Do you ever wonder why some cookbooks have dust jackets, especially when the hard cover of the book is exactly the same as the print on the dust jacket? Me too.
The Best of Clay Pot Cooking by Dana Jacobi was a book I bought in the hope of finding recipes to use my clay pot more often. Clearly this wasn’t something that I did, mostly because I realised I’d need two ovens and two clay pots to cook for both the meat eaters and the vegetarian in the household. The other drawback, from my perspective, is that this book is very USian oriented, so there are some recipes which contain ingredients I would find difficult to source in Australia, and the US Imperial measurements are annoying to convert too.
I made two dishes from this book, because that’s all I could fit into my weekend, and despite some of the other recipes looking very lovely, I don’t think I’ll make any more as the conversion and the ingredients make it less appealing to do so. Overall I give it 3 stars out of 5.
(Recipes below have been modified to include Australian ingredient names)
Chicken Tagine with Green Olives and Preserved Lemon
- 8 large chicken thighs, skinned
- 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup finely chopped coriander
- 1/2 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron, crushed
- 2 cups Greek green olives
- 1/2 Moroccan Preserved Lemon, or lemon juice to taste
- juice of 1 lemon
- salt and black pepper
- Arrange the chicken thighs in one layer in a medium sized tagine or Dutch oven. Spring the onion, coriander, parsley, garlic, cumin, paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper and saffron over the chicken. Add 2 cups of water and cover the pot.
- If using a tagine, set it on a flame-tamer over medium heat. If using a Dutch oven, set over medium-high heat; the fame-tamer is not necessary. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce the heat and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the olives: Place the olives, one at ta time, on a cutting board and smash firmly with the flat side of a heavy knife. Remove the pit (or you know, buy pitted olives).
- Add the olives, preserved lemon, and lemon juice to the tagine and continue cooking about 20 minutes, until the chicken meat is falling off the bones. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Notes on this recipe:
- Its a lot of olives, which is good if you like olives (I don’t)
- Really, just buy pitted olives
- As you can see from my photo, it’s really really watery. I’d suggest just adding 1 cup of water, and adding additional water if it looks like it’s drying out. It probably won’t.
- This went really well with the bread (below)
Moroccan Semolina Bread
- 2 tablespoons of cornmeal
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup rye flour
- 2 – 2 1/4 cups semolina flour
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds
- Grease the round bottom of a covered stoneware bread baker with a little oil, and sprinkle with the cornmeal.
- In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in the oil, cumin seeds, and salt. With a wooden spoon, stir in the all-purpose flour and rye flour, and with enough of the semolina to make a very stiff dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a work surface dusted with about 2 tablespoons of semolina flour. Being to knead the dough, incorporating small mounts of the remaining semolina flour. Use only as much as needed to produce a smooth and elastic dough. Continue to knead for about 10 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a round loaf and place it on the bottom of the prepared baker. Gently brush about 1 teaspoon of water over the surface of the dough. Sprinkle on the sesame seeds and gently pat them to adhere. Place the dome cover over the baker on top, and set aside in a warm, draft-free place for about 30 minutes, until doubled in bulk.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to about 200C.
- Bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 – 12 minutes, until the crust is a nice golden brown. the bread is done when it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove and let cool on a wire rack. Serve the loaf whole and let the diners break off pieces.
Notes on this recipe:
- I used my romatoff clay pot to bake this bread, lining it with baking paper and putting it in a cold oven. It came out perfectly.
- Oh and it’s delicious too.