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Cooking with Paula Wolfert's Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking


Richard Kilgore
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Good idea! I will post them on my web-site. We will be going into another printing and I can fix them as well. Thanks

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Yesterday I got around to making Chicken with Red Wine Vinegar, Tomato, and Shallots in a 12 inch cazuela. I used store bought red wine vinegar. The dish came out great. The sauce was pleasingly tangy while the aroma of the tarragon added sweetness. My wife was "intrigued by the complexity" of the sauce. I'm not sure how much better the sauce could have been if home-made vinegar was used. (I'll get the chance to find out because my wife is getting me a vinegar jug from French Gardening as a present.) We sopped up every drop of the sauce with fresh baguette. A nice thing about this dish is that it's relatively easy to make. So I'll be making it again and again. Attached is a picture of the dish hot off the stove.

IMG_4713.JPG

Edited by Trout Hound (log)

Ferenc

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Well, I swore off buying any new cookbooks for a while until I saw this thread. Thanks, everyone! The book came, lamb was on my mind, my tagine hadn't been used in a while, so today I made Moroccan Lamb Tagine with Winter Squash and Toasted Pine Nuts. Had a delicata squash on hand as well as some pumpkin in the freezer. What aromas filled the house all afternoon while I cooked through the steps! Never gave a thought to taking any photos, but we are most happy with the results. The house still smells Divine and my belly is most happy. Now the next thing is to decide what to make next. Thanks to Paula for a really wonderful new book!

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Lately I've been buying some heirloom beans from Rancho Gordo, a supplier mentioned in Paula's book (p. 243). Yesterday I made Tuscan White Beans with Sage and Garlic (p. 246) in my La Chamba bean pot using Runner Cannellini beans. I then used these beans to make White Beans with Tomatoes and Sage (p. 247). Though, the first recipe takes about 3 hours to make (not counting soaking the beans), there's very little preparation involved. The second recipe is quick and easy. However, the result was a very pleasant surprise. Given the few ingredients and minimal labor, the outcome was absolutely delicious. In fact, it was so good that I'm making it again today. I'll use half the beans for a repeat of White Beans with Tomatoes and Sage and the other half to make White Beans with Tuna (p. 247).

Ferenc

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think I finally got it right making "Fried Spatchcocked Chicken." I did make some modifications. One problem I had before was that during the second phase of frying, the chicken skin stuck to the bottom half of the mattone. This time I used more olive oil before adding the chicken, which seems to have fixed this problem. The second problem for me was that the chicken parts closest to the edge of the clay pot were not cooked through. I fixed this problem by forming a "tent" using heavy duty aluminum foil to fit over the mattone, while allowing enough ventilation for the gas flame. Thirdly, I cooked each side for 12 minutes instead of 8-10 minutes, as called for in the recipe. I checked the temperature of the chicken in multiple places after cooking was done and I registered 165 degrees. Exactly what I wanted. I can say that the chicken turned out just *perfect*--one of the best we've ever had.

We did end up with some left over olive oil in the pot. My wife had a great idea: fry slices of baguette in the olive oil (with the heat turned off). I fried both sides of these baguette slices and rubbed raw garlic into the fried bread. It was heavenly.

Ferenc

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  • 3 weeks later...

I made the Provencal Omelete with Mushrooms, Croutons and Lardons for brunch this weekend. Came out very well and certainly very much a frittata. Adding the small cubes of croutons in there is a brilliant touch. I did get a bit confused with the instructions for cooking the mushrooms though and hopefully Paula can clarify. The recipe states to cook them over low heat wrapped in parchment in a Chinese sandpot for 30 minutes. I did that and ended up with mushrooms that are more or less fully cooked (the ones closest to the bottom and the flame) and with ones that are closer to raw (the ones farthest from the flame). What is the expected result? somewhere in between? Should I have spread them out more evenly in the parchment maybe?

This is right after the flip

Prov Omelete with Croutons, shrooms and lardons2.jpg

Served

Prov Omelete with Croutons, shrooms and lardons.jpg

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I’d be grateful if someone could give me a bit of help. For the past two years I’ve been baking bread for sale from home and everything else has gone by the board. I’m now in South West France for several weeks with time to try out all the things I put to one side.

One of these was the pissaladiere from Paula’s clay pot book but the book is by the side of the bed back in Wales and I’m here in France.

Would someone by kind enough to remind me what the main points of her version are some of which I hadn’t come across before. I remember that the onion is stewed the day before and some of the juices used in the dough and also that cherry tomatoes are included in the topping. I don’t want the exact recipe because I’m going to do a sourdough base, but what else might I have forgotten?

