Cooking in clay pot, especially beef stew in clay pot has a very special place in Turkish cuisine, but it’s not a pot many Turkish people use very often. Everyone agrees that the food becomes more tasty when cooked in clay pot, but most probably, because of the cooking time, it is not preferred much. You know it is a way of slow cooking, which gives the wonderful taste to dishes.
We always wanted to have one, but we just didn’t know where to buy it. You can’t buy it from an ordinary shopping mall if you want a good pot. So a few weeks ago when we were just strolling downtown, we discovered a small shop which sells handmade clay pots. We liked the shop owner as much as his pots as he was so willing to share what he knows about his products and he even shared some recipes with us! He told us that it’s better to buy the pot unglazed as it is healthier, and we did so.
Just as he told us, before starting to use the pot, we brushed it with olive oil and heated it in oven at 200C for an hour. Then the color of the pot became more remarkable, it looked like it had been used for many years. We loved this antique appearance of our newly bought pot.
The first dish we cooked in it was absolutely beef stew, which is identified with clay pot in our cuisine. It was incredible! It tastes definitely different from beef stew cooked in a metal pot. We got our first bite and interestingly we had the same feeling. We started to tell each other how it reminded us of our grandmothers’ dishes. We have tried several dishes in it since then, we even made some of them more than three times. So what did we cook in it? Dried beans with Turkish pastırma, salmon with vegetables and stuffed cabbage rolls are some of them. I’m going to share these too, but the first will absolutely be beef stew, our favorite! We enjoyed it with bulgur pilaf and cacik.
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lbs boneless beef chuck, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 2 green peppers, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic
- 3 tomatoes, cut in rings
- 2 cups hot water
- ½ tbsp pepper paste
- 1 tsp salt
- A pinch of black pepper
- Heat olive oil in clay pot, add onions and beef. Cook it over medium high heat until beef absorbs the water it releases.
- Add chopped pepper, garlic cloves and tomatoes in this order. Do not mix them.
- Mix pepper paste, salt and black pepper with 1 cup hot water. Pour it in the pot.
- Cover it with a lid. Cook it over low heat for an hour.
- Heat oven at 180C.
- Pour 1 cup extra water in the pot and cook in oven for another one hour.
- Serve it hot with fresh bread or pilaf and cacik.