A reader wrote in some time ago saying that our braising contest had gotten her thinking about oven-ware and wondered what we knew about braising in Chambaware, a product we'd blogged way back in 2004 when we barely knew how to blog. "They seem like a possible alternative and many things about La Chamba really intrigue me. They are made in Columbia by fair wage artisans from lead free clay and are nice looking pieces. The prices are good and the politics even better." That sounded right up our alley, so we put a Chambaware casserole ($41.00) through the paces of some braising. A pot that goes from stove top to oven to table with good politics to boot is irresistible to cookware junkies like us. We decided to braise some short ribs. The relatively small surface area in the medium pot made it difficult to squeeze in more than three ribs and since we were making six, we did the rest in a cast-iron pan. The ribs in the Chamba didn't get the same crust as those in the cast-iron, but the final product was comparable; nice, fall-off-the-bone meat and rich, deep flavors. Serving straight from the Chamba is a nice bonus. The pot is so beautiful, you almost don't want your meal to part with it. So for small-batch braises, we recommend the Chamba. Then we made soup. That's what this pot is really built for. We did a slow-cook Ajiaco (traditional Columbian chicken and potato soup) and found the Chamba pot to be perfect for the job, holding and distributing the heat beautifully, and making for a gorgeous presentation. Chamba casseroles and roasters, as well as their serving pieces and dinnerware are available from Toque Blanche.
The prices are nice: above from left to right, Soup and Stock Pots ($32.50 - $144), Rectangular Baking Pans ($32.50 - $62.00), Fish Roaster ($129), Sauté Pans ($17.50 - $39.95)