Best wishes

Mick

Mick Hartley

The PArtisan Baker

bethesdabakers

"I can give you more pep than that store bought yeast" - Evolution Mama (don't you make a monkey out of me)

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Elie,

I just retested the recipe to see what could have gone wrong. I didn't have a problem with 12 smallish very firm mushrooms. Perhaps they absorbed too much water when you washed them.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Mick, I just happen to have the recipe on my computer.

Pissaladière Niçoise

MAKES A 9- × 11-INCH PIE, SERVING 6 TO 8

T

his unusual pie is often described as a Provençal pizza. True, the bread dough base is the same as is used in pizzas, but the strong-tasting anchovy-sardine paste (pissala) topping is pure Niçoise. You’ll see squares of pissaladière in bakeshop windows and delis throughout eastern Provence, especially in Nice, where it’s often sold right on the street. Accompanied by a green salad, pissaladière makes a great appetizer or lunch dish, and it reheats beautifully.

My French friends, when describing this pie, always emphasize a point made in Jacques Médicin’s definitive book La Cuisine du Comte de Nice, that before baking, the onion layer must be exactly half as thick as the yeast dough or, if using a pastry base such as a pâte brisée, should be equally thick.

In the traditional recipe, the pissala is blended with a thick layer of  long-cooked onions and spread generously over the dough. The pie is decorated with local black olives before baking. The pizza is served hot, warm, or best of all, at room temperature.

Included in this recipe is another tip, which I learned from the late cookbook author Mireille Johnson, who was born in Nice. For extra flavor, some of the reduced cooking liquid from the onions is added to the dough. So please prepare not only the pastry but the onions a day in advance.

PREFERRED CLAY POT:

A 3-quart earthenware or flameware casserole with a lid

If using an electric or ceramic stovetop, be sure to use a heat diffuser with the clay pot.

SUGGESTED CLAY ENVIRONMENT:

Double slabs of pizza stones or food-safe quarry tiles set on the upper and lower oven racks

3 pounds red onions, thinly sliced (about 9 cups)

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove, peeled

3 cloves

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

Onion-Flavored Dough (recipe follows)

2 tablespoons anchovy paste

1½ teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

18 oil-cured anchovy fillets

18 small black Niçoise olives

½ cup semolina or whole-wheat flour for dusting

12 cherry or grape tomatoes

½ teaspoon sugar

1 One day in advance, prepare the onions and the onion-flavored dough. In an earthenware casserole, combine the sliced red onions with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the garlic stuck with the cloves, the bay leaves, and the herbes de Provence. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 2 hours, or until the onions are meltingly soft and reduced in volume by two-thirds. Uncover, raise the heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring often, until the onions just begin to sizzle, about 5 minutes. Transfer the hot casserole to a wooden surface or folded kitchen towel to prevent cracking. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions to a storage container. Pick out and discard the garlic, cloves, and bay leaves. Reserve ½ cup of the oily cooking juices to use in the dough. Let the onion topping cool completely; cover and refrigerate until chilled. (The recipe can be made to this point up to a day in advance.)

2 Turn the chilled dough out onto a wooden board or other work surface and let stand at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour. At the same time, preheat the stone- or tile-lined oven to 500°F for about 1 hour. Meanwhile, remove the browned onions from the refrigerator and gently press on them to express their liquid into a small bowl. Mix the anchovy paste,

2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil, and pepper into this liquid. Fold in the onions and set aside at room temperature.

3 Rinse the anchovy fillets, place in a bowl of water, and soak for about 1 hour. Drain and pat dry. Pit the olives and soak them in a bowl of fresh water. Drain and pat dry.

4 Dust an 11- × 17-inch jelly roll pan with semolina flour. Place the dough in the center, sprinkle with more of the flour, and press out the dough into a rectangle about 6 by 10 inches. Cover with a cloth and let rest for 15 minutes. Press out the dough again to enlarge the rectangle, lifting and gently stretching it over your hands from time to time, until it fills the pan. Press the edges up into a ¾-inch ridge all around the pan.

5 Spread the onions over the dough to within ½ inch of the edge. Decorate the top with the anchovies, olives, and cherry tomatoes. Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Dust the top with the sugar. Brush the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil over the exposed edges of the dough.

6 Bake the pissaladière for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the dough is crisp and lightly browned. Cut into squares and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Onion-Flavored Dough

This dough is designed especially for pissaladière, with its lush onion topping. It is best made one day before baking.

2¼ cups unbleached bread flour (11 ounces)

½ teaspoon rapid-rise dry yeast

1 teaspoon fine salt

½ cup oily onion juices from step 1 of the pissaladière

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 In a food processor fitted with the plastic dough blade, combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Pulse briefly

to mix.

