Mr Washy just got back his claypot from his sister. Hooray! A claypot is very useful both on the stove and in the oven. There are a few types of claypots ranging from the east to the west.

Moroccans use the tagine with its conical lid; the Spanish a lidless cazuela; in Provence, the shallow open dish called a tian is also the dish cooked in it.  Other vessels of earthenware or stoneware include chicken bricks, tandoor pots, potato or bean pots, garlic or onion takers, souffle' dishes, pie dishes, glazed ceramic casseroles and Chinese sand pots - all great ways to cook many kinds of food, but especially good for slow-cooked dishes.

A clay cooker is a single pot or vessel that can serve as a vegetable steamer, stew pot, soup kettle, fish poacher, brick oven and roaster.  Clay is a porous material which, when saturated with water and heated in the oven, provides slow evaporation of steam from the pores.  This creates a moist enclosed environment that results in increased flavor, very tender meats and healthier foods.  Clay pots require less fat, use less liquid, require little tending and can even brown meats.


  • Food cooks with a minimum of liquid and no additional fat.
  • Food browns in clay, even with the lid on.
  • More of the essential nutrients and vitamins are retained in foods cooked in clay pots because food cooks in a closed environment with limited liquids.
  • The ridges on the bottom of clay cookers elevate the contents to help the steam encircle the food and assist in totally browning the meat.
  • As long as you don’t overfill the cooker, your oven will remain clean.
  • Clay cookers may be used in the microwave very successfully.  It is best to use lower power settings.
  • Food can be kept warm by leaving the lid on the cooker after removing it from the oven without overcooking.
  • Meats cook especially well in clay cookers because they have a tendency to stay moist and juicy.
  • You only use one pot for the whole meal.
  • Unglazed clay cookers can soak up a considerable amount of water.  This is best for tenderizing meats because of the super steaming quality.  Use this type of pot for tougher cuts of meat, stews roasts, poultry, poaching, steaming and microwaving.
  • Glazed clay cookers have a glaze which usually only covers the bottom cooker for easier cleaning.  There are oval and rectangular bakers, pie plates and casseroles and these are useful for recipes that do not benefit from the super steaming quality.  Try cooking dishes like lasagna and other pastas, casseroles and baked goods.  These are lovely for use as serving pieces and may come in colors.

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