Cooking in a clay pot is like having a speciality brick oven inside your regular oven. The clay pot conducts heat well and holds the temperature for even cooking. You can use a speciality clay roasting pot from a cooking supply store, or go to the garden centre for an unglazed terracotta flower pot and drip saucer. Place your ingredients on the drip saucer, and turn the pot upside-down to use as a cover. Used properly, a clay vessel will roast chicken, turkey, beef, pork or any other meat to perfection.
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Things you need
- Unglazed clay pot
Clean your clay cooking vessel just before using it. Scrub with a gentle nylon scrub brush and hot water. This will ensure any clay dust is removed before cooking. Submerge and soak your clay pot in water for 15 minutes before each use.
Bring your roast and ingredients to room temperature. Prepare your roast as usual and place it in the clay pot with any liquids, vegetables or other ingredients you use. Other than dry spices, you will not be able to add ingredients to the pot once it gets hot, because adding a cooler ingredient can cause temperature shock and make the pot crack.
Insert a probe thermometer into the roast. Cover the roast and put the clay pot in a cool oven. Set the oven for 37.8 degrees C higher than the recipe usually calls for.
Allow it to cook, undisturbed, until the thermometer reads -12.2 degrees C less than you want the finished meat to be.
Remove the clay pot from the oven and place it on your stove burners (burners off), on a trivet or on a thick, folded towel. Do not place it on a cool surface, such as a counter or the sink, as this can cause cracking from temperature shock.
Turn off the oven. Uncover the roast and place the clay pot cover in the oven to cool down with it. Allow the roast to sit 10 to 20 minutes as carry-over heat completes the cooking process.
Remove the roast and serve on a platter. Allow the clay pot to cool to room temperature before cleaning and storing it.
Tips and warnings
- Clay pots get very hot. Use well-padded mitts or gloves when handling them after cooking.
- Only cook in unglazed pots from a garden centre, as some flower pot glazes are poisonous and could leach into your food.
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