I was recently given a clay broiler style pan with a lid. How do I use it? I would like to roast a chicken with potatoes, carrots, and onions, but I'm not sure if I have to do something special to the clay pot before I use it. Help!
Cooking in a clay pot has been around at least since Roman times, and has many advocates. It is said to produce delicious, moist foods in which the flavors mingle, with little fat and little fuss. Most likely, you have an unglazed red clay pot with a lid (one of the leading brands is Römertopf). You should soak the pot in water before each use, and the moisture it absorbs will be released as you cook, keeping your foods succulent and tender. Soak it for 30 minutes before your first use; 15 minutes is fine for subsequent uses.
Dana Jacobi, author of The Best of Clay Pot Cooking (Canada, UK),
says you should avoid cooking a fish or other strong ingredients the first time you use it, as it might have more of a tendency to absorb the flavors. Your choice of a chicken for the first use is ideal.
Besides Jacobiís book, there are a few other clay-pot cookbooks on the market, among them: Clay Pot Cooking (Canada, UK), and
Cooking in Clay
Related Article: More Tips on Clay Pot Cooking