Romertopf's Beggar's Chicken

For teriyaki lovers, here's the finest recipe inspired by the excellent little pamphlet Cook in Clay published by the makers of the Romertopf pot. We've served this dish, with variations, to as many as a dozen guests with never anything less than ecstatic results. The chicken comes out tender and full of flavor, especially after being marinated in this incredible sauce. You can add all sorts of Chinese or Japanese seasonings, but be sure they stay on the bland side. Caution: Don't add any salt-there's enough in any good soy sauce. (We prefer the rich, heavy soy sauce bottled in Hong Kong in a brown stone jug by Ko Sang Yick.)

Ingredients

  • 1 frying chicken (4 pounds), cut into sections
  • Arrowroot

Marinade

  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • ¼ teaspoon Chinese Five Spices (see note)
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 clove pressed garlic
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root

Method

In a non-metal bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade, mix well, and marinate the pieces of chicken for at least half a day, turning frequently.

When ready to cook, presoak pot, top and bottom, in water for 15 minutes.

Add the chicken and the marinade to the pot.

Place covered pot in a cold oven.

Set temperature to 450 degrees.

Cook 45 minutes.

Ten minutes before end of cooking time, remove the pot and pour off the liquid into a saucepan.

Return the pot to the oven, uncovered, for the final 10 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile, bring the liquid in saucepan to a boil and thicken with arrowroot.

Serve with rice, liberally drenched with the sauce.

For an optional Chinese touch, sprinkle the chicken with almonds and sesame seeds.