The benefits of using cast iron pots for your winter recipes are plentiful, from their ability to reach and retain high temperatures to the versatility of being able to be used on the stove as well as in the oven, let’s not forget how durable they are. Cast iron cookware is designed to last a lifetime – if you look after them. If you’re wondering how to clean a cast iron pot, the trick is to avoid using metal scouring pads and instead stick to a little bit of soap and a sponge. Never let your cast iron pots soak and make sure to dry and rub them down immediately after you wash them.
So, what are you waiting for? Chase away those winter chills and start cooking with cast iron today.
Poh’s Favourite Cast Iron Recipes for Winter
1kg chicken thighs, cut in half
200g button mushrooms
12 baby brown pickling onions, peeled, top and tailed or 3 small-medium brown onions, peeled, cut into bit size chunks
3 rashers smoky bacon, sliced into thin buttons
3 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed or finely chopped
1 medium brown onion, peeled, diced 5mm
1 carrot, peeled, diced 5mm
1 stick celery, diced 5mm
12 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
750ml red wine
2 tsp powdered chicken stock
50g butter, softened
1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 cup roughly chopped flatleaf parsley
1 tsp salt and pepper or to taste
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tbsp cognac or any brandy
1-2 red wine vinegar
3/4 cup milk
Salt & black pepper to taste
GREEN LEAF SALAD
250g green lettuce leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp dijon
Salt & black pepper to taste
Brown the chicken pieces with a dash of olive oil, in a single layer, on both sides, in the pot over high heat. Transfer chicken to a plate. Pop a bit more oil in the pot, then brown the onions well. Transfer the baby brown onions to a medium small bowl. Next brown the mushrooms – this will need more oil than you think, then transfer them into the same bowl as the onions.
Combine about 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the bacon, garlic, diced onion, carrot, celery, thyme and bay leaves in the pot and cook over medium heat until softened but not coloured. Stir in the wine and powdered stock, then return the chicken, browned onions and mushrooms to the pot. Add 1 tsp of salt and pepper stir, cover and bring to the boil. Remove the lid and reduce to a simmer. When the chicken is cooked through, mash the butter and flour into a paste and mix into the red wine sauce until it thickens. Taste and season further with salt, pepper and red wine vinegar if required.
To make the salad, shake the olive oil, lemon juice and dijon in a small glass jar until mixed well. Pour over salad leaves with seasoning and toss with clean hands to combine.
To make the mashed potato, place them in a saucepan and cover them whole in well salted water, then boil until tender. Pass through a sieve or potato ricer, mix in the butter and enough milk to reach the texture you like. Taste then season with salt and pepper. Serve with the chicken and a garnish of parsley to finish. Place salad in the middle of the table to share.
2-3 large eggplants (3 if you love eggplant like me), sliced 5mm lengthways
2 large capsicums
500g minced pork
500g minced lamb OR beef
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp dried oregano
2 cardamon pods, bashed lightly
120g grated parmesan cheese
2 medium onions, peeled, diced 5mm
2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed or finely chopped
800g tin crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
3 cups milk
1 small onion, studded with 4-5 cloves & 1 large bay leaf
100g unsalted butter
1/2 cup plain flour
Salt to taste
1/2 iceberg lettuce, diced 2cm
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
3/4 continental cucumber, quartered lengthways, sliced 5mm
1 small salad onion, sliced thinly
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
Season the eggplant pieces on one side and grill on a very hot barred cast iron skillet adding a little olive oil with each batch. The eggplant pieces should have distinctly dark bars of charring on both sides.
To char the capsicums, line a medium baking tray with foil. Slice down one side of each capsicum, then flatten every part out, skin side up. Place on the highest shelf possible in the oven and blast on 200ºC on grill function until the skin is completely blackened. Remove from the oven and scrunch the foil from all sides to seal the heat and steam in. Set aside for about 5 minutes, then peel all the skin off and shop the capsicum very finely.
To prepare the meat, place the lamb (or beef) and pork in a nonstick frypan with a dash of olive oil. Cook on high heat until all the moisture has evaporated, then add the cumin, cinnamon, oregano and cardamon. Stir and chop through with a spatula until the mince is separated and nicely browned.
To make the sauce, combine the onions and garlic in a non-stick frypan with a good dash of olive oil and sauté until soft and fragrant but not coloured. Add the capsicum, tomato and sage. Simmer for about 2 minutes, then add to the browned mince and spice mixture.
To make the bechamel sauce, heat the milk in a small saucepan with the onion studded with cloves and the bay leaf until simmering. Meanwhile, combine the butter and flour in a medium non-stick saucepan over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is foaming. Discard the onion, cloves and bay leaf then whisk in half the milk until it thickens. Add the remaining milk whisking briskly until smooth. Taste and season with salt.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan forced. To assemble, grease the base of the pot with olive oil, then layer ¼ of the eggplant slices to cover the base. Next, spread ¼ of the spiced mince and tomato sauce over the eggplants. Repeat until all the eggplant and sauce is used, then spread the bechamel evenly over the top. Finish with an even sprinkle of parmesan, then bake on the middle shelf until the cheese is golden brown.
To make the salad dressing, combine all the dressing ingredients in a clean glass jar and shake until mixed well. Pour over the chopped salad ingredients in a bowl and toss until everything is well coated.
1 large brown onion, peeled, diced 5mm
2 cloves garlic, peeled, thinly sliced
1L chicken stock
300g Jerusalem artichokes, rinsed & scrubbed, sliced thinly
Salt to taste & ground white pepper
Finely sliced chives or picked chervil leaves for garnish (optional)
2 tbsp plain flour
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
Combine 50g of the butter, olive oil, onion and garlic on the cast iron pot and cook over medium-low heat until soft and translucent but not coloured. Add the stock and Jerusalem artichokes and simmer until the Jerusalem artichokes are tender. With a stick blender, blitz the soup base until smooth.
In another medium saucepan, melt the remaining butter over medium heat, then stir in the flour and cook until it becomes foamy. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Whisk into the soup base until combined and thickened. Add cream, then the salt and pepper to taste and serve garnished with chives or chervil. If the mixture seems a little thick, stir in a little milk.
6 large croissants, each torn into roughly 6 pieces
3 cups frozen berries
1/2 cup dried currants
1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds
2-3 tbsp icing sugar
120g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
6 large eggs
30ml Frangelico OR zest of 1/2 lemon or orange (optional)
250g thickened cream
25g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Grease the cast iron pot well with butter. Preheat the oven to 170ºC fan forced.
To prepare the Chantilly cream, whisk the cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Refrigerate until needed.
To make the custard, combine all the custard ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well.
Throw all the croissant pieces in the custard to soak. Meanwhile sprinkle 1/3 of the berries and currants, then 1/4 of the almonds evenly over the bottom of the pot. Layer with a third of the croissant pieces, together with a third of the custard. Repeat twice with another layer of the berries, currants and almonds, then the croissants and custard. Sprinkle the last of the almonds on the surface, then a dusting of the icing sugar and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top forms a golden crust. Serve with a dollop of Chantilly cream.