Season’s Greetings! Have you been cooking more during the pandemic? Would you like to know an easy way to prepare a juicy and impressive chicken or turkey dinner? You don’t eat meat? No problem! The clay pot cooking method works for vegetables, too.
First you will need to invest in a clay cooking pot. I recommend a Römertopf natural clay cooker made in Germany. Many different shapes and sizes of Römertopf cookers are made. The one used in this recipe is an extra-large one called “Römertopf Reston Lloyd Clay Roaster Made in Germany, XLG Turkey, Terracotta” purchased online through Amazon.com. This cooker is free of lead, cadmium, and fillers and has a safe glass glazing on the inside of the bottom to help prevent food from sticking and to facilitate cleanup. The capacity is 7.3 quarts, holding 18 pounds of food, enough for 6-8 people, or fewer people who love leftovers.
Why am I cooking chicken in a turkey-sized cooker? The chicken is typically about 6 pounds and I like to fill up the rest of the cooker with root vegetables.
- whole chicken, organic and free-range (or chicken pieces)
- organic root vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, onions, etc.
- organic seasonings, such as garlic and sage
- to complete the meal, you can also cook some organic green vegetables, such as organic green beans, on the stovetop close to the time when the chicken is finished cooking
I cannot encourage you enough to eat the best quality food that you can. Organic, whole foods may cost more up front than processed foods. But health is wealth, and when you factor in the cost of medical treatments for chronic conditions such as cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure, then paying extra up front in the name of prevention will end up costing you much less. This is especially true when you factor in considerations such as your quality of life, how you feel and look, and being able to think clearly. Also, consider that cooking for yourself rather than eating at restaurants can save a lot of money and can be much healthier. I am so blessed that I am able to eat free-range, organic chicken that my ex-husband and I pick up directly from a local farm. We drive about 2 hours each way twice a year to buy chickens directly from the farmer. These chickens are not injected with monosodium glutamate (MSG) or other undesirable and unnecessary additives like salt that most commercial poultry are injected with to increase weight and affect the taste.
The first step is to soak the lid of the clay cooker in water for at least 10 minutes.
While the lid is soaking, prepare your favorite vegetables and seasonings. Peel the root vegetables, if you prefer, and cut them into chunks.
Place the chicken into the cooker and add your seasonings.
Add the peeled and cut up vegetables. You can place vegetables, such as carrots, under the chicken in the cooker to keep the chicken from sticking to the pot. You can even put all the vegetables under the chicken in the cooker, as long as the top of the chicken does not touch the lid. Filling the cooker with vegetables all around the chicken can prevent browning of the skin on the sides and can be less aesthetically pleasing, but you can cook a lot more food that way.
After soaking the lid, the water is poured out before placing the soaked lid on the cooker and cooking the food. The remaining moisture soaked into the lid is what allows the contents of the cooker to be cooked to juicy perfection.
Place the cooker filled with food and with the lid on in the oven. Do not preheat the oven.
Turn on the oven and set the temperature to 425 degrees F (200 degrees C). Cook until the temperature in the thickest part of the breast reaches 165-180 degrees F (74 -82 degrees C). Depending on the size of your chicken, it may take about 1 hour and 30 minutes (1-2 hours depending on poultry size and the total amount of food in the cooker). You can monitor progress using a meat thermometer. You can cook uncovered for the last 15-30 minutes for more browning if you want.
Once the clay cooker is hot, avoid temperature shocks like contact with water until after it has cooled. Otherwise, the clay pot may crack.
After enjoying your feast, you can boil the chicken bones to make a wonderful broth that can serve as an excellent base for soup, for example. Remove the bones from the broth after cooking them in water for about 5 hours. You can add carrots, garlic, onion and/or other vegetables to the broth for more flavor. I love to cook rice or quinoa in chicken broth to give it a wonderful flavor and consistency.
There are many more recipes online, especially if you want to cook vegetables only in your clay cooker.
With Lots of Love,