One of our favourite dishes in the Coombe Farm Organic kitchen is a hefty cast iron pot. Not only is it beautifully crafted and durable, but it’s also incredibly versatile and helps us produce fantastic food.
It’s worth bearing in mind that dishes made from cast iron aren’t the same as those made from, say, stainless steel or ceramic. The talented craftsmen who make these dishes use the highest quality iron available. We love Combekk (a Dutch company) who use 100% recyclable iron, and Netherton Foundry whose pots are made from iron that’s sourced near to their Shropshire base. What these companies have in common is a commitment to using the best of the best.
Iron can stand very high temperatures, meaning it’s suitable for cooking over an open fire. If you’re an enthusiastic outdoor cook you can get creative with cast iron – it can even be buried in coal to make an outdoor oven.
Bread makers can also get a lot from cast iron pots. As the metal can heat up to 300C, they’re perfect for making sourdough. The bread won’t stick and the crust will be as crisp as can be.
Of course, you don’t have to be fancy to appreciate cast iron – they lend themselves to the simplest cooking techniques, too. A weekday casserole, slow-cooked stew or family-fave lasagne can all be cooked in cast iron. And one thing’s for sure: these pots will stand the test of time, even in busy kitchens.
So what do we like to cook in cast iron? Our favourite recipe is slow-braised shin of beef, seasoned with garlic, rosemary and bay and cooked for an hour and a half, buried in the hot coals of an outdoor fire.