Romertopf clay pots--what's the word?
- Marsha Nov 11, 2005 11:40 AM
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
I got rid of my Romertopf many years ago. It's not that it didn't do a good job cooking things, in fact I remember producing some quite nice whole roast chickens with vegetables and wine. But, since the clay is porous, it quickly became heavily stained inside from cooking with the wine, tomato, beef broth, etc. and chicken skin would bake onto the sides of the pot and be very hard to remove, even with much soaking and scrubbing with the special scrubber they sell with it.
You can't use any soap to clean the pot, so it's very difficult to remove the tell-tale food odors that are drawn deep inside the pores of the clay during cooking. I couldn't seem to get it clean enough to suit me, which finally turned me off from using it. The mystique of clay pot cooking intrigued me at first, too but IMO it didn't really live up to its hype. I love my Le Crueset dutch oven and agree with others that they cook just as well and are far more useful.
In the winter out comes my Romentopf. I love it and so does my family. It is the best way to a one pot healthy meal, no added fat and the moistest most delicious meals I've ever had.
I make tons of things in there an have for many years.
Organic chicken, turkey...add chicken broth with root veggies, a whole head of garlic, some herbs, cover and let cook , done in one hour and a one pot meal. Your kitchen will smell so wonderful.
Risottos come out great in there. Seafood stews. Paella.
It is the best pot in the world, i don't care if you have to soak it for 10 minutes before, or if it darkens with use. I find everything I make in there exceptional.
Make an investment and resolution to eat healthier with a Romentopf.
I bought my Romertoph purposely to bake no knead bread in as you need a covered pot for this and it's like a clay oven, fantastic. After that I wanted to use it more so we cooked chicken with taters, carrots, onion and lots of garlic and it was very good. Last night I made a turkey breast in it and got raves about how moist it was. I have the 3 qt so had to cut the back of the breast bone out. I'm thinking of getting the larger one as I love my veggies cooked with the meat. I am also a big bread baker and as mentioned, the bread come the best, like a clay oven! Rob