My Mum told me about these thermal cookers you can buy. You cook the ingredients of a casserole, curry, etc. on a hob for 15mins or so, then transfer the food to a thermal cooking vessel. These are essentially big thermos flasks, and keep all the heat inside. Leave it 5-7 hours, and the food has carried on cooking due to the trapped heat inside.
Nick and I both like slow cooking, but in a camper van it's not really practical to have something cooking over heat for hours. The thermal cooker seemed like a good substitute, however, they don't seem to be very popular in the UK, are all too big for two people, and are quite expensive.
So... we decided to see if a normal Thermos flask could do it!
The flask was £20 and is 1.2 litres. For a first test, I made a pork casserole. Here's how it went.
135g pork (I used pig cheek)
3/4 pint stock
Tbsp of cornflower
First I chopped the pork and onion and fried these in a little oil. Then I added the chopped squash, carrot, stock and seasonings (salt, pepper, mixed herbs). I then mixed a little cornflower into a paste to add to the mix to thicken the sauce.
This was all brought to the boil and simmered for 10mins or so. In the meantime, the flask is temporarily filled with boiling water to heat up the chamber.
The casserole is then transferred to the flask, and that's it! Put the lid on and leave for 5-7 hours.
We gave it 5 hours as we were hungry! The results?
Pretty good! The casserole was steaming when we took the lid off. We put it back on the hob for 10mins to bring back to the boil. The sauce was nice and thick, vegetables and meat cooked through. The pig cheek was still a bit fatty - possibly a leaner meat would be better.
Definitely seems like a technique worth perfecting for life on the road!