The clay baker or a Römertopf was a popular item in the late sixties to early seventies. My mom had a clay baker like this, but I have never seen it being used. I think my mom thought that it was a bit of a hassle to soak the clay baker before use. But if she had know that how moist and juicy a slow roasted chicken gets, I'm sure she would have used it.
The clay baker has got a renaissance in the last few years. You can make a lot of different roasts in it, but you can bake bread in it too.
Avoid drastic temperature changes with a clay baker. Always presoak baker for 30 minutes and always allow to cool before cleaning.
- 1 large whole chicken
- 1 red onion, cut in chunks
- 6 carrots, cut in chunks
- 6 garlic cloves
- 2 lemons, zested and cut or sliced
- 3 sprigs rosemary
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 200 ml white wine
- 800 g fingerling potatoes
Completely submerge top and bottom of the clay baker in water and let soak for minimum 30 minutes prior to cooking.
Zest the lemon, and mix it with the butter together with the chopped rosemary.
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Rub chicken lightly with salt inside and put the chopped up lemon inside too. Gently loosen the skin from the breasts and drumsticks, using your fingers. Rub the butter under the loosen skin, set aside.
Put onion, carrots, garlic, 1 rosemary sprig and the wine in the bottom of the clay baker. Place chicken on top, and rub the chicken with salt. Put lid on the clay baker.
Place clay baker in a cold oven and then turn temperature to 300℉ (150℃). Bake covered for 2 hours, then add the potatoes round the chicken. Cook covered for another 45-60 minutes. If the skin isn’t crispy by now cook the chicken uncovered for about another 15-20 minutes at 430℉ (220℃), until skin is browned and chicken is done.
Remove the chicken from the clay baker at let it stand for 15 minutes before carving.
Drain the liquid into a saucepan, cook it for 10-15 minutes or until reduced to half. You can thicken the liquid if you like it, so you have a sauce.
Serve the chicken with the potatoes and vegetables and a green salad.
(I'm not using a regular rubber band for my cooking, I use Stretch Cooking Bands. They are easy to use, and easy to remove after cooking.)