Romertopf clay pot
Hi - I just found my very old Romertopf clay pot in the garage. I remember that both top and bottom must be soaked in water for 15 minutes before using and that it has to go into a cold oven, but I have no idea what I used to make in it. Does anybody still use one? What is it particularly good for?
Decades ago, I used mine for roast chicken and vegetables and I also baked bread in it. I recall potatoes were very nice in a clay pot.
I had two. One I used only for fish/seafood the other for chicken/wild birds. They were great! Can't recall what happened to them. I'd soak yours with a teaspoon in white vinegar for a few hours. Fifteen minutes may not be enough time for the clay to absorb enough water.
I have several clay pots (various brands) and love them in the winter time when I can use my oven to help keep the house warm, and I can put something (raw) into the cold oven and have it braised and slightly browned without any hands on attention. It usually takes an hour plus, but I can put my feet up and read the paper while dinner makes itself.
The classic recipe is a whole chicken with some pot vegetables/potatoes/sweet potatoes/herbs. Soak pot well, season chicken to taste, strew vegies around sides, add about 1/2 cup liquid (wine or water or stock or whatever). Put in cold oven and turn on to 425. Usually takes about 1 1/4 hours, depending on the size of the bird.
That said, this is not my favorite way to cook chicken, although it comes out moist and flavorful, and the vegies are delish. The skin doesn't get real crisp this way, but it is a good way to make chicken that will get re-purposed into other dishes later.
What I do love, and do by preference, is pot roast, braised beef short ribs, chili colorado, paprikash. I have adapted my old standby recipes to do them in the clay cooker (usually by reducing the braising liquid and eliminating the browning steps).
Here is an unusual use of the clay pot that I adapted from a book called Claypot Cookery by Consumer Reports that I think is out of print. If your pot isn't glazed on the inside, you might want to line the bottom with some parchment paper.
Claypot Curried Salmon Steaks
2 salmon steaks (about 1 lb.)
1 T. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. curry powder
1/4 t. paprika
4 new potatoes, cut into 1/4 in. slices
2 T. butter, melted
1 T. lemon juice
2 t. mustard seeds, coarsely crushed
Thinly sliced green onions
Chutney, if desired
Soak clay cooker 15 minutes.
Wipe salmon steaks with damp paper towel. Coat with a mixture of flour, salt, curry powder,
and paprika. Place in cooker. Arrange potatoes, standing on edge, around salmon. Mix
butter, lemon juice, and mustard seeds, drizzle over salmon and potatoes.
Place covered cooker in cold oven. Set oven at 450°. Bake until salmon is firm and
potatoes are tender, about 35 minutes. Remove cover, bake until salmon is brown, about
Drizzle salmon and potatoes with cooking liquid, sprinkle with green onions. Serve with
chutney, if desired.
I use mine to store bread in. Living alone it takes me a while to go through a loaf of bread. When I buy a nice loaf of crusty sourdough if I left it in the paper bag as recommended it would be dry in a couple of days, and putting it in plastic softens the crust. Storing the bread in my Romertopf keeps it from drying as quickly as in a paper bag and while the crust isn't as nice as when first purchased it's a damn sight better than if I stored it in a plastic bag. It's a nice compromise that lets me have my bread and eat it too.
I believe Romertopf even marketed some bread storage pots.
Chicken with crispy potatoes! I line the bottom and sides with rounds of sliced potatoes, add a well seasoned whole chicken and cook for hour/hour and half or so depending on the size of the bird. Take the lid off and let cook a little longer until the skin is crisp. I love how the potatoes come out tender on one side and extra crispy on the other.
That method also works really well with meatloaf. Even better is to make the loaf with low fat ground turkey as the base since the clay pot keeps the meatloaf very moist. Sweet potatoes with this is a really good as the caramelize wonderfully.
Basically anything you would braise works really well in it.
regarding the Chicken and Potatoes -that is pretty much what I do.
As a matter of fact we had one of those Oven stuffer roasters/good size Chicken today, done in a Römertopf. I place the Chicken on top of a few Carrots and add Potatoes in slices around the bird. The potatoes get nicely crispy and tender as you said. We love it!
I never take the lid off, but I can see how this might work. I do find that the skin actually does crisp up a bit without opening the lid. ( I did rub the bird with some Paprika and Salt before popping into the oven )