What is So Great About Cooking In a Clay Pot?
I haven't had much experience cooking in clay pots but since working with Bill Marback of Romertopf Clay Bakers, I plan to do a lot more. Here is a cooking style that allows for cooking just about anything you like slowly and gently while retaining the juices and flavor.
Did you know Clay Pot cooking goes back thousands of years and was used by most of the early civilizations including the Etruscans, Romans, and Chinese. You can find a variety of sizes and shapes of clay pots based on ancient designs still being used in Spain, France, & North Africa.
Today, clay pots and one-pot cookery is making a comeback in the US and home cooks like us are rediscovering how easy they are to use and love the results they are getting.
How do they work?
According to the Romertopf web site, "As a porous material, the clay in a pot that has been saturated with water slowly releases steam from its pores during the cooking process. Juices released by the food as it cooks cannot escape from the pot. This seals in flavor and keeps food from drying out, without the need to add extra fats or liquids. Along with the flavor, essential nutrients and vitamins are retained in the food."
What are the advantages of cooking in clay pots?
- More juicy and flavorful when cooking meats and poultry
- Crispier crusts when baking breads
- Prevents ingredients from drying out
- Meats can be trimmed of fat
- Chicken can be cooked without the skin
- No need for basting
- One-pot meals - chicken or meat can be cooked with rice or potatoes and vegetables together
What type of clay pot should you buy for cooking at home?
This will depend on what you plan to cook. Romertopf Clay Pots, conceived by Bay Keramik in 1966, is one of the most popular brands of unglazed clay pots available. They have a wide range of pots for cooking just about anything and come every size and shape imaginable.
The classic Romertopf clay pot is rectangular in shape with deep sides and a domed top but and comes in sizes that can handle 4 to 14 pounds. They also make a selection of Bread Bakers, Garlic Roasters, Chili Bowls, Utensil Holders and more.
How To Use a Clay Pot?
According to Bill Marbach,
- Soak clay baker in water for 10 to 20 minutes. Completely immerse both top and bottom.
- Place food in baker and it is ready to go in the oven. All the ingredients for a complete meal can be placed in one baker.
- Place your baker in a cold oven. Set the correct temperature and let the oven and baker heat up gradually.
- When serving your meal, enhance the decor by leaving it in the handsomely embossed terra-cotta baker.
- Remember to avoid sudden temperature changes. When removing your baker from the over after baking, keep it off of cold surfaces.
- Where can you find classic Romertopf Clay Bakers?
There are a number of major cookware outlets that sell Clay Bakers. I suggest you take a look at Amazon.com. There you will find a large assortment of clay bakers in all sizes and shapes as well as clay pot cookbooks and accessories.
One of my favorite sizes is the Romertopf 4-Quart Baker with a 14 pound capacity.
Where can you find Clay One-Pot Recipes?
I highly suggest you take a look at The Cook's Encyclopedia of One-Pot & Clay-Pot Cooking. My sister-in-law gave me a copy for Christmas one year and the recipes are fantastic. Not too difficult and filled with great tips, the recipes I made from this book were delicious.
I also just posted a fun clay pot recipe for Clay Pot Beef with Red Peppers. Check it out if you have a moment.
If you are looking for an alternative cooking method that's both natural and healthy, you'll want to explore the world of one-pot clay cooking.
onlinesources: Clay Pot Cookwares
There are lots of sources for purchasing top Clay Pot Cookware and I suggest you check out your local department stores and kitchen supply shops.