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Terra Cotta Pot Cooking

February 16, 2016

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In the cold days of winter, nothing is as satisfying as a slow-cooked meal.  One of my favorite cooking vessels is an Italian terra cotta cooker – a low-tech, time-honored clay pot that when heated, creates the gentle heat of a clay oven.  Left on low heat, ingredients can stay on the stove for more than 24 hours — never drying out, never burning.  The slow even heat generated in the earthenware pot keeps vegetables tender, while making meat incredibly tender.

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Mediterranean-style Chicken with Lemons and Capers

Into the pot all at once place chopped onion, garlic, carrots, mushrooms, potatoes and parsley; sliced lemons and kalamata olives; generous amounts of capers, hot pepper flakes, smoky paprika, salt and freshly-ground pepper; diced chicken; chicken broth and white wine.

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No oil or fat is needed with this method of cooking; food simply does not stick, dry out or burn.

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Onto the stove the pot goes, lid on, at the lowest possible setting.  It can truly stay there for 24 hours, or more.  The longer it cooks, the more tender it becomes.

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When done, the chicken is tender and flavorful, vegetables perfectly cooked; the lemon’s tartness is a perfect accompaniment to the saltiness of the olives and capers.  Serve with a  drizzle of olive oil and chopped fresh parsley, and a spoonful of saffron-infused rice for a perfectly satisfying, healthy (and no-fat) mid-winter meal.

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