What cooks beautifully in a La Chamba clay casserole?
Fell in love with this lightweight item at Williams-Sonoma. Haven't bought it. Yet.
Buy or borrow Paula Wolfert's Clay Pot cookbook. I believe she also has a web site, and has been interviewed on The Splendid Table.
I have a La Chamba piece that is more like a big round lower-sided baker. (No lid.) I use it for lots of things, but my favorite dish I make in it is a killer potato gratin.
I cook everything in my La Chamba. I have a blog full of recipes I make in Clay pots. creativeclaycooking.com
Paula Wolfert's book is Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking is wonderful. She has a good section on La Chamba as well.
You might want to look for a Fair Trade Store that sells the clay cookware from La Chamba. They will likely have a wider selection of sizes and shapes. Plus its an ethical way to shop.
Yes I do have first hand reservations about Williams Sonoma's methods. Large retailers rarely have the ethics to act responsively and knowledgeably to the sensitivities of artist communities, particularly over time.
A William Sonoma representative once asked me... How much would we have to buy of La Chamba to take over the full production of the village? Luckily for the community of La Chamba this was not a possibility and a sad monopoly oriented and anti Fair Trade question to ask. Price, verses quality and ethics, seem to be the William Sonoma's buyers main goal.
From what I have seen at WS, the quality is good and I know the artists involved.
I would recommend buying from most any other Chamba retailer mainly because smaller boutique retailers will be important to helping support this very fine tradition of earthenware long term and they usually carry a larger collection of shapes and sizes.
Rarely do I see a low quality piece of La Chamba in the US market. Most every piece that is on the US market today is export quality - meaning a higher level of burnish and a better finish for cooking. I have only once seen lower quality bowls in the US, at a bodega in Queens, NY and they were fine for cooking as well.
Where do you live? Maybe I know of stores in your area.