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Nov 11, 2005 11:40 AM

Romertopf clay pots--what's the word?

  • m

For some reason, I feel the urge to investigate cooking in a clay pot (Romertopf or another brand, if there is such a thing), but I'd like some info first--are they worth the trouble? Are they hard to clean? What are the pros and cons? It seems they were all the rage many years ago, but I don't seem to see them in garage sales, so perhaps people still use and enjoy them. If so, I'd like to know why.

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  1. I have had my romertopf for at least 15 years and it was my moms before that. I love it and use it often especially in the winter. I make everything from basics like veggie ragouts, meatloaf and chicken to more complex recipes. One year I even made my Thanksgiving stuffing in it and it was wonderful. It is easy to clean (just hot water and a good scrubber NO SOAP). You did need to soak it in water first and start with a cold oven (which I find adds time to any recipe you adapt for the pot).

    Is it a must for every kitchen? No but if you have the space for another pot I say go for it. You won't be disappointed.

    3 Replies
    1. re: foodiex2

      Can you provide some simple recipes and suggestions?

      1. re: Chi-girl

        I got started using the book that came with the pot and then took off from there. Here is a link to their site so you can see a few. My favorite dish is meatloaf. It comes out so moist!

        I first put the pot in the sink and start it soaking before I get started. I then make a basic meatloaf using a blend of pork, beef and veal, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, tomato paste, horseradish, freshly grated parm and shredded mozzarella. Mix together with your hands until well blended but try not to overwork. Put loaf aside. Wash, scrub and thickly slice 2-3 russet potatoes. At this time the pot should have been soaking for at least 15 minuted if not let it soak a little longer. Line the bottom and sides of the pot with the potatoes and then place meatloaf directly on top of them. I then like to squiggle some hot chili paste on the top. Cover and place in cold oven. Set oven at 475 and cook for 45 minutes to an hour depending on size. Uncover and cook until the meatloaf is brown and crispy in top (about 5-10 minutes more). Serve with the potatoes and a green salad.


        1. re: Chi-girl

          I've had the Romertopf since 1971 and love it - mostly in the winter months, when it's cold and rainy and the oven warms the kitchen.

          Country Style Spareribs in Honey Sauce - serves 2
          3 to 4 lbs. of country style spareribs, trimmed of fat
          8 carrots, peeled and sliced
          1 medium onion, chopped
          1/2 cup honey
          juice of one lemon
          1 Tbl. curry powder
          2 tsp. salt (I use one tsp. of salt)
          1 tsp. soy sauce
          1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
          1 tsp. arrowroot
          presoak claypot in water for 15 minutes
          place the ribs in bottom of pot, scatter the carrots, onions on top. Mix the honey, lemon juice, soy sauce, seasonings and pour over the ribs and veggies. Cover. Place in cold oven. Set temperature to 480°F. Cook for 70 minutes.

      2. I have one and it collects dust. Part of the issue is that it takes a really long time to cook anything in it. Usually, I get home from work and I want to eat in 45 minutes (including the prep time) and the Romertopfer needs more time than that. For me, I would rather poach to keep chicken moist and flavorful. I have a friend who loves it since his chicken always remains moist. If there are any ideas or suggestions out there, I'm all ears!

        1. I have both a Roemertoepf and a Schlemmertoepf. I used them for a couple of years, but I don't think they are worth the hassle *if* you have a quality oval French-oven a la Le Creuset. You cannot use them over direct flame, hence their functionality is limited. But, lacking a good pot like Le Creuset, the claypot shape can be handy to fit a chicken properly as compared to an ordinary round steel pot.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Karl S.

            Ye gods, I'm getting confused here. I went to the clay pot web site and found a recipe that calls for stir-frying in the pot: "Chop chicken into bite-sized pieces. Dry with kitchen paper. Place a claypot over high heat for one minute, add oil and when smoking, add oil and when smoking, add ginger, garlic and shallots. Stir-fry with a pair of chopsticks (or tongs if you don't have chopsticks) for one minute till fragrant." Also, some chef from the Slanted Door gave a similar recipe, which is part of why I posted my question in the first place. How on earth do you put clay over direct heat and not live to regret it? Are they toying with us, or are some pots able to do this?

            1. re: Marsha

              It varies by maker. I first got a Schlemmertoepf, and IIRC that one could not be used directly over flame; perhaps I never noticed if the Roemertoepf could, cuz I just assumed it could not. The ability to use earthenware over flame is highly variable, and should never be assumed.

              I have a lovely small clay pot that I can use over flame (I use it for rice), but most of mine cannot.

              1. re: Marsha

                Wow, you're right. I don't know if the pots have changed or just the instructions! Traditional (cheap) Asian clay pots are used that way. I don't know that I'd try it with my expensive German one. Which I do like, and am reminded to haul it out soon. I make veg/meat hotpot sort of stuff in it, throw everyting in and walk off while it cooks.

            2. I've had a Romertopf for years now and love it. My favorite thing to do in there is beef short ribs and sauerkraut, which is something I learned from my folks but have adapted to my tastes. They just dump in a jar of good quality sauerkraut (drained) and some seasoned beef short ribs and stick it in the oven for a few hours. I prefer to brown the ribs first on the stovetop, and then put them in the Romertopf. And add a couple of juniper berries and black peppercorns to the sauerkraut too. Sure it's an extra step, but well worth the effort IMO.

              Yeah, you can't really do quick things with a Romertopf. And you have to soak it and start in a cool oven. So probably not the most convenient form of cooking. But I don't mind the fuss with the payoff of a tasty meal! It's my idea of a hearty winter Sunday dinner. Hm... maybe that's what I'll do this weekend!

              1. n
                nearsighted lady

                I received my Roemertopf as a gift in the early 80's, which may be when clay pots last enjoyed their 15 minutes of fame and popularity. I used to use mine more often than I do now, but every now and then I take it out and cook in it - usually various chicken recipes - and am pleased with the results.

                The cooking technique in the pamphlet that came with the pot required placing it in a cold oven to start. A few years later, I learned that you can also use it very satisfactorily in a microwave. About 30 minutes will do it for a chicken.