When you want a simple and healthy cooking method that imparts big flavor to your recipes, a clay roaster can deliver. Attractive enough to go from oven to table, a clay roaster will hold a wide variety of different entrees and is perfect for serving. Use clay roasters for cooking nutritious and tasty one-pot meals for the whole family.
Clay roasters are ideal for a beef stew, chili, chicken vegetable soup or your favorite chicken and rice casserole. Also, both beef and turkey roasts cook nicely in a clay roaster because the meat stays moist while cooking. Add potatoes and root vegetables around the meat, pour in a little water or broth -- then cover. A meat thermometer can tell you when your roast is done.
Preparing the Meal
While preparing your food, fill up the sink with cool water and submerge both the clay roaster and lid completely. Allow the clay parts to soak for a minimum of 15 minutes before filling the roaster with food. Drain the water before you use the cooker. Fill the roaster about three-quarters full to prevent overflow and place the lid on top to steam the food. Greasing or oiling the inside of the roaster is not necessary, but you can place a small piece of parchment paper on the bottom to prevent fish or meat from sticking.
It's best to place your clay roaster in a cold oven rather than a preheated one. By allowing the oven to warm gradually with the roaster inside, you reduce the possibility of cracking the clay. Do not use the clay roaster on the stove top or under a broiler. When you remove a hot clay roaster from the oven, place it down gently onto a hot pad to avoid cracking it. You can also microwave a one-pot meal in a clay roaster.
Cleaning and Storing
Allow the roaster to cool completely after use. Wash the roaster by hand in warm, soapy water. If food sticks to the roaster, rub it gently with coarse salt -- never use abrasive scrubbers or cleaners on the clay surface. Try soaking the roaster overnight in water and a little baking soda for stubborn food. Rinse the roaster after washing it and dry it with a clean towel. Store the roaster by stacking the lid first, a paper towel, and then the roaster -- this prevents scratches.
- "Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking"; Paula Wolfert; 2009
- Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images