Thanks to a hot tip from Paula Wolfert's Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking book, I ordered this handsome clay pot and lid from Turkey.
It's very crude and very heavy and just plain feels foreign. I love it.
The instructions said to wash it with soap and water and then rub the insides with margarine. I couldn't bring myself to do that so after washing I rubbed the whole thing, inside and out, with olive oil. It's something I've always felt compelled to do and Paula's book confirms that it's wise.But you know deep inside you're some kind of freak if you get pleasure from rubbing unglazed clay with olive oil. So be it!
I poached chicken in it last night. It takes a while to get hot but once it does, it retains the heat beautifully.
Next I'm going to attempt the clay pot chicken with dates and bulgur from Greg and Lucy Malouf's Turquoise: A Chef's Travels in Turkey. Isn't cooking fun? I don't understand why everybody doesn't agree.
The pot is from tulumba.com. I don't think it's an essential piece for your average kitchen but I'm very happy to have it.