Clay Pot Cassoulet in my Basque Faitout

Clay Pot Cassoulet. Made in my "Faitout" from the French Basque Region

Yum—big, fat, round sausages, tender country-style pork ribs, white beans, tomatoes, vermouth, and all sorts of good seasonings. But you know what made this particular take on Cassoulet even better? The Basque pottery in which it is cooked.

I ordered this pot (known as a faitout, which basically means “makes everything”) from European Market, an internet source for great European stuff purveyed by Chris and Sue Ellibee, who go on shopping trips all over Europe, bring back great things, and sell them at europeanmarket.us. I met the Ellibees when they both worked within the Better Homes and Gardens family of publications–Chris was a lifestyle editor, and Sue was an art director. Our paths crossed on many projects. Now, they’ve struck out on their own, and I love the stuff they find.

This Basque  pottery is kind of like those Romertopf clay bakers everyone bought in the late 70s and early 80s. But these Basque vessels are so much prettier. I also find them easier to use (you don’t have to soak them, as you do the Romertopfs). And I prefer the round shape and size.

But the idea is the same: The clay material keeps food moist while it cooks, resulting in richer, bolder flavors. One caveat: Like Romertopf and many casserole dishes, these can’t be used directly on the stove over high heat. They’re best for oven stews and braises.

Find this, and many other groovy items (like my cookbook, for instance) at europeanmarket.us.

P.S.: If you order this vessel, the Ellibees tuck in a copy of my Cassoulet recipe, adapted for this particular cookware. But if you don’t have this cookware, you can find the recipe for a traditional metal Dutch or French oven here.

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