Nana Recipe Wednesday–Romertopf Chicken

by Sarah on October 24, 2012

Hey guys, when I was cleaning and rearranging our kitchen, I found my poor old Romertopf clay oven, all covered in grime and dust and gave it a good cleaning.  I figured that it was time that I revisited this recipe and take new photos.  This chicken is as good as ever!

Here’s my Nana in 1951.  That would make her 30 years old.  When Nana was 30, she already had four busy children and a husband with a new pediatrics practice.  I’m sure she was adept at getting dinner on the table without too much effort.

Enter the Romertopf Clay Baker.  You can just put all the stuff in it and forget about it for about an hour.  No fat, no water, no stock.  Just salt and pepper.  It’s fantastic.  I think they run about $40 new, but I see them at thrift stores all the time.

Before you use the Romertopf, you need to soak it in cold water for ten minutes.

All you need is a nice chicken, some onion, and some carrots.  You can even put a few potatoes in the bottom if you wish.

Layer a few cut up carrots and an onion in the bottom of the oven and season with salt and pepper.

One fun trick is to stick a halved or quartered onion up the behind of the chicken.  You could put a lemon in there too.  I don’t think the chicken will mind.

Just sit your seasoned chicken right on top of the vegetables.   If your chicken is huge and you want more vegetables, just put the extras on a sheet pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper.  Put on the lid, making sure it’s closed completely.  Put it into a cold oven, then crank it up to 500*.  Leave it alone for one hour.  After your hour is up, take it out and let it cool a bit because it’s super-freaking hot and you’ll undoubtedly burn yourself. 

I know it’s unexpected, but you’ll end up with a very crispy-skinned bird.  This chicken also remains incredibly moist and juicy on the inside.  It’s a modern miracle.

Look how delicious and homey it is!  A perfect Autumn Sunday dinner, but also very practical for a harried weeknight.  The vegetables get perfectly done and are flavored with the juices of the chicken.  The carrots are dynamite.  Also, the Romertopf website has other recipes to make in the clay baker.  I haven’t tried them, but plan to soon–that Romertopf needs to earn it’s shelf space.  I encourage you to make this very soon.  You will thank me.  And Nana.

Nana's Romertopf Chicken


  • 1 chicken, giblets removed, rinsed and patted dry
  • 4 carrots, peeled and ends trimmed off. Halve the carrots so they will fit.
  • 1 large onion, cut into 8 pieces
  • 4 small potatoes, halved or quartered (if desired)
  • salt & pepper


  • Soak Romertopf in cold water for 10 minutes.
  • Pat the chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with 2 pieces of the onion.
  • In the Romertopf, layer potato, onion, carrots, then chicken. Put on the lid, making sure it fits and is closed all the way. If you have too many vegetables, put them on a sheet pan and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast separately, covered.
  • Place the Romertopf in the center of a cold oven. Turn the oven on and set temperature at 500*. Leave it alone for one hour. Let cool for at least 15 minutes before carving.


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