for this recipe, 'Cazuela Meatballs' sounds a lot better than 'Frying Pan Meatballs'!

Spanish meatballs in tomato sauce is one of those recipes which can be served as a main meal or for tapas and absolutely must be cooked in a cazuela - its almost against the rules not to..! The beauty of this dish and the cazuela itself is that it can be cooked both indoors and out.

A good size cazuela for cooking Spanish meatballs is one of 23cm in diameter or slightly larger, this is because you need a certain amount of 'depth' to get those meatballs cooking in a piping hot tomato salsa. For serving, one of the best and most simple ways it simply to place the cazuela center of the table and let everyone dig in, don't forget the fresh crusty bread for mopping up that delicious tomato salsa!

Full Spanish Meatball recipe here.