Posts Tagged ‘romertopf baker’

Sometimes, our curries are complicated concoctions involving a wide range of spices and condiments, blended together in carefully measured quantities.

Other times, they’re all-in-one stews that are quick to prepare with minimal washing up at the end of the meal.  This is the one I make during holidays, when I’m feeling particularly lazy.

It begins with a good Malaysian curry powder – I use either Lingam’s or the classic Ayam Brand curry powder that my mother always kept in her pantry…

  • 1-2 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 – 4 rounded dessertspoons of curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sweet soy
  • juice of half a lemon
  • salt to taste
  • curry leaves (optional)
  • 1.5kg chicken pieces (I used drumsticks)
  • potatoes, peeled if necessary and cut into chunks
  • 1 tin coconut cream
  • water
  • oil for frying

1. Preheat the oven to 175C (350F) with fan. In a small food processor, blitz the onion, garlic, curry powder, soy sauce, salt and lemon juice to form a thick paste.

2. Heat a little oil in a large pot (I used my Emile Henry Risotto Pot) and fry off the paste for a minute or so until pungent.  Add the curry leaves and coconut cream and stir to combine.  Then add the chicken pieces and turn them in the sauce to coat.  Add a little more water if required to ensure that the chicken pieces are mostly submerged.

3. Put the lid on the pot and bake in the oven for an hour.  After that time, remove the pot from the oven and add the potatoes, gently working them into the sauce.  Replace the lid and return to the oven for 45 minutes, then remove the lid and bake uncovered for a further 15 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. Serve with steamed or boiled rice.

I’ve also made this curry in our Römertopf Baker, and the method is even easier.

Rub the onion/garlic/curry powder mixture over the chicken pieces, and then lay them out, with all the residual paste, in the presoaked Römertopf.  Pour over the coconut milk and a little water, stir gently to mix the sauce up a bit, then cover the pot and place it in a cold oven.  Turn the temperature up to 200C with fan and bake for two hours, adding the chopped potatoes halfway through the cooking time.  Remove the lid near the end if necessary to thicken up the sauce.  Enjoy!

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In my kitchen…

…is a blue Chinese teapot that I bought for my sister-in-law Katey.  She likes her teapots to have a handle on the top, so when I saw this one at the Chinese grocery store for just $6.95, I picked it up for her…

In my kitchen…

…is a copy of Abla’s Lebanese Kitchen.  I borrowed Maude’s copy to make fattoush salad, and was so impressed that I bought my own.  It’s written by Abla Amad, legendary chef of Abla’s Restaurant in Melbourne…

In my kitchen…

…is our all-in-one Römertopf dinner.  I layered orzo and lentils with continental sausage and then topped it with pieces of confit duck…

In my kitchen…

…is a gift from my lovely friend Tezza, a Royal Albert mug based on a hundred year old design.  I’ve made the boys promise that they’ll never put it in the dishwasher…

In my kitchen…

…is a batch of our rocky road, filled with toasted almond slivers and homemade marshmallows.  I coated it in my new chocolate blend, and it’s very moreish…

. . . . .

Tell me, what’s happening in your kitchen this month?

If you’d like to do an In My Kitchen post on your own blog, please feel free  to use this format, and to leave a comment here linking back to your post.  We’d all love to see what’s happening in your kitchen every month too!

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On a whim yesterday, we bought a duck during our visit to the butchers. We’d never cooked a duck before, and thought it might be fun to try. Pete suggested that we roast the bird in our Römertopf clay baker, and it worked brilliantly!

We began by washing the bird under running water and removing any loose fat.  It was dried and rubbed with a little Maldon salt, then laid in the presoaked clay baker and covered with the lid.  The Römertopf baker needs to be submerged in cool water for at least 15 minutes before use, and it needs to go into a cold oven to ensure it doesn’t crack.

Once the pot was in the oven, the temperature was set to 200C with fan, and the duck was left to bake for two hours with the lid on.  We took it out a couple of times during the cooking process and carefully poured the excess fat and liquid into a bowl.  After the initial two hours, the bird was given an additional half an hour with the lid off to brown.

Edit July 14: we now bake the bird for 40 minutes at 200C with fan (lid on), followed by 2 hours at 150C with fan (lid on), then finish at 175C with fan (lid off) to brown and crisp. The fat and stock are poured off at both the 40 minute mark and when the lid is removed near the end. This results in a super tender duck!

Despite the long oven time, the meat was very tender – possibly a product of the clay baker, which effectively steamed the bird as it was roasting.  And because we’d poured the excess liquid off, the end result wasn’t particularly fatty, which was somewhat surprising.

