This recipe seems specific; it is catered to those who own a clay cooker. (Although, I am quite confident it could be done in a dutch oven as well.) But let me talk about why you should invest in a clay cooker for just a minute.
During my first trimester of this pregnancy, I found myself battling some serious “morning” sickness. (Morning! HA!) And with it came some serious aversions to food. I was sick of all my regular recipes and all I wanted to eat were meat and potatoes. Enter Shelley. Shelley is one of my best friends I met back when we lived in Princeton; our husbands attended seminary together and we were both high school teachers. Shelley serves as inspiration for me; she is a true homemaker. So when I found myself in a cooking slump, I knew Shelley would have the solution. Lo and behold, she had many ideas and recipes for me to try. One of the ideas she had was to invest in a clay cooker to roast chicken and veggies. She refuses to make roast chicken any other way. I love roasting chicken so the idea of a clay cooker sounded wonderful. I’m a cheap person who likes to find any way I can around ordering “pricey” kitchen things; now it might have been the sickness talking, but I knew I needed to get this ASAP. And let me tell you, it was worth every penny. My roast chicken has NEVER been so savory or juicy as the clay cooker makes it. And I love using it for other things besides chicken so it was worth the investment. My mom liked the idea so much that we went searching all over the Twin Cities for one during one of my recent visits. They’re not easy to find in stores, but if you are like me and do the majority of your shopping on Amazon anyway, then this is no problem. (Note: we ended up getting my mom one off Amazon as well.) Here’s where you can find the one I have, unfortunately, the price was lower when I got it and it was eligible for free shipping.
For Christmas, my Dad bought me a clay cooker cookbook and although I have only made two recipes from it, they have both turned out really well. This recipe was adapted from the North African Pot Roast recipe from said book. I will definitely be sharing the other one I made sometime in the near future. So, if you don’t have a clay cooker, I would still try this recipe in a dutch oven, but just know that investing in a clay cooker should be in the back of your mind…
Now onto the Pot Roast:
The night before, soak 1 cup dried chickpeas in water to soften.
Wait, so I have to think about the recipe the night before I make it? Trust me, it turned me off as well, but what can you do?
Soak the clay cooker for 15 minutes
The reason why clay cookers are so amazing is that they’re unglazed and you soak them in water for 15 minutes before using. The cooker soaks up all the moisture and releases it during the cooking process, leaving your meat wonderfully tasty and juicy. Since the cooker is unglazed, it can be a little specific. You’re not supposed to wash like you would any other pot or pan because the soaker will soak up all the soap. Also, you put the clay cooker into a cold oven and let it warm up gradually otherwise it would crack. But like I said, totally worth it.
In a bowl, combine the chickpeas, 1/2 onion (chopped or grated), 5 cloves garlic, 1/2 teaspoon each of black pepper, cinnamon and turmeric. Pour the mixture into the clay cooker.
Normal people chop onion, I grate it. If you’ve read my past posts, you know why…
Also, you will notice in the picture that I have sweet potatoes in this mixture. I DO NOT RECOMMEND PLACING YOUR SWEET POTATOES IN THIS MIXTURE!!!! You can do it, but any of my sweet potatoes that ended up under the meat got mushier and fell apart. The ones that were beside the meat stayed in tact and were perfect. It’s not the end of the world, but if we’re going to do it, let’s do it right, no?
Place 2 pounds chuck or beef brisket on top of the mixture and arrange 2 cut-up sweet potatoes and 4 eggs around the beef.
Now, yours will look a little different because all of your sweet potatoes will be arranged around the meat (as much as possible) instead of mostly underneath. But let me tell you that those sweet potatoes that were beside the meat, they were perfect.
Add 4 cups chicken broth until the meat and potatoes are almost covered. If more liquid is needed, add water.
Cover the cooker and place in a cold oven. Set the temperature to 300ºF and cook for about 4 hours.
Remember not to place the clay cooker into a hot oven. The extreme temperature change can cause the cooker to crack. For this reason, I also make sure when I take the cooker out of the oven to put it on a wood board. Placing it on a cool surface after being in a hot oven can also cause it to crack. (But seriously, the cooker isn’t as high maintenance as I make it sound. If it was a pain, I wouldn’t recommend it.)
Once the dish is done cooking, peel and quarter the eggs. Cube the meat and spoon out the potatoes and chickpea mixture with a slotted spoon.
Place the chickpea mixture on plates and top with the meat, potatoes and eggs.
Do you own a clay cooker? I would love to hear how you use yours!
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