Search This Blog

Thursday, January 20, 2011

For Jules

Leftovers in the fridge

This is a Schlemmertopf, which is kind of like a Romertopf.  Steve came to our marriage with his Romertopf, but I traded my buddy Dave for his Schlemmertopf.  The reason I traded it is that the Schlemertopf has a glazed bottom; the Romertopf bottom is just like the top: porous terra-cotta.  You can't use soap to clean a Romertopf because the terra-cotta would soak it into its pores, and then exude soap into your food while it cooked.  Well, I kind of like to use soap when I do dishes, so I traded for the glazed bottom so I could at least wash the bottom with a little soap.

To use a Schlemmertopf, you soak the lid in a sink full of water for ten to fifteen minutes.  (For a Romertopf, you soak both the top and the bottom.) While the top is soaking, you prepare your meat for cooking in the bottom.  You can find books with recipes for them specifically, but most have you place your meat in the bottom and the veg around.  For my chicken, which was four and a quarter pounds, I placed a peeled onion cut into sixths on the bottom, then the chicken, which I dusted pretty liberally with a seasoning salt and pepper, and then placed the carrots and celeriac all around the chicken.

Then after the top has soaked for fifteen minutes, it goes on the bottom and into a cold oven.  It's really important to start with a cold oven so you don't crack your pot.  After it's in, then you set the oven temperature- for the chicken, 350F.  An hour and a half later, it was really nicely done; the juices were running clear, and when we sat down to eat it, the chicken was nice and tender and still very juicy.  I didn't add any water, but there was a nice, clear broth which I'm going to assume was a result of the water in the lid.  All the broth needed was a little more salt, but really the whole dinner was a nice change.

This was the first time that I've braved the Schlemmertopf, and it made such a nice dinner, I'll be using it more often.  I like easy, one pot dinners.   Especially if they taste good.

9 comments:

Paula said...

I should mention, Jules, that for tonight's reheat, I skipped using the Schlemmertopf lid and covered the top of the bottom half with a piece of aluminum foil. And again, it went into a cold oven, which then got turned on.

Lauren said...

I am intrigued! I just bought myself a Dutch Oven to make no-knead artisan bread. I love the idea of one pot wonders but have only been brave enough to attempt 3 loaves and 1 roast. I am pretty sure my Dutch oven will cook and make better tasting dishes with age and seasoning (such is the way of cast iron cookware) but I wonder if the same is for the Schlemmertopf... does it at all increase in flavor with cooking? The meal sounds wonderful. I will have to keep an eye out for one.

Paula said...

I don't know, Lauren; that's a really good question. The only reason I had the Romertopf to begin with is because I married it. I mean it came to me with my husband. The link I have there takes you to Amazon, if you want to get one there. In any case, I think this is one item you want to buy new, just to make sure it was treated well.

Steve makes the no-knead bread in our iron Dutch oven, and it does turn out a superior loaf. He tried our copper Dutch oven as an experiment, and it wasn't as good.

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Paula -- I have a Romertopf that I love. I give it a scrub with a soap-less sponge and it cleans just fine (my mother's been known to scour hers with coffee grounds, which also works well).

My favorite trick is the three-dish meal, all in one. Put a mess of cut collard greens in the bottom (frozen are fine if you don't have fresh), put the chicken on top of the greens, and put cut root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, anything) around the chicken. Cook, probably for a little longer because the pot is quite full. When you're done, you have roasted roots, a chicken, and a bowl of collard greens that have cooked in chicken broth. Salt, pepper, eat.

Paula said...

Coffee grounds- brilliant! Greens in the bottom is brilliant as well- I'll try that next time. Do you ever cook anything besides chicken in it?

jules said...

Thank you. That is most interesting!

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

I've never done anything but chicken, but I keep thinking about a lamb leg ...

Paula said...

When my grandmother was too lazy to make lamb gravy (which is the best gravy in the world, lamb is, she'd throw potatoes in the pany with the meat, and they'd soak in the wonderful salty lamb flavors about a quarter of an inch through the spud. I remember them being crazy delicious (and I remember still be disappointed there wasn't gravy). A leg of lamb in the topf ought to be wonderful! I wonder if I could make it work for myself....I had rare lamb in a restaurant in San Francisco and it seriously put me off lamb, which is a shame because I used to love my gramma's lamb. I think I should try it though. Well done. And if I still can't eat it, I know somebody who can, and would. Happily, especially if there was at least potatoes with it.

Good idea.

Paula said...

..if there were at least potatoes with it.