Cooking in the VitaClay® Slow Cooker is as close as you can get for flavorful stews with optimal results, just like traditional clay cooking pots that are used all over the world! In winter, people will really enjoy those long-simmering stews, soups and bean dishes that warm the kitchen and scent the air with heartwarming aromas. Personally, I will eat these earthy soups and stews almost all year long. In Belgium where I grew up, you traditionally start a meal with a soup. It still is the season to take advantage of the comforting warmth slow cooked meals radiates both your stomach and your kitchen.
Moroccans use the tagine with its conical lid; the Spanish a lidless cazuela; in Provence, the shallow open dish called a tian. In China and the rest of Asia, people have been cooking and still cook, with clay pots, since ancient civilization.
Cooking in clay pots is an ancient tradition that dates back to the Etruscans. Because of the characteristics of the moist heat of clay pot cooking, excessive amounts of seasonings or fat aren't needed in order to achieve flavorful results. In essence “no fat” is needed, since the clay cooker cooks with a minimum of liquid and retains all the intense flavors of every ingredient, achieved by simmering in their own juices. 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.
Meats cook especially well in clay cookers with the tendency to stay moist and juicy. What I like most is that the clay cooker is one dish; you only use one pot for the whole meal. Great for busy people! A limit amount of preparation time is needed to prepare a dish. Once the ingredients are put into the clay pot, you can leave the house, while VitaClay ® does the work.
Many studies have been carried out which have shown that what we eat can affect our health. It is possible that by eating certain protective foods, we may be able to reduce our risk of developing diseases such as cancer or heart disease. I included several Mediterranean dishes because it is proven that the Mediterranean diet contains many of the foods, which have been shown to have these protective properties. I also added a little Health Note for your reference with every recipe. I am a strong believer that it pays to invest in a lifetime of good eating and to eat well and healthy, without compromising good taste and the pleasures of eating.
Suzanne Vandyck is a culinary instructor, who teaches yearly at the renowned Cordon Bleu institute in Florence (Italy), the heart of Tuscany. Born in Belgium (Europe’s best-kept culinary secret), Suzanne Vandyck inherited her love for cooking from her mother and a country where cooking rituals is a feast every day. She states, “In Belgium, food is a cause to socialize. Its cuisine is historic and gastronomic. We are passionate about good quality food. Belgians are gourmands who enjoy lunches and dinners, which are the focus of sharing with friends and family.” Her culinary style is as global, with strong Mediterranean influences.