Wood Stove Corner

What to Prepare in your Wood Cook Stove?

Wood cook stoves aren't just for the nostalgic antique collector or country-living enthusiast any longer. As evidenced in our previous post, it's definitely possible to use your wood burning cook stove to prepare hearty dinners and flaky pastries. But, what to make?

You'll find endless cooking resources to guide your new adventure in the kitchen - from stove top sirloin recipes to maintenance instructions. Start simple. While cooking on a wood burning cook stove may not be rocket science, it will take some time and practice to master the form. 
Wood cook stoves are notorious for their uneven and unpredictable heat distribution. While using a trivet to lower the heat will help, you can also employ the three different cooking zones on your stove top to remedy this problem. The hottest area will be right over the firebox, either on the right or left side of your stove. The center surface of your wood cook stove will produce moderate heat, and for simmering food over low heat, use the surface space directly opposite the firebox. In this way, you can move the pots around on the stove's surface depending on the heat required for each dish.

Once you've become accustomed to the way your wood burning cook stove operates, you may want to take more chances with your meals. Cooking en papillote offers a simple way to impress your guests and expand dinner offerings. Translated from French as "in paper," this cooking method involves wrapping thin cuts of meat, vegetables, herbs, and other seasonings in an aluminum foil or parchment paper packet before placing these bundles in the oven to cook. This approach of moist-heat cooking works exceptionally well with fish, but it can also be used to make cheesy potatoes, fajitas, and a simple ratatouille.

Cooking en papillote packs a lot of flavor in those little bundles and doesn't require a lot of your time. Once you combine all the ingredients, the steam and flavorful natural juices do the rest. So next time you have guests over for dinner, transition from your usual pot of stew to Salmon en Papillote - it's easy to make and will impress the most critical eater!

Salmon en Papillote

Ingredients (serves two)

  • 2 (8-oz) salmon fillets
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced in discs
  • 1 zucchini, sliced in discs
  • 1 small basket of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 oz. dry white wine
  • 4 oz. broth
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Lemon juice, to taste
  • Butter, cubed, to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • Aluminum foil, in 12x20-inch sheets
  • Accurate oven thermometer
Salmon and Zucchini Baked in Parchment
1. Heat your wood cook stove to approximately 450 degrees. Your oven temperature will fluctuate as the wood burns, so aim for a temperature in this range. If oven starts to cool at any point, add one or two dry pieces of kindling to raise the temperature.

2. While waiting for the oven to heat up, prepare your vegetables by slicing them no more than a 1/4" thick. Place the yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes and onions in a bowl and coat in a thin drizzle of olive oil. 

3. Fold each foil sheet in half, so it measures as a 12x10-in rectangle. Open up the creased foil sheets, placing a salmon fillet on each. Top with vegetable mixture, lemon juice, butter, and seasonings. Fold up the sides of the packet to create a "boat." Pour in broth and drizzle with white wine. 

4. Enclose the foil packets by tightly folding or crimping the sides of the packet together to seal. Make sure that your seal is tightly closed. Then, wrap each packet in foil again to help prevent burning. 

5. Place foil packets inside, avoiding the hot spots in your oven, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove with tongs and unwrap to see if the vegetables and salmon are tender. If not, place back in the oven to cook longer, checking every 5-10 minutes.