Meaty Tips

Why Cast Iron is good for slow cooking?

By , Medium Well


As we move into Autumn and the one-pot dish becomes the star again, we asked our friend Richard Stone, founder of Mr Cookshop, to give us his expert take on why cast iron is best for the job.

I've lost count of how many celebrity chefs and cooking programmes are on telly, but I still tune into the likes of Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch and like to see where Rick Stein is off on his travels.

It was actually watching Saturday Kitchen where I first saw James Martin and the team using some great-looking cast iron casserole dishes and the beef they cooked looked so tender.  A visit to a trade fair later and a meeting with Staub, and we decided to stock a range of their cocottes (French casserole pots) to add to our range at Mr Cook Shop.

Being a busy business owner, dad and keen home cook, means our own large Staub cocotte is used at least twice a week for casseroles, curries, chilli con carne, pie fillings, stews, soups and anything that needs slow cooking. The worst bit about cooking is the cleaning up afterwards, but with the cocotte being non-stick it's easily cleaned with warm soapy water.

For centuries, chefs and home cooks have taken advantage of the natural heat retention and redistribution properties of cast iron, which is so versatile it can be used on all heat sources, including induction which even means you can use in an ultra modern kitchen.

So what’s the difference with a good cocotte? The Staub cocotte has a cover with spikes, which enables drops of condensation (rainfall effect) to fall uniformly onto the food simmering below. This self-basting cycle ensures the flavours of the ingredients hold their full intensity and nutrients are preserved. In fact, testing proved that the Staub cocotte lids were 9 times more effective than conventional lids, and 10% more moisture is retained.

So, if you’re after some good quality slow-cooked meals, think about getting durable cast iron cookware, that’s going to cook really well. My advice would be to choose a trusted brand as used by James and his pals. If the chefs are using it, surely you should be too?

If you're interested in buying or finding out about cast-iron or other quality cookware head over to