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There are certain dishes that benefit as much from their cooking vessel as their ingredients, like a casserole that your grandmother made only in her mother’s dish or a simple roast chicken made moist and delicious from the clay pot it’s cooked in. Like cast iron, clay cookware is durable, maintains an even heat, and helps your food retain moisture. But a reliable source is surprisingly hard to find—many clay pots contain lead, rendering them unsuitable to cook with. Through my research for our Mexico issue, I discovered Mexico by Hand, a website that sells handmade textiles and crafts from contemporary Mexican artisans. They offer a stunning variety of food-safe clay cookware, from traditional ollas and cazuelas to plates of all sizes. Each handmade, hand-painted piece is perfectly suited to become that dish in your collection that makes everything you cook in it simply delicious.
6-quart Cazueula con Tapa, $56 at Bram Cookware