Clay is a great material for cookware. It is porous, which means that you need to soak it in cold water for fifteen minutes before adding the ingredients to it. As the pot becomes heated in the oven, the steam evaporates slowly inside the pores of the clay and the food forms its own juices.
These juices stay inside the pot as steam until the food is cooked and the pot is dry. Meat cooked in a clay pot will stay really juicy. Wet clay does not heat up as much as metal so you need to use a higher temperature for clay pot recipes and cook them for longer.
100 degrees F more and half an hour more is a good guideline. If you usually cook chicken for an hour at 375 degrees F, you will need to cook it for an hour and a half at 475 degrees F if you are using a clay pot. Clay pots should always be put into a cold oven and heated up with the oven, to minimize the risk of cracking.
Cleaning a Clay Pot
Food does not stick to clay unless it is burnt on, so to clean your clay pot you just need to soak it in warm water, sprinkle salt over it, and use a stiff brush to scrub it. Rinse it and let it air-dry. Do not use detergents on it because it is porous and you cannot rinse them away properly.
For a very thorough cleaning, perhaps after using it to cook a strong-smelling fish, add a few tablespoons of baking powder to a bowl of hot water, and soak the pot in that. Clay pots are hardier than they might first appear to be and they survive many bumps and knocks. Store the lid next to the pot, rather than on it, in case the pot is not totally dry inside and mold forms.
An Easy Recipe for Clay Pot Citrus Chicken
What you will need:
3 1/2 lb whole chicken
1 minced clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Arrowroot, as required
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup orange juice
Salt and black pepper
How to make it:
Soak a clay pot and its lid in cold water for fifteen minutes. Peel and slice the orange and lime. Keep the rinds. Wash the chicken under running water, and then rub the garlic inside it, as well as some salt and pepper.
Stuff the chicken with the lime and orange slices, then add it to pot, breast down. Grate the lime rind and orange rind and sprinkle it over the bird. Add the lime juice, orange juice, ginger, allspice, soy sauce, and brown sugar to the clay pot and put the lid on.
Put it in a cold oven. Heat the oven up to 480 degrees F and cook the chicken for an hour and a half. Ten minutes before the end, take the chicken out of the oven and transfer the liquid into a pan.
Put the clay pot back in the oven, uncovered, to let the chicken brown. Bring the liquid to a boil and add arrowroot or cornstarch to thicken it. Add a little brown sugar too, if you like. Serve the chicken with the sauce and perhaps some mashed potatoes too.
Food blogs are full of handy cooking tips and, if you have a new piece of cookware such as a clay pot, you will be keen to experiment with new recipes for it. A recipe search by ingredient enables you to find the perfect dish.
RecipeDirectory.org Where the Web Searches for Recipe Sites