We served the roast duck with our homemade plum sauce, steamed rice and a side of stir-fried green vegetables.

. . . . .

The bowl of liquid we’d drained off as the duck was roasting was left overnight in the fridge, during which time it separated and set.  This morning I was able to stash into my freezer a container of duck fat, which will be perfect for very naughty roast potatoes…

…and a container of the most wonderfully concentrated duck stock.  It set to a solid jelly – an indication of the high gelatin content.  It will form the basis of a delicious mushroom risotto in the near future.

We always roast chickens (and now ducks) in the Römertopf baker.  There are several reasons for this – the oven stays clean (notice how that was my first consideration?), and because the pot is presoaked, the cooked meat is moist and flavoursome.

However, the real bonus is that we end up with a small container of fantastically concentrated stock, which forms the basis of a second meal.  I believe that if we’re going to eat meat, then we have a responsibility not to waste any of it, so being able to extend it just that little bit further makes me very happy!

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You know what?  I’d never stuffed a chicken before.

As I’ve mentioned previously, my Chinese mother used her oven for storing plates, so we never had roasts or homemade cakes.  That certainly isn’t a complaint, as mum more than made up for it with the most amazing meals.  But a roast chicken, well, it just wasn’t culturally congruous.

So despite my friend Ellen’s misgivings (“you can’t blog about stuffing a chook!”), here is my first attempt. We roasted the chicken in our Römertopf baker and, as always, were completely delighted with the results.

Ingredients: shallots (you could use onions, I just had these on hand), organic garlic, fresh sage leaves from the garden and leftover sourdough bread…and an egg.

1. Soak the clay pot in a sink full of cold water for at least 15 minutes. Tear the bread into large pieces and food process into large crumbs.

2. Chop the shallots and garlic, then fry them briefly in a little oil to soften.  Add them to the breadcrumbs, finely chopped sage and egg, and mix the stuffing together to form a moist paste.  Season with a little salt and pepper. You might need to squelch it together with a clean hand.

3. Loosely stuff the cavity of a prepared chicken – ours was a large free-range bird, weighing in at about 1.6kg.

4.  Lay scrubbed and halved potatoes over the base of the presoaked baker. Scatter over some extra garlic cloves and any leftover stuffing.

5. Remove any excess fat, then rub the chicken all over with a little olive oil,  a little caramelised balsamic vinegar (optional), salt and freshly ground black pepper. Sit it breast side down on top of the potatoes.  You might need to adjust the spuds a bit, depending on the size of your bird.  The nice thing about the clay baker is that you really only need to add the tiniest bit of oil – the chicken will mostly baste in its own juices, flavouring the other ingredients as it does so.

Note that the potatoes will boil and bake in the rendered fat and juices, so don’t be surprised if there’s a lot of liquid at the base after the chicken is cooked.  And don’t panic, it’s not all fat, most of it is chicken stock which hasn’t evaporated because the pot is sealed.  Just lift the cooked potatoes out with a slotted spoon at the end.

6. Put the lid on the clay baker, and place it into a cold oven.  Turn the temperature to 200C with fan and allow the pot to bake for one and a half hours.  Remove the lid and allow it to roast for another half an hour or until golden brown and cooked through.

One roast chicken comfortably feeds all four of us, with nothing left over. Small Man eats the drumsticks and wings, Big Boy eats the thighs and a little of the breast meat, Pete eats the rest of the breast and I get the wonderfully bony backbone with all the bits of offal stuck to it!

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Following on from yesterday’s post – here’s our first attempt at roast lamb in the Römertopf clay baker!

We rubbed our two and a half kilo leg of lamb with a little extra virgin olive oil, fresh rosemary and salt, then studded it with small pieces of garlic.  In order to fit it into the presoaked clay pot, we had to cut the leg into two pieces (there is a convenient joint where the shank connects to the upper part of the leg).  Once divided, the lamb fit neatly into the Römertopf over a bed of potatoes.

The covered baker went into a cold oven, which was then set at 200C with fan.  It was baked for two hours with the lid on, and then uncovered for a further half an hour to allow the meat to brown.  As the pot is presoaked  prior to use, the lamb is both steamed and roasted as it bakes.  The pot allows a little flexibility with cooking times and, as an added bonus, the oven stays nice and clean.

The end result was a tender, moist, well done leg of lamb (Pete’s too old school for pink lamb) which provided both dinner that night, and shepherd’s pie the following day!

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