2 Place the warm onion juices in a glass measuring cup. Add the olive oil and enough warm water to measure 1 cup. With the machine on, slowly add just enough of the liquid to the flour to form a dough. Continue to process for 15 to 20 seconds, or until the dough forms a smooth ball around the blade.

3 Turn the soft dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently into a tight, smooth ball. Pack the dough into a plastic or glass container, cover, and refrigerate overnight. The dough can be held in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Paula

That's fantastically kind of you.

Can I come back to you with a couple of questions about the origins of the recipe in a day or so? (off to La Tupina in Bordeaux for lunch tomorrow!!!)

Best wishes,

Mick

Mick Hartley

The PArtisan Baker

bethesdabakers

"I can give you more pep than that store bought yeast" - Evolution Mama (don't you make a monkey out of me)

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Elie,

I just retested the recipe to see what could have gone wrong. I didn't have a problem with 12 smallish very firm mushrooms. Perhaps they absorbed too much water when you washed them.

Paula, do you turn the packet once it's in the sandy pot? It also appears from the picture that it a good deal more than 12 mushrooms. :huh:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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i typed in the wrong amount. Sorry about that. I meant to type 18 mushrooms.

No, its not necessary to shake the pot. Once the sides of the clay pot are hot, the cooking should be pretty even.

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Paula

Sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you.

I did do the pissaladiere recipe and it was excellent. Photos and report at http://thepartisanbaker.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/paula-wolferts-pissaladiere/

When I read your recipe it sounded very up-market compared with what I had previously come across both in Nice and in other cookery books (not that they were in any way specialist).

I found these rather snotty notes from when we were in Nice in 2004 celebrating our silver wedding: “Chez Theresa has an open shop-front through which you can see a wood burning oven which is very much in operation. Theresa is self-styled Queen of Pissaladiere which she sells from a stall in the nearby market and two guys, from whom we bought a slice, produce the pissaladiere in the Rue Droite shop. It was interesting in as much as they sold it cold, the crust was light and bready but thicker than I expected (about half a centimetre), the onion topping was virtually a puree, and, instead of the close lattice-work of anchovies and olives usually seen in pictures, they took a totally minimalist approach with just the odd anchovy fillet here and the occasional olive there. “

We were there again last May for a week. No sign of Theresa on the market but the guys on the Rue Droite now had a large Labrador sitting on a high bar stool outside the open shop window. They deliver take-away pissaladiere round the old town on an ancient moped with a bizarre home-made trailer.

What I didn’t understand was the logic of the thickness of the topping. Why should it be thicker for pastry than bread dough and how the hell would you measure it?

I’m afraid this little studio in Arcachon is a totally ceramic free environment (unless you count Pirex) but the pissaladiere stiil came out great.

Mickpissaladiere 02.jpg

Mick Hartley

The PArtisan Baker

bethesdabakers

"I can give you more pep than that store bought yeast" - Evolution Mama (don't you make a monkey out of me)

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  • 3 weeks later...

There are so many great new posts and posters here on eG!

If you're in the SF Bay Area, I wanted to let you know that we've opened a Rancho Gordo retail store in Napa (about 1 hour north of San Francisco) and we've been having a great series of fabulous women chefs come and visit. So far we've had Lorna Sass and Deborah Madison and this Saturday we're lucky enough to have Paula come and give a presentation on clay pot cooking. We're importing a few pieces from Mexico (from the Mixteca region of Puebla) and I'm anxious for Paula to see these, but Bram in Sonoma is co-sponsoring the series and they'll have almost a complete store of clay cookware for sale. A couple of dishes from Paula's book will be sampled and to top it all off, Clos du Val is pouring. I'm pretty sure we'll have a few beans for sale.

Things start at 3:30 pm and go for about an hour and a half. It's free, you don't need to reserve but try and come early because I suspect it will be packed.

My business started here on eG. During the winters especially, when I wasn't at the farmers market, I was online. I've met some of my best friends here and it's kind of swell that I've gone from begging people to try half a pound of beans to hosting Paula Wolfert at my retail outlet. I blinked and look what happened!

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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...this Saturday we're lucky enough to have Paula come and give a presentation on clay pot cooking.

...

My business started here on eG. During the winters especially, when I wasn't at the farmers market, I was online. I've met some of my best friends here and it's kind of swell that I've gone from begging people to try half a pound of beans to hosting Paula Wolfert at my retail outlet. I blinked and look what happened!

First, congratulations on your success. You've really worked hard and you deserve it!

And second, will Ms. Wolfert be available to sign books? Will there be some sort of stipulation that you must buy the book there, or can I bring in some books that I already have?

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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There's no stipulation to buy anything! I have a hunch it's going to be a huge crowd, so I'd try and limit things to one or two books to sign. It's all very casual. We're grownups!

Visit beautiful Rancho Gordo!

Twitter @RanchoGordo

"How do you say 'Yum-o' in Swedish? Or is it Swiss? What do they speak in Switzerland?"- Rachel Ray

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  • 2 weeks later...

My most recent dish from the book was the eggplant and lentil casserole. Simple and delicious and has one of my favorite flavor combinations (eggplant + lentils + garlic + mint). I served it with home baked pita and garlicky yogurt.

Eggplant and Lentil Casserole.jpg

Eggplant and Lentil Casserole2.jpg

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Discovered Ribollita our first time in Tuscany. Loved it and ordered it everywhere, even though it was June and getting hot. The picture of Paula's recipe for Ribollita in the Style of Siena looks wonderful. I ususally make a recipe the way it is written (for the most part) the first time I make it. However, whenever I think of Ribollita, I also think pancetta. Has anyone made this recipe? What do you think about the addition of pancetta?

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne."

John Maynard Keynes

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  • 1 month later...

The sorrel plant in my garden is throwing off leaves with the warmth of summer, so I picked a bunch and cooked Eggs on a Creamy Bed of Sorrel. This is a simple preparation, and it's delicious. Perfect for brunch. I particularly liked the light cooking of sorrel in the sauce. At other times I've cooked (overcooked?) sorrel, and it turned everything into an unappetizing khaki color. This dish tastes good and looks good, too.

EggsSorrel_1945.jpg

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  • 7 months later...

FoodMan, your photos inspired me to make this dish (Casserole of Lentils, Eggplant, and Mint) and it was delicious. During the last 10 minutes of cooking, I put the lid back on the cazuela to make sure that the top layer was fully cooked. The next time I make this dish, I'll cut the top layer of eggplant slices crosswise to allow the hot sauce to bubble up more evenly throughout the pot and cook the top layer of ingredients. (I live at 6200 feet altitude and wonder if I need to raise the heat a bit more for this dish.)

Edited by Trout Hound (log)

Ferenc

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Over the weekend I made "Stoneware Beer Can-Chicken Baked with an Italian Rub" in the Clay Coyote pot mentioned in the recipe. I was very happy with the result. However, I was wondering about the instruction that reads: "Slip the lemon slices into the cavity." If one does that, the lemon slices will likely fall into the "beer can" portion of the pot as the chicken is placed on the beer can--as it happened with me. If this is intended, then why not put the lemon slices in the beer can to begin with. So I thought I must be doing something wrong. Can someone clarify this for me?

Edited by Trout Hound (log)

Ferenc

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  • 4 weeks later...

Greetings! I am quite a bit late, but I am now the proud owner of this cookbook. I have really gotten into using an unglazed clay pot for bean dishes, and I couldn't resist buying this book. I have been re-reading this thread as well as those referred to here. Going back to January of 2010, folks wrote about errors in the book. Paula acknowledged them and said that the book was going into another printing, and that the recipes would be fixed. I just received my book two days ago, and the errors are still there. What happened? I would think that this book has been reprinted since the 2009 printing.

I had an experience when I bought someone a copy of Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan before the holidays. When I opened up the book, a small piece of paper fell out, giving a corrected ingredient on a particular page. (Not the best way to do that. I am sure many of those small pieces of paper flew elsewhere.) I bought another copy of the book a week later. No little piece of paper. I checked the recipe and it had already been corrected. Why are the errors in Clay Pot Cooking still there in 2011?

Paula, I hope that you get a chance to see this post and can answer me. Do you have a list of corrections that need to be made? I suppose that I can write the corrections in the book, however, I am disappointed to see that the book was never corrected. I would appreciate any help you can give me.

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne."

John Maynard Keynes

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@ Bella S.F.

Hi,

I noted a few errors in the book on this thread myself. Please don't think less

of this book because of it. It's also not Paula's fault that corrections didn't

get into the first edition of the book. I bought this book as soon as it came out

on Amazon. (You can see my review there.) It has been my favorite and most frequently

used cookbook since. By now I own most of the claypots Paula used to make the recipes

in her book. They're worth every penny I payed for them.

I'm the cook in the family and my wife is envied at work for the meals she takes

for lunch. All thanks to Paula and her book on claypot cooking. My suggestion is

that before you you decide to make a dish, read the recipe carefully. If there's

an error, pick a different recipe, or post a question here. In some cases you can

figure out what to do (see Paula's earlier comment on this thread). Don't let a

few errors taint your impression of this book.

By the way, tonight's dinner was Moroccan Fish Tagine with Tomatoes, Olives, and

Preserved Lemons, which I made in a Moroccan tagra. It was wonderful.

Regards

Ferenc

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