Covered Clay Baker (Schlemmertopf) queery.
In the food section of my local newspaper, there was a recipe submitted by the chef who is sponsored by a supermarket. It was a recipe for a chicken in the pot, to be baked in one of those clay bakers that you soak in water first. It sounded simple and tasty, and fun to prepare. Guess I'm impulsive, because today I went out and purchased one of those bakers. In any event, I'm fairly certain that come Monday, I will be enjoying a wonderful dinner. My question is if anyone out there knows of some fabu recipes for these type of bakers, or a great clay baker cookbook, I would be very happy to hear.
Any recipe that can be cooked in a dutch oven, covered casserole, or crock pot can be cooked in a dutch oven. My favorite clay cooker recipe is the chicken marengo recipe in the old (1974 ed.) Joy of Cooking.
Weird note of caution: make sure the container in which you soak the lid is spotlessly clean. I have had off flavors imparted to my food if the dishpan I soaked my lid in wasn't free of all soap residue.
What a GREAT tip. Thank you so much. This is something that I would never have thought of. Once I had a strange baking experience which had never made any sense, until your posting. I make a very moist coconut quick bread that has always been reliable. One time I made it into 6 "Texas sized" muffins, and for some reason it had a faint, but definite taste of soap. We thought that the baking soda may have gone bad, or to be more paranoid, I even thought that perhaps this particular pan had a chemical reaction with the batter, hence a soapy taste. Now it all makes sense---keep the sink completely free of any soap residue.
About 20 years ago my in-laws gave me a gigantic French copper pan, of the sort they make fruit preserves in. Now, I do not make fruit preserves usually, and certainly not two gallons at a time, but here was this humongoid pan that I really had no use for...until I was looking for something to soak my clay cooker in (without having to use the whole damn sink). A-HAA!
That said, I am not totally enamoured of my Romertopf (the brand I have). I'm not convinced it does a better job of braising meats than my enamelled-iron pot, and the pot is totally UNfragile besides. I will try it with veges, however.
Country Style Spareribs (serves 2)
4 lbs. boneless country style spareribs, trim fat
8 carrots, peeled and slice in half- lengthwise
Mix together: 1/2 cup honey, 1 medium onion, chopped; Juice of one lemon, 2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, 1 Tbl. curry powder, 1 tsp. soy sauce, (1 tsp. arrowroot or cornstarch to thicken sauce before serving)
-Presoak clay pot in water for 15 minutes. Pour honey mixture over meat and carrots. Cover pot and place in cold oven. Set temperature to 480°F, cook 70 minutes. Remove from oven, pour off sauce into saucepan, bring to a simmer, add arrowroot and cook to thicken. Set carrots aside. Brown ribs without cover in clay pot for another 10 minutes. Serve with vegetables and the thickened honey sauce.
Chicken with Eggplant:
Presoak clay pot in water for 15 minutes, add 1 whole chicken; stuff cavity with 1/2 onion, bay leaf, 1 chopped carrot, 1/2 bunch of flat-leaf parsley, poultry seasoning and seasoned salt. Surround chicken with 1 eggplant, quartered; 1 can of stewed tomatoes, 1 tsp. thyme, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/2 onion, sliced. Cover.
Set in cold oven; set temperature to 480°F and cook for 70-80 minutes. Add sour cream to taste to the broth and serve on chicken and vegetables.
Enjoy your new clay pot! It's a wonderful way to cook.