Cooking with hay/foin/hooi
Hay can of course contribute to cooking by providing heat or as a nesting place for slow cooking, by leaving the pot nested in a bunch of hay for hours.
But much more interesting is to use hay for its original purpose: to provide taste. The animals we eat, usually feed on hay. So the taste of the meat we eat originates in hay. So to use hay as a taste ingredient when cooking is really not that strange.
Meat of lamb is well suited for this. A leg of lamb or a shoulder.
The hay can be any hay, but different kind of hay gives different taste. You can find hay in pet stores. Some have a selection, even a ecological choice, which is a good choice for cooking. But any hay will do. You can also add a more fragrant plant to the hay, such as lavender, rosmary etc.
The process is simple. You take your piece of meat (typically around 2 kgs), your hay, a frying pan, an oven pan, an ½ liter of stock (lamb, veal, chicken). You brown the salted and pebbered meat in the pan on all sides in oil/butter – take your time to get a nice, caramelised surface.
Transfer the piece of meat to the oven pan. Now the hay comes into play.
Its best to have soaked it a while in water, brings out the taste and makes it less burned at the edges. Now you cover the piece of meat with the hay, making sure it is well covered. You pour in the stock and put the pan in the oven at around 220 C for 1½-2 hours.
You will see that the meat has cooked well in the hay, staying moist. And you will taste that the taste of green pastures and summer days in the country have been enhanced in the taste of the meat. And you will have a stock that you can use to make a sauce tasting of green meadows and spring.