*  Exported from  MasterCook  *
                           CLAY POTS FOR COOKING
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 Serving Size  : 1    Preparation Time :0:00
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   Amount  Measure       Ingredient -- Preparation Method
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   It’s a great way to cook. I'd seen these Romertopfs at
   sales for years. One day, probably because picking
   were slim that particular day,
   I bought one++a nice big one that will hold a small
   turkey.  I had been missing out.  They aren't just fad
   items.  They produce excellent dishes. Meats cooked in
   'em don't  dry out.
   Clay is a porous material.  When the pot is saturated
   with water and put into the oven, there is a slow
   evaporation of steam from within the pores of the clay
   itself.  During the cooking process, the food forms
   its own juices.  These juices cannot escape until the
   pot is completely dry.
   Fortunately, when the pot becomes dry, the food is
   Because wet clay does not become as hot as metal, it
   is necessary to cook at a higher temperature than is
   usual, (450F rather than the customary 350F).
   However, in spite of this high temperature, the danger
   of burning is minimal and can only take place if the
   food is cooked for too long a period of time.
   As a general rule, if you add 100 degrees F. and 30
   minutes to the cooking time of any recipe, it can be
   adapted for use in a clay pot. For instance, if you
   normally cook a 3 pound chicken at 350F for 1 hour,
   you will need to cook it in a clay pot at 450F for 1
   1/2 hours.
   The manufacturers of clay pots recommend that they
   always be placed in a cold oven.  However, in an
   emergency, I have occasionally put the pot into a
   pre-heated 350F oven and it did not crack nor did the
   food come to any harm.  It is also possible to reheat
   food in a clay pot.
   Soak the lid in cold water for 10 minutes, cover the
   pot and pop it back into a 350F oven for 30 minutes.
   As you discover the almost miraculous results of
   cooking in clay, you will be using your pot with
   greater and greater frequency and it will quickly lose
   its brand new appearance.  Though the pot goes through
   a short period of adolescence when it looks slightly
   mottled, it eventually acquires a character of its own
   and you begin to find yourself less concerned about
   the odd blemishes which refuse to budge in spite of
   the most desperate scrubbing.
   The pot is, in fact, very easy to clean because food
   will not stick to the surface (unless, of course, you
   burn it on).  Simply let the pot cool after it has
   been taken from the oven and soak it in warm water for
   a few minutes.  Sprinkle the pot with salt and scour
   it with a stiff brush. Rinse the pot and let it drain
   until it is dry. (As clay is porous, it is not wise to
   clean it with detergents or scouring powder.)
   I have heard it said that you need a separate clay pot
   for cooking fish, but I have not found this to be so,
   in fact I have been unable to detect any lingering
   flavors or odors even after it has been used for the
   spiciest of recipes.  However if you do feel any
   concern over the matter, you can soak the pot in hot
   water adding three tablespoons of baking soda to each
   quart of water.  This will clean it very thoroughly
   and even small black scorch dots can be coaxed from
   the clay with the minimum of effort.
   Store the pot as you would any other utensil.  It is
   considerably less fragile than it appears, and unless
   you drop it on the floor, it will survive many
   accidental knocks and bumps without complaint.  Do
   take the precaution of storing the lid alongside,
   rather than on top of the pot. This eliminates the
   risk of the development of mold inside the pot in case
   it was not completely dry.
   From “Cooking in Clay” by Irena Chalmers, Potpourri
   Press, Greensboro N.C., 1974.
   Posted by Stephen Ceideberg; September 7 1993
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