Cast Iron Recipes

pretty.gurlNovember 20, 2012

I have a cast iron wok and small dutch oven that were collecting dust until last week. I really want to start putting them to good use. I did a general search on GW which provided a ton of threads mainly on the purchase of cast iron. Where do you find your recipes for cast iron?

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No specific recipes, I just cook almost everything in cast iron. Use the wok for all your stir fries and the dutch oven for casseroles and stews.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 6:42PM
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I don't think an acidic food such as tomatoes should be cooked in cast iron. But that's what my mother always said so I don't know from personal experience. One of the few times I listened to her I guess.

Annie1992 should know. I know she uses her cast iron dutch oven for frying fish. Perhaps she will weigh in on your question.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 7:04PM
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Goodness, cast iron is my pan of choice for foods containing tomatoes. and anything else. I cook anything and everything in my cast iron pans. They are so versatile.

My feeling is that if it needs to be cooked or baked, most likely it can be cooked in cast iron, and will be better for it. The heat is more even, and the pan holds it longer. I love being able to go from cooktop to oven to table in the same pan, too.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 7:28PM
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You can just about cook anything in a cast iron wok, except making a pizza.

You can even use a wok for deep frying. The size makes it splatter free.


    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 7:43PM
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I use my cast iron for everything. The dutch oven makes the best deep fryer I've ever used, and I know Ann T fries in hers as well. the oil just seasons that cast iron a bit better all the time.

I also use mine to make acidic foods like tomato sauces or chili. The acid from those foods will leach some of the iron into the food and it can create a metallic taste that some people don't care for. However, it also adds a lot of iron to your diet, which is beneficial for some women who are chronically low in iron. The iron levels when my blood was tested was so high that my doctor ran it twice the first time, LOL. Then he asked me if I cooked a lot with cast iron. Yes, I did.

It's great for searing a steak and equally good for braising. I bake cornbread in a hot cast iron skillet, it makes the crunchy crust that I like.

I have a set of black cast iron skillets, no-name and not enameled, that I got as a wedding gift in 1974. I use one of those to fry eggs, they are black as pitch and nearly as slick as teflon.

If you can cook it in a pan, you can cook it in a cast iron pan, and the more you use it the better it'll be.

Have fun!


    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 11:08PM
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Been using cast iron for well over 40 years. Got a Cephalon pan a few years ago, paid $150 for it, and it's lost its shape, rounding off and no longer flat on the bottom. Discarded numerous stainless steel pans over the years. The cast iron pots I have belonged to my grandmother so they're far older than I am and they'll outlast me by many years. Nothing you can't cook in them as well or better than in some other pot, including omelettes, steaks, chops, pies, cakes, pancakes, braised ribs, spaghetti sauce, and pizza. For the latter, use it like a pizza stone - put it in the oven and let it heat up well although I sometimes heat it on the stove before putting it in the oven as it's faster that way.

What Annie said is right on the money.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 12:24AM
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Since I posted earlier I have spoken to my mother. She said using cast iron for soup or chili produced a metallic taste that she did not like.

It must be an acquired taste.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 12:45AM
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I have a set of vintage Griswold, and as mentioned above, you can cook anything in cast iron. I can't think of anything I wouldn't cook in mine, including chili. A favourite cookbook, "The Only Texas Cookbook" (Linda West Eckhardt) - one I have had for over 30 years says this about chili .."Remember that chili just doesn't taste right if you don't cook it in an iron pot" Don't know how true this is, but I almost always cook my chili in cast iron.

You can even fry eggs in a well seasoned cast iron skillet.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 8:19AM
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My smaller iron skillets are used for all cornbread recipes and often for breakfast eggs. The other thing I do is to sear a pork chop or chicken breast (on the bone) on top of the stove, then finish the baking in the oven or toaster oven in the CI skillet.

The large skillet is great for browning ground meats with onions and peppers which then get portioned out into freezer containers for future meals. I also use the larger skillet (my Grandmother's) to brown round steak for Swiss steak or pot roast, then cover with foil and bake until very tender.

The round griddle is great for fajitas, pancakes, pizza, making pita bread or warming tortillas.

Dutch ovens are great for soups, stews, chili - anything that wants long simmering.

Here are some favorite recipes:

Alison Krauss' Cornbread Source: Martha White

1 TB shortening
3/4c self-rising cornmeal mix
1/4c self rising flour
1 TB sugar
1 c buttermilk
3 TB vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten

Heat oven to 450. Grease an 8" iron skillet or metal pie plate with the shortening.Place in oven to heat.

In large bowl, combine cornmeal mix, flour, and sugar with a whisk. Add buttermilk, oil and beaten egg. Blend well. Pour batter into hot skillet or pie pan.

Bake at 450 for 10-15 min. or until golden brown.

Huron County Pork Stew

2 pounds boneless pork butt or shoulder
All-purpose flour, for dredging
4 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
12 small white onions, peeled
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
1/2 cup diced celery
4 Granny Smith apples (peeled and cored), diced
1-1/2 pounds russet potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup apple cider
1 cup chicken stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Trim the pork of excess fat and cut into 3/4-inch cubes. Place the flour in a shallow bowl and dredge the pork cubes in the flour. Spread the pork cubes out on a board to allow flour to dry while you render the bacon.

Place bacon in a Dutch oven or large, heavy saucepan over medium heat and saute until it begins to render its