Clay pot rice.
Every good protagonist has an arch
nemesis–that certain someone or something that throws off your game.
Captain Ahab had Moby Dick. The Coyote had the Roadrunner. Me? For a
short time, my cooking nemesis was Clay Pot Rice. This tasty, one-pot
dish is deceptively tricky. “How tough could this possibly be?” I
thought to myself before attempting it. I found that it’s tough enough
that any wrong move can set off fire alarms and leave your dinner
tasting like the inside of an ashtray. After a few failed attempts
(ranging from mildly unsuccessful to Def Con 4-level failure), this
tweaked recipe is the successful result of some experimentation and
borrowing here and there from other recipes. The result? Clay pot
Prep time: ~45 minutes (including
Total cooking time: ~60 minutes
- 2 lbs chicken breast cut into
- 4 sweet Chinese sausage diagonally
cut into thick slices (sweet Italian pork sausage works in a pinch)
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 3 cups rice (washed/drained until
water is clear)
- Salt and pepper
- MSG (put the Mmmmmmm in MSG)
- 6-7 cups chicken stock
- Broccoli greens (or spinach) chopped
into .25-inch strips
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 1 tbsp simple syrup
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- 1/2 cup chopped green onion
- Clay pot
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Wooden spoon
- Combine the soy sauce, ginger, simple syrup, sesame oil and corn
starch in a bowl and whisk until ingredients are combined.
- Add the chicken, Chinese sausage and most of the sliced green
onions (set some aside for garnish) to the bowl and mix until they
- Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (overnight
- Add peanut oil to the clay pot and bring heat to high.
- When the oil begins to get ripples, add the rice and salt and
sauté the rice until the rice becomes translucent. Stir frequently
to keep the rice from burning.
- Add the chicken stock so that the level is roughly 1 inch above
the level of the rice. Season with salt, pepper and MSG to taste.
- Gradually bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer until
the stock has evaporated to the rice level. You will notice tiny
holes form in the rice at this point. How long this step takes
depends on your range. I recommend keeping a close watch on the
rice/stock mixture in this step to avoid turning the rice on the
bottom into carbon. Trust me on this. I’ve carbonized the rice on
the bottom, which then essentially turns the clay pot into a smoker
and your rice will end up tasting like it was baked inside of an ash
tray. Also, I recommend using a wooden spoon to occasionally stir
the rice at the bottom of the pot to help keep it from carbonizing.
- Add marinated chicken and sausage and stir into the rice. Cover
the clay pot.
- Carefully transfer the covered clay pot into a preheated
350-degree oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
- Carefully open the cover of the clay pot and give it a good
- Add the broccoli greens to the top of the rice mixture (do not
stir in), then cover again.
- Turn heat to 500 degrees and bake for 1 minute only once your
oven reaches 500. I’m not really sure why this step is important,
but I know that it is important. Perhaps it super-heats the pot and
keeps it from cooling too fast when the heat is turned down in the
- Immediately reduce heat to 180 degrees.
- Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. The key in this step is to
wilt the greens and soften up any broccoli stalk that ended up in
- Turn heat off and remove the clay pot from oven
- Let the rice rest for 5 minutes in the pot with the lid on.
- Mix broccoli greens into rice and garnish with chopped green