The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

10:01 PM

Food Tip - Cooking with Clay Pots

Posted by Magic of Spice

Cooking with Clay Pots

The use of clay pots in cookery goes back to ancient times...In todays culinary world they are still quite prized by many cultures as well as chefs around the world.
What do fresh garden herbs have to do with clay pots you may ask?... Absolutely nothing~ 
They are just some garden herbs picked to enhance the photo. On the other hand, maybe they do have a few things in common. I mean, fresh from the garden herbs are most definitely at their best. The purest of flavors, and lets not forget the aroma...what a magnificent delight that is...
So this brings us back to cooking with clay pots...These gems are able to slow cook your dishes while maximizing flavor using the natural juices of your ingredients. They are also exceptional for steaming foods to heighten and preserve the natural flavors of really most any dish....

These pots can be found in many shapes, sizes and decor...They cover culinary uses from "One pot meals" to "Baked breads" and are easily assessable online or in most culinary stores. The pots are made of clay that is unglazed  allowing them to be highly porous. I will give you a few tips here on care and usage... 
Clay pots, similar to your cast iron, need to be seasoned prior to first use. So I will be sharing with you here my personal tips with the use of clay cookware.

Prior to first use:
First off I soak my clay pots (including lid) overnight in water.
Next, I place a large bunch of fresh herbs inside my pot and cover with water.
I then place the pot in a cool oven (do not preheat) at 350 degrees for about an hour. At this point turn off your oven and allow to sit in the oven about thirty minutes or so. Once your liquid is reduced , remove from oven and drain off fluid. Remove herbs and allow to stand for about thirty minutes or longer to room temperature. 
Now that your clay pot has cooled and is dried completely...Choose your favorite cooking oil, I use avocado, but select your oil to complement your own tastes. Gently coat the inside of your clay pot, and again place in a cool oven at 300 degrees for about one hour. Now turn of your oven and allow the baking pot to sit for about thirty minutes in the oven. Once cooled rinse pot and dry with a clean paper towel...

Temperatures and cooking time :
To start with, always soak your clay pots, including lids, for at least ten minutes prior to placement of ingredients... Especially if you are wanting to steam your dish.  If your intent is to merely bake a dish, less soaking time would be required. 
You will want to increase your oven temperature by about fifty degrees and add to cooking time by about fifteen minutes or so. 
*Note: Please see your manufacturer instructions for individual cookware for specific handling instructions... 


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