Everybody knows that clay cooking pots already existed long before slow cookers came into existence. Since the use of clay pots avoid over-cooking while eliminating the need for added fats, baking chicken in a clay baker has been considered a good way to prepare a healthy, flavorful and fat-free chicken meal.
When clay bakers are soaked in water before placing into the oven, it allows the pot to produce moisture as it cooks sealing in nutrients in the food and preventing it from escaping; and even if you cook chicken without skin, it still would come out moist, tender, flavorful and perfectly browned. This makes clay bakers most ideal for braising as it provides fat-free moistness for vegetables, meat, chicken and fish.
Allow me to share two chicken recipes cooked in a clay baker with a special taste of baked lemon and peppers:
Roast Chicken and Lemon
pound chicken, rinsed with giblets and neck removed
1 large red onion, sliced thickly
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut in chunks
3 carrots, cut in chunks
3 of cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper (freshly ground black pepper is best)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
4 sprigs of fresh thyme, minced or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Immerse the clay baker in water for 20 minutes; drain and dry. Place onions in the bottom of the baker then arrange potatoes, carrots and garlic around sides. Sprinkle half each of the salt and pepper all over. Pat dry chicken inside and out then stuff cavity with lemon. Tie legs together with string and push wings under back. Place on top of onions in the baker with the breast side up.
Combine vinegar, soy sauce and honey then brush mixture all over chicken. Sprinkle with the thyme and remaining salt and pepper. Place clay baker in the middle of oven then turn on oven to 400 F (200 C). Roast for 2 hours or until juices run clear when chicken is pierced. Meat thermometer should register 185 F (85 C) for your chicken to be thoroughly cooked.
Roast Chicken and Peppers
3 pounds chicken, cut into chunks
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 1 tablespoon plus 1-1/2 teaspoons
fresh rosemary, chopped or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
3 bell peppers, red, yellow and green cut into 1-inch strips
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
Soak clay baker the usual way and pat dry. Preheat oven to 375A�F. Place chicken into the clay baker. Combine 2 tablespoons oil, rosemary and lemon juice then brush over chicken. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Put clay baker in the center of oven and roast for 15 minutes. Toss vegetables with remaining oil, salt and pepper then arrange around chicken. Cook for 45 minutes. Meat thermometer should register at 180A�F for chicken to cook thoroughly.