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Cooking with Paula Wolfert's Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking


Richard Kilgore
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Trout Hound, thank you so much for your quick response. I will have to go through this thread again, and will write down the errors and corrections that people found. Then I will post questions. I haven't been able to give it the attention that I want and need to. Thank you also for your encouragement. I really want to like using this cookbook. It is the first of Paula's books that I have bought. (Which is pretty amazing, considering how addicted I am to cookbooks.) I chose this book because I have been cooking beans in an unglazed bean pot, and they are absolutely delicious. I decided that I wanted to get into clay pot cooking.

So, I have an unglazed 5 quart covered bean pot and an unglazed rectangular "casserole" with handles. The "casserole" is about 11" x 13" and about 3" deep. Unfortuately, it does not have a lid. I got these years ago at Costco, when they had one of the "roadshows", where you happen upon it, see very different merchandise than the things they usually carry, and then you never see the stuff again. I only remember that you got to choose 2 pieces for whatever the price was. I have not been able to find them anywhere since, not even on-line. The bean pot looks similar to the Pomdireware that Amazon carries.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001F5PLYO/ref=s9_simh_gw_p79_d0_i3?pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_r=1KW4GCXMX3NJRPPSX3EG&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=470938631&pf_rd_i=507846

Even though the bean pot is huge, I use it when I am just cooking a pound of beans. It works really well, so I am resisting the urge to purchase a smaller bean pot. I have a gift card to a site where I am planning on ordering a Romertopf with that. I was wondering if I could use the unglazed rectangular piece that I have in place of a cazuela.

I have probably asked too many questions. Thanks!

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

John Maynard Keynes

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Trout Hound, after reading your post again, that does happen a lot when things are first published, but I just bought the book about 10 days ago. Those mistakes should have been corrected by now. I am very willing to write the corrections into the book itself, to remedy the situation. From what you said, I may need to add the Beer Can Chicken recipe to that list.

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

John Maynard Keynes

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@ Bella S.F.

By now I have all of Paula's books. Her recipes are often challenging, but as someone already pointed out, there are tons of cookbooks out there that are aimed at the quick-and-easy crowd. I cooked meals for friends and relatives from Paula's claypot book and every one of her recipes brought praise--not that I need anyone to tell me when something tastes delicious... :-)

My favorite pot for beans are the unglazed La Chambas, which are as beautiful as are functional. You can buy them from Toque Blanche. You may also want to read more about them at Tierra Negra web site from the UK. I own a 4 quart and a 6 quart "soup pot." They both get used a lot. I'd recommend the following bean recipes from Paula's book: "White Beans with Tuna" and "White Beans with Tomatoes and Sage." In order to make those, you first need to cook the beans as described in "Tuscan White Beans with Sage and Garlic." Once you make the beans per the latter recipe, the first two are easy to prepare and are simply delicious. I've made them dozens of times. I had an Italian gourmet cook try these dishes and she said they were as good as her mother's. I get my (Cannellini) beans from Rancho Gordo.

As for the cazuela's, they're not expensive at all. I own about half a dozen of them in different sizes; the largest is 11" in diameter. Paula recommends getting ones made in Spain. Here're some sources: La Tienda, The Spanish Table, Bram, and Clay Coyote. Cazuela's can be used on the stove top. (I always use a heat diffuser with my clay pots.) Not sure how your casserole would do on the stove top. Would it get heated evenly on the wider side?

I own two Roemertopf's, one to bake a chicken in, the other to cook a turkey. They're great pots. Though cleaning them is a bit of an exercise. Cooking birds in clay is a revelation. No more dried out breast meat!

I'd like to recommend one more recipe and then I'll stop rambling: Zucchini Musakka with Tomatoes and Chickpeas. This is another delicious recipe, which is not difficult to make. You can get the Turkish sweet red pepper paste from Tulumba on the web. They also sell guvec in different sizes, should you want to own a Turkish clay pot. Tulumba often has promotions which include inexpensive shipping.

Regards

Edited by Trout Hound (log)

Ferenc

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It took a long time to be able to get back to this. Hope that I will be able to get myself in gear.

This is a picture of the unglazed casserole-style dish that I have. Is there any reason why this couldn't be used in place of a cazuela?%7Boption%7D

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

John Maynard Keynes

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@ Bella S.F.

Instead of wondering, you could just try the dish that FoodMan posted on April 30th, 2010. It calls for a 10" cazuela. You'll find that the recipes in Paula's book call for different sized cazuelas. Though many of them are between 10-12 inches.

Ferenc

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  • 3 weeks later...

Moroccan Chicken with Lemon and Eggs

ChickenTagine-Lemon-Eggs2.jpg

One of the most lovely looking dishes I made from a Paula Wolfert recipe. This amazing stew was the first time I use an actual clay tagine. This specific Tagine is an inexpensive glazed clay one I bought from Sur La Table. It’s made in Portugal and as far as I can tell it worked great.

