Shortly after we got married my mom gave us a German, glazed Schlemmertopf by Scheurich clay pot cookware. Mom knew that Lisa and I enjoyed eating healthy foods, and creative cooking adventures together. Mom has inquired on whether we’ve tried it, but it has seemed like it might be a lot of work to cook in the earthenware. And that thought has prevented us from exploring what has turned out to be a fun and easy way to cook. If you like great tasting, healthy foods that are simple and fun to prepare then we recommend trying this out.
Historically, cooking in clay pots has been done for hundreds of centuries around the world, and the Romans are known to have perfected many recipes for it. The healthy angle comes from the fact that no vegetable or animal fats are added to the food. In fact, it is possible to cook most foods without the use of added fats and German clay pot cooking makes it easy for anyone to try. The method is simple, you soak the lid of the pot in cold water prior to cooking and then you place your food in the pot without preheating the oven. Then place the water soaked lid on top. Never remove the lid during cooking. After placing the pot in the oven, simply close the door and turn the oven on allowing the pot to warm up as the oven heats. Placing a cold pot in preheated oven may cause it to crack. The water that has soaked into the clay pot, is slowly turned to steam and your dinner is cooked in its own juices!
There are a couple of options out there: SchlemmerTopf (pronounced Schlammertoph) from the German word schlemmen meaning “to feast” and Römertopf. We have a cooking guide for each one, but we have the SchlemmerTopf type. Both of these are manufactured in Germany and the construction looks the same: a deep clay base bottom and a clay fitted top. The basic difference is that the SchlemmerTopf bottom is slightly glazed on the inside and the Römertopf bottom is not glazed, but it has ridged bottom interior.
Our box says the size is 3.7 liters which is close to 4 quarts. However, searching Cookware.com, we noticed 5 different US sizes for the SchlemmerTopf brand – 1.75 qt, 2.25 qt, 2.50 qt, 3.5 qt and 6.25 qt.
Our recipe was simple. We started soaking the top of the pot, and then we rubbed the prime rib with some dry pot-roast ingredients, added our own dried herbs left over from last summer’s patio container garden (thyme, rosemary, sage and parsley.) Added potatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. And placed the lid on. You could a just a touch of red cooking wine, I might try that next time.
Two hours later, our prime rib was done, the house smelled of roasted beef and vegetables. The meat was tender and melted in our mouths.
Clean up was a breeze. We used a nylon brush and the bottom of the pot cleaned up in just a minute or two. The bottom can go in the dishwasher, but we didn’t think that was necessary. The top is not recommended for the dishwasher.
Thank you to mom for this great gift! The end result was fantastic and we’re ready to experiment some more! Have you tried clay pot cooking? Do you have any favorite recipes you’d like to share? Go ahead and comment as we’d enjoy sharing your thoughts!
NOTE: Remember to open the lid AWAY from you when you’re ready to serve. The steam is immediately released when you lift the lid and can burn your face or eyes.