Cooking in clay is one of those things that you read about in cookbooks and wonder what the fuss is all about — or at least I did, until my mother gave me this funny little pot one year for Christmas. I have no idea where she found it, it was an odd gift, even for her. For the first few years I had it, I assumed you could only use it in the oven. It wasn’t until I was at a party during one of the Squaw Valley Writers workshops and saw Barbara Hall using hers on her stove that I realized you could do that. She told me she’s had hers for decades, and they only get better the more you cook with them.
I have to say, she was right. I’ve come to love this pot, and it’s sibling, the larger bean pot I found at a garage sale. For beans, there’s nothing better, it imparts this subtle, wonderful clay-y aroma to the beans. I know, doesn’t sound appealing, but believe me, it’s terrific.
This weekend I cooked up a batch of black beans. I like having a quart of beans in the fridge — they’re so handy. A few tablespoons in a tortilla with some leftover rice for lunch, or heated up in a pot then pureed for a quick soup, or again, a spoonful or two added to scrambled eggs for an easy easy dinner. And on a weekend, a pot of beans simmering away on the back of the stove in my old clay pot, makes the house smell like home.