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May 9, 2013 07:10 AM

Between two Cazuelas

I came across two similar, lidded cazuelas at TK Maxx and couldn't determine on the spot which shape was more preferable. So I brought them both home. However, kitchen space is an issue and I cook for two most of the time so I'm having a hard time justifying keeping both. To those of you who are more experienced, which shape is the most versatile?

taller and narrower: 9" x 4" or 23cm x 10cm
shorter and wider: 10" x 2.5" or 25cm x 7cm

After some quick research, I think the ones I bought are so-called Spanish Terracotta 'Gres.' They're glazed brown inside, glazed beige on the outside and the bottom is unglazed terracotta.

I understand they're primarily used in Spanish and South American cuisine but are adaptable to other earthenware preparations. Paula Wolfert mentions them and I plan to import her highly recommended 'Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking' after I cook my way through The Food of Morocco which I bought last week.

If you have further suggestions I'd really appreciate it. Thanks all!

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    1. re: rasputina

      Thanks rasputina! So surface area > height.

      Do you have any recipes/books/authors to recommend?

      There's little info on the forum about cazuelas so I've been reading elsewhere. I know I need to soak it overnight before first use and I know I need to very, very slowly heat it up. My understanding is that electric stovetops require burner covers but I have a gas range so I should be okay.

      I'm feeling cautious because this is my first earthenware purchase...

      1. re: lagom

        Like you I love Paula Wolfert. I have both the cookbooks you mentioned.

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. I don't know if there is a strong reason to choose one over the other.

        I've had a smaller (about 8") one for several years, and just bought one like your wider one from CostPlusWorldMarket

        Overall volume of the one I got is 8-9 cups. I've cooked a couple of things in it, using a butane hot plate.

        The bottom of the taller one will heat more evenly. The wider one has more surface area for frying, but this isn't a fry pan. It's fine for a gentle saute of onions at the beginning, but most of the cooking (with either) is braising or stewing (especially since they are lidded).

        1 Reply
        1. re: paulj

          Hi paulj,

          Right. When I was looking at them at the store I was thinking of the shape of my dutch oven since this is mainly a braising/stewing vessel.

          Rasputina favors the wider version and you also ended up buying one so I think I'll keep that one.

          If I had more space I would like to keep both. Alas.

        2. Molly Stevens' "All About Braising" would be another useful book to pick up, as would something like Penelope Casas' "Delicioso: The Regional Cooking of Spain."

          Also, have a look at this site:

          1 Reply
          1. re: VitalForce

            Hi VitalForce,

            So this is the moment to finally get with the Molly Stevens program. I did not know about Penelope Casas. Another one to hunt down.

            That website has a great page of recommended cookbooks! Thank you!

            1. re: paulj


              Great links! I bookmarked the fish and potato stew recipe and am looking forward to cooking clams for the first time.

              Janet Mendel is now also on my radar. Many thanks!