I’m always looking for ways to surprise Chris with fun and different Christmas gifts. I love finding him things he doesn’t expect and two years ago I did just that.
Chris loves complicated and methodical recipes and finding new ways to cook. He mentioned to me in passing that he had seen someone cook a meal in a clay pot on a TV show. And that year I decided to get him a clay pot for Christmas.
Clay pots have ancient roots - used to cook in the kitchen since the Roman empire. It’s a cooking vessel that has survived through time because you can cook practically anything in it - from main entrees, to soups, and desserts.
A few things we love about clay pot cooking:
It’s almost impossible to mess it up - the clay pot is soaked for at least 15 minutes before it goes in the oven, ensuring the food stays moist while it’s cooked at a high temperature.
One pot meal - many of these meals are one pot meals, meaning minimal mess.
Size - the clay pot fits a lot - so instead of making just 2 meals, we make extra to either freeze or use for lunches later in the week.
Since clay pot cooking isn’t very common, we’ve been adapting recipes to cook in the pot as well as using a small cookbook I picked up at a used bookstore in Providence, RI a few years back. Below are a few of the meals we’ve been cooking these past few weeks. A lot of these could be adapted to also make in a slow cooker. The clay pot makes things a lot faster though since it’s cooked at such a high temperature.
Stuffed Peppers Chris actually wanted to make this vegetarian recipe! We were able to make this with fresh peppers grown in the garden and it was filled with other fresh veggies as well - corn, celery, onions, and shallots.
Shrimp and Bacon Jambalaya This recipe called for ham but we had some bacon on hand so we substituted. We loved making this recipe because it was all in one pot meal - no other pots and pans needed!
Peanut Butter Sesame Chicken This was a fun spin on sesame chicken that I’ve made previously on the stovetop - this recipe calls for peanut butter and ginger and can be chopped tossed over rice and broccoli or shredded since it comes out so tender!
Paulaw Naurange (Orange Pilaf)
This was one we had to piece together from one of our favorite meals at an Afghan restaurant that closed its doors a few years ago. This is a variant on a traditional Afghani recipe with candied orange rind!
Indian Lamb Curry This was one that Chris adapted from an online recipe to make in the claypot. We love spicy foods and this did not disappoint - Chris threw in fresh chili peppers from his garden - even in October we still have a few plants left!
Does anyone else have a clay pot? If so, what are your favorite things to make?