Sunday, October 27, 2013

Baking Chicken in a Clay Pot

We have used a romertopf or chicken brick to bake a whole chicken for many years.  Our first one was a rather primitive looking thing from England.  When it arrived at our Pier 1 store, we didn't know quite what to think of it.  So, instead of shrugging when customers asked what it was for or how to use it, we took one home and baked a chicken.  We were sold on it, and also sold out the entire stock and had to order many more!  We still have this brick.

The soaked Romertopf with the chicken and vegies inside.

While talking with Philip and Gloria, the homeowners in Nice, the conversation came around to  romertopfs.  They had owned on for many years, but had never used it and weren't really sure how to use it.  When they returned from their vacation trips, it was mentioned again.  Philip brought his romerfopf in, so we explained how it worked.  We left the next day, not knowing if he used it or not.

Bill put carrots, potatoes and butternut squash to cook under the chicken.  The seasonings were herb de Provence, onion powder, salt and sweet paprika.
 We thought about chicken cooked in clay for the rest of the trip.  A few days after arriving home, Bill came back from the grocery store with a perfect chicken and the vegies.  It is really quite easy to do.  Soak the brick in cold water for about 15 minutes.  Arrange the diced vegies in the bottom, put the trussed chicken on top.  Season with your favorites spiced; today we used herb de Provence, onion powder, salt and sweet paprika.  Put the top on the pot.  Into a cold oven it goes, then set the temperature at 500 f.  An hour later pull it out, letting it sit a minute or two before removing the top.
The romerfopf coming out of the oven.  Notice how the outside is no longer shiny from being soaked in the water, which has now all evaporated.
As the chicken bakes, the water in the clay keeps everything moist.  There is no need to add oils to keep things from sticking.  The results are always delicious and easy too.  This is a favorite at our house in the cooler months when we use the oven for baking.
Put the chicken on a platter surrounded by the vegetables for an elegant dinner.  Or do as we did; cut up the chicken on a platter while the vegies go into a bowl.

When it's time to clean the pot, don't use soap; take a stiff brush and scrub the inside clean with salt.  After being used, the clay has some staining, but nothing to worry about.  Now we need to find out if Philip used his!


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