Monday, 6 June 2011

Seasonal eating: cooking on the wood burner

We're having a cold snap, with strong winds and snow in the mountains. It's cool enough to want the fire burning on low if you're in the house during the day (the wood burner is my only form of heating in this house).

If you're going to have a heat source running, it makes sense to use it for food, right? Many of our favourite recipes as a culture evolved to be cooked over a long period over a low fire for the simple reason that was the only source of heat available. Casseroles, roasts, soups, stews. I've often felt that in many ways it's a waste to try to replicate that long-lived heat source using eletricity for long periods of time. Fortunately, although not a cooking stove, my slow-combustion wood burner has two removable grills at the front which allow a cooking vessel to come into contact with the iron of the burner box. Or sit just above it if it's slightly too wide, as is the case with my bean pot.

The meal in question this time was a Mexican fava bean soup, spiced with mint and pasilla chillies. In some places you can buy the fava beans skinned but here I have to buy them whole and skin them. First, I soaked dried fava beans overnight and removed their skins. This is a fiddly process but the end result makes it worth it.

Next I put a small saucepan of water on the woodburner box and brought that to the boil. The water, when boiling, was added to the beans and over the next few hours various seasonings were added as well.

By dinner time I had a lovely delicious filling soup, with no input of elecricity required. Added satisfaction.


Leigh said...

Oh yum! The original slow cooker. I love cooking on my wood heater. I hadn't thought about a ceramic type pot though. Good idea.

Geodyne said...

I couldn't live without my terracotta bean pot. It adds a flavour all its own. It also has the advantage of having thermal mass, so it smooths over the temperature variations inevitable with a woodburner.