Clay Pot Cookery
Clay pot cookery can be traced back thousands of years to the time of the ancient Etruscans and Romans. The Chinese have been using clay pots for possibly even longer. Gourmet chefs and food lovers today are rediscovering the savory results that come from cooking in unglazed natural clay pots.
The ability of clay cookware to retain heat so well allows for slow, gentle cooking. As a porous material, the clay in a pot that has been saturated with water slowly releases steam from its pores during the cooking process. Juices released by the food as it cooks cannot escape from the pot. This seals in flavor and keeps food from drying out, without the need to add extra fats or liquids. Along with the flavor, essential nutrients and vitamins are retained in the food.
Poultry, beef, lamb, and fish turn out tender, juicy and flavorful when cooked in clay pots.
Breads baked in clay form a crispy crust while remaining moist in the inside.
Popular clay pot vegetarian dishes include ratatouille, oven baked potatoes with herbs, and spinach lasagna. Chefs report a unique, rich flavor in dishes baked in clay pots.
Different types of clay cookware available include the clay baker, chicken roaster, and garlic roaster.
Cooking in clay pots requires some changes for chefs who are accustomed to cooking in metal. For example, baking temperatures typically need to be higher for clay pot cooking. Each type of clay cookware comes with a simple set of instructions for use and maintenance.