After a long wait, I finally managed to get my clay cooker delivered from Mason Cash. Not only does it look great, with its looks harking back to a bygone era, but it also promises to cook a number of outstanding dishes. When I first thought about getting it, I was thinking it would mostly be a replacement to roasts but since I knew it was coming I’ve been looking at other recipes and I can’t wait to try out a number of other dishes, including bread and soups, not to mention a number of other meat roasts.
For my first attempt, I went for a lamb dish, as I had a boneless bit of lamb in the freezer from a previous meat order from my online butcher. It still annoys me that there are so few decent butchers in Hong Kong but at least these guys do deliver great meat (as well as fish and just recently vegetables. To go with that lamb, I added some beans, potatoes, onions, garlic and tomatoes.
What I love about the clay cooker is just how easy it is to cook anything in it. You soak you clay cooker in water for 10 minutes, during which time you can be preparing your vegetables, then you place everything inside the clay cooker, put it into a cold oven, set the temp and wait for it to cook. No need to worry about waiting for the oven to get to the right temperature, just put it in there and come back when its done.
Here are some pictures I took during the preparation, not great quality pics as they were taken on a phone, but it gives you some idea of the ease of preparation:
I have to say that the lamb was great, cooked to perfection. A hint of pink in the middle, succulent and juicy. With the moisture staying inside the vegetables were also great, with no hint of dryness that you sometimes get with vegetables in a roast. What I especially liked is that unlike a usual lamb roast, there was no congealing gravy, even towards the end of the meal. The only potential downside was that with the moisture staying inside there was no gravy as such, but more of a soupy style liquid. Of course that would be easy to remedy by taking the liquid away and sorting out a gravy in a smaller saucepan, but this time around I just wanted to tuck in and try it out.
I certainly cannot wait to try this out again, maybe with a chicken, or maybe doing one of the dishes that I was not expecting to use this for. I will definitely by trying this out for some bread baking as the retention of moisture must surely make for some great crusty bread.