How to Use & Care For Your Clay Baker
If you've just purchased or received a new clay pot and have no idea what to do with it, you're not alone. To get started, you may need suggestions for preparing savory and nutritious meals with your new clay cookware, as well as some places you can purchase clay pots if you're looking for a new way to cook or need a replacement.
Cooking with clay pots is a practice that has been around since Roman times; clay pots have the ability to keep food moist, flavorful, and free of excessive fat. In addition to Roman-style clay pots, there are Spanish, Moroccan, and Chinese versions of clay pots. These pots have slightly different styles, come in a variety of sizes, and can be used to cook entrees or roast small items like potatoes and garlic. Most clay pots are unglazed, and before you use your pot for the first time, you should soak it for at least half an hour, so that the moisture will be retained in the foods you cook. For subsequent uses, soaking the pot for about fifteen minutes should be fine. The majority of clay pots that you can purchase are for oven use, but there are some models that can be used on top of the stove and even on the grill-be sure to check the manufacturer's instructions for complete directions on how to cook with your new clay pot. Clay pots are even microwave-safe, but low settings are best. For cleaning, clay pots usually only need to be hand-washed with mild detergent.
Cooking meats is one of the main uses of the clay pot, but you should avoid cooking fish or meats with strong seasonings like pepper or curry for the first use of your pot, because it will take a while to get the taste out. Over time, clay pots will become seasoned and darken each time you cook with them. And, because of the pot's ability to keep food moist and savory while cooking, it is not necessary to add excessive seasonings, butter or salt to your food. And, because you don't have to add water to boil your food, your dish will retain all its nutritious qualities.
Recommended clay pot recipes include tuna steak, beef stew, chicken and rice, or even a dessert, like apple crisps. Vegetarian, baked pasta, or casserole dishes can be prepared in a clay pot as well; the crispness and color of vegetables will be retained throughout cooking, and casseroles are less likely to become dry when baked in a clay pot. There are clay cookware recipe books at most major book stores, and some pots even come with recipe ideas for you to try.
Click here for more recipes including Chicken Recipes and Fat Free Clay Pot Recipes.