Green Goddess: Hay box cooking

Long Lunch 05/06/2018
Photo: Stock

Hay box cooking by Wendyl Nissen.

In the old days this was done using an old wooden box filled with newspaper and straw. The principle is that the insulation keeps the heat in and is the equivalent of a slow cooker. I’ve adapted it for modern-day use and it works a treat. It’s great for cheaper cuts of meat, which need slow cooking to become tender. If you are heading to the caravan, as we often do, it can cook in the back of the car on your journey, and when you get there dinner is ready. If you’re camping, or using a gas bottle to get through a power cut, this is a great way of conserving the energy you use.

Recipe for hay box cooking:
a small insulated chiller bag or chilly bin
some hay if you have it, for old times’ sake 
a big old woollen blanket or sleeping bag
a good heavy casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid (I use our Le Creuset)
your casserole ingredients

Line the bottom of your chiller bag or bin with a stack of newspaper about 5-cm thick.

Cook your casserole as you normally would on the stove for 20 minutes until it is well heated through and bubbling.

Keeping the lid on, remove the casserole from the heat. Wrap tightly in the woollen blanket and place it in the chiller bag or bin. It must fit snugly, if not, you need to get a smaller bag or bin. Pad all the corners and air pockets with screwed up newspaper and hay, lay another 5 cm of newspaper on top and zip up the chiller bag. The idea is that there are no gaps through which heat can escape, so it should be a tightly wrapped casserole bundle.

Set aside and leave for 6 hours.

You will open it up to discover the most amazing casserole, which will just need a few moments reheating to serve. Enjoy.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.