I do admit that I was a bit apprehensive as to how it will all turn out since I was not sure what to exactly expect. In the intro, Paula refers to another tricky Moroccan recipe that “encases” chicken in a cooked egg mixture and then discusses this one as similar but different in that it uses eggs but they form more of a custardy sauce for the chicken. That sounded good, but the eggs get cooked in butter in the tagine alone before adding any sauce and that concerned me. I was worried that the end result would resemble cooked chicken in an eggy scrambled sauce. If the Diana and the kids hate it, then all the work would be in vain. I really needn’t have worried because it far exceeded my expectations.

The base for the dish is a mixture of butter, grated onions, garlic, saffron, dry ground ginger and cinnamon (a tiny pinch of that). With water, that base makes for an aromatic liquid in which the chicken pieces gently stew. The chicken pieces get finished under the broiler for a crispy skin right before nestling back in the sauce for service. For the sauce, the cooking liquid is mixed with caramelized grated onions, olives, sliced preserved lemon peels, parsley and cilantro. Eggs get cooked very gently in the tagine in butter and mixed with lemon juice. To bring it all together, the onion-olive mixture gets mixed in to the eggs. The mixture turns to a wonderful velvety a very deeply flavored sauce. Add the chicken pieces back in and it is ready to serve.

ChickenTagine-Lemon-Eggs3.jpg

I did blog about it here

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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  • 2 months later...

Pissaladiere

Pissaladiere.jpg

I really cannot do this pie justice with my picture. I used what I had on hand to make it since I needed to use up a bunch of onions. So, I used yellow onions and regular green olives instead of Nicoise. The idea of adding the onion juice to the dough is brilliant and adds another layer of flavor. I also really love this version with the yeast dough as opposed to the many recipes that use puff pastry or pate brisee. It makes for a hearty, crispy/chewy and lighter pie that is very addictive.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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@ FoodMan

Thanks for posting those beautiful pictures and for keeping this thread alive.

I'll be making the dishes you took pictures of. One of our favorites now is the

eggplant and lentil casserole you photographed earlier.

Regards

frank

Ferenc

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  • 4 months later...

Here are a few recent and semi-recent recipes I tried from this.

Gnocchi

I have a lot of detail and pictures on my blog about these here because I loved them and have made them a few times already. They are simple to make and really are one of the most tender and tasty dumplings ever

gnocchi-wolfert20.JPG

gnocchi-wolfert17.JPG

I sauced some in a Gorgonzola-Pinenut-Caramelized onion sauce. I used the Modernist Cuisine technique using Sodium Citrate to make the sauce smooth and creamy. Another batch was sauced with a venison ragu.

Ribollita

Comforting and delicious. This made for work lunches for a week.

Ribollita.JPG

Provençal Pork Shoulder with Potatoes and Tomatoes

This is a great combination, especially using fantastic pastured pork. This was the first recipe I cooked up in a beautiful hand made clay pot I bought from San Antonio, TX

Pork-Tomato-Potato.JPG

Pork-Tomato-Potato2.JPG

Some guests ended up showing up unexpectedly so I threw in a few links of homemade Roman Luganaga sausage along with the pork as well.

Pork-Tomato-Potato3.JPG

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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Beautiful, Elie. Nice piece of pottery, too. Where in San Antonio did it come from?

Right on the river walk. They have a sort of market there for arts and such on the weekends. This artist hand makes all his pottery with various clays and all are just beautiful. His sign says "Greek Potter" or something like that but the credit card reciept is registered under Chohlidakis Originals. There was another guy who hand makes lovely salt and pepper grinders as well. Since neither those nor the pottery is exactly cheap I had to pick one...I went with the clay pot.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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  • 1 month later...

Wasn't sure where to post this, but last night I made polenta in a clay pot. 3 cups water and 1 cup polenta, pat of butter. I mixed it as well as i could then put the whole pot, covered, in the embers of a dying fire.

P1000353.JPG

In the morning, the polenta had made a solid cake and pulled away easily from the sides with little residue. I cut it in wedges, smothered it in beans and parma cheese and had a merry little breakfast.

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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I've done it a few times. I have a pot called a fiasco, which you can see on top of the stove. I've done this twice with very good results. It's small and the top is so narrow, you can only use small beans. I think the original idea was to use a wine bottle, al fiasco. I've done it with clay bean pots but they always seem to need a little help. I'd start those on top while the fire was roaring and then put it in the embers throughout the night. Embers alone doesn't make it.

Awhile back, I did cook this tagine on a very slow, rainy day and it was incredible:

P1000299.JPG

I ended up heating the pita on the top, as well!

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 years later...

Hi is anyone still cooking from this book? I just bought it and cooked a few recipes. So far everything came out delicious. The only issue i had was with the Turkish red lentil bulgar koftes. The recipe called for too much water and the mixture never firmed up enough.

How do i add pictures to my post?

Does Mrs Wolfert still comment on here? I have some questions about pots to ask her.

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Hi is anyone still cooking from this book? I just bought it and cooked a few recipes. So far everything came out delicious. The only issue i had was with the Turkish red lentil bulgar koftes. The recipe called for too much water and the mixture never firmed up enough.

<snip>

Does Mrs Wolfert still comment on here? I have some questions about pots to ask her.

Welcome to eGullet, FlyingChopstik. We have in the membership quite a few enthusiasts of Paula Wolfert and this cookbook, as well as of clay-pot cooking in general. Paula hasn't posted here in quite a while, but why not post your questions anyway? She may answer, and some of the rest of us may have answers too. :-)

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Paula is currently battling some serious health issues so she may not participate. On the other hand she has always been an enthusiastic supporter of eG so I wouldn't be surprised if she doesn't occasionally pop in here. And like Smitty said you may well get a response from other members.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Hi everyone! Thanks for the welcome! I have a Japanese donabe pof and i was wondering if i can substitute this for a chinese sandpot?

Also how has everyone come along with their Moroccan tagras? Mine is coming in the mail today and im so excited. Has anyone cooked non fish dishes in them and what other seafoo recipes have you cooked in them?

Later on this week i will receive my chamba soup pot ( i already own a casserole, which i love). Ive turned into a real clay junkie since getting this book. We live in a small apt and my hubby says that soon or later its going to look like a museum since i have my japanese tagine and chamba pot on top of the bookcase as decorative pieces. The tagra will go inside the cabinet to keep the cazuela company. I dont even have a kitchen, just a kitchenette but we get pretty creative with the space. I envy those of you with ample cabinet space and im happy to meet other people who experience my symptoms of delicious food cravings and clay pot addiction. Lol

I attached photos of dishes i made and my donabe pot and japanese tagine. I have my eyes on a rifi tagine qnd i know that i already have a space on top of my fridge thwt im considering for it. I inquired about everyones experience with thevrifi tagine in the Moroccan tagine cooking forum.

38216954454619664035957438.jpg

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Hi everyone! Thanks for the welcome! I have a Japanese donabe pof and i was wondering if i can substitute this for a chinese sandpot?

Also how has everyone come along with their Moroccan tagras? Mine is coming in the mail today and im so excited. Has anyone cooked non fish dishes in them and what other seafoo recipes have you cooked in them?

Later on this week i will receive my chamba soup pot ( i already own a casserole, which i love). Ive turned into a real clay junkie since getting this book. We live in a small apt and my hubby says that soon or later its going to look like a museum since i have my japanese tagine and chamba pot on top of the bookcase as decorative pieces. The tagra will go inside the cabinet to keep the cazuela company. I dont even have a kitchen, just a kitchenette but we get pretty creative with the space. I envy those of you with ample cabinet space and im happy to meet other people who experience my symptoms of delicious food cravings and clay pot addiction. Lol

I attached photos of dishes i made and my donabe pot and japanese tagine. I have my eyes on a rifi tagine qnd i know that i already have a space on top of my fridge thwt im considering for it. I inquired about everyones experience with thevrifi tagine in the Moroccan tagine cooking forum.

 

That is a beautiful pot!  Is that the donabe pot?  When you get around to attaching more photos I'd love to see the interior, or see the post in action.

 

You aren't the only person whose kitchen collection burgeoned as a result of these forums.  I have a fairly large kitchen, but the stuff has still overflowed into a spare bedroom.    :biggrin:

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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This is the interior of the pot. Its pretty shallow compared to most bean pots. Usually people cook soups in them but i would like to find other uses for it.

The soups were mushroom and chicken with tofu and vegetables. These photos are from a year ago. I had the pot in a box since last winter.

image.jpg

image.jpg

image.jpg

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  • 4 weeks later...

I would guess that you would just to get rid of the clay taste. Just soak it in water for two to three hours. Dry off. Rub inside and outside with olive oil and place in a cold oven. Turn it on to 350 and bake for 3 hours. Turn oven off and let the saucer cool down in the oven. Just had to do this to my tagine yesterday as i hadn't used it in quite a while.

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  • 2 months later...

I cooked the chicken tagine with sweet sour plums and pumpkin. There were a few quirks though.

The alu bakhr plums are expensive but bwing my adventurous self, I decided to try them. After following instructions to bring them to a boil and tgen allow them to sit for 30 min, the consistency of the plums was like cooked dates, very pasty. They taste like a cross between dates, prunes, and goldenberries. I dont plan on ever using them again at that price.

For the chicken thighs, Paula said to cook them in the tagine at for 20 minutes and then uncover and cook for 10 minutes more. From my experience of cooking Moroccan food and following her other taginevrecipes, most of them mention to cook chicken for an hour in the tagine.

Forcthe squash i feel like a little bit more time is needed for cooking in the skillet to reach desired tenderness.

This is the 1st Wolfert recipe from this book that Ive had issues with. The overall dish was delicious but in the future I would cook the thighs for an hour, substitute less expensive dried fruits such as apricots, and cook the squash longer.

Edited by FlyingChopstik (log)
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