Wood Stove Cooking

You can use your wood stove for more than just heating your home. Here are some techniques and recipes to try for cooking on a wood stove.


| December/January 1991



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Eggplant wrapped in foil is wonderful when you add basil and tomato slices.


PHOTO: STEVEN MARK NEEDHAM/ENVISION

Most people only consider their woodstove useful for heating a room. And when we purchased ours to cut oil costs, we never gave a thought to using it as a cooking stove.

But one day, bolstered by the surprising amount of heat dispensed by our stove, we tentatively approached it with tea kettle in hand. Once we were successful (with a little patience), we quickly graduated to soups and stews. Though ours doesn't have the versatility of a wood cookstove designed for kitchen duty, it does have some workable similarities.

The surface of our woodstove isn't usually hot enough for frying foods but it is perfect for simmering and slow cooking. We've even managed to use our "oven" (firebox) in much the same way as we use our charcoal grill in the summertime.

Grilling

The hot coals will cook foil-wrapped vegetables or individual packets of meat. For baked potatoes, wrap them in heavy duty foil and place in the hot ashes of the fire. These will take from 45 minutes to one hour to cook.

Corn can be cooked in foil, too. Strip husks down to the end of the ear but don't tear them off. Remove silk, butter generously, and bring husks up around corn, making sure all the kernels are covered. Wrap in double thickness of heavy-duty foil, twist ends, and nestle in hot ashes.

Sliced zucchini can be seasoned with oregano and mixed with chopped tomato and butter. Double wrap and cook in ashes. Small beets can be cooked directly on the hot coals: Just sprinkle them with water, dot with chunks of butter, and double wrap in heavy-duty foil.

suzanne horvath
12/31/2010 1:04:22 PM

I've been considering a wood stove after this latest snowfall. We didn't lose our electricity this time and I had wood for my fireplace, but the smoke and loss of heat containment has given me pause. I could probably save a lot on heating oil also. I do have 2 questions about the cooking examples. Regarding all the heavy duty foil you're using and eventually throwing out - isn't there some kind of small aluminum containers that could be used repeatedly? If they're not lined or perfect, just line with parchment. And about the cast iron dutch oven turned upside down to make a baking oven - why are you turning it upside down? Right side up would work just as well, you could even put a low rack on the bottom so the heat will circulate in the dutch oven. Bread bakes really well in a dutch oven or deep casserole. Check out some of the old-style cooking vessels from China which were designed to be used in a wood burning oven. When I was a kid, we used to throw potatoes (with their skins on) right into the coals of a fire. They would turn black, but the potato on the inside was delicious, tasted better than any oven cooked potato I've ever had. I'm looking forward to trying some of these things. Sometimes the old ways are better in the long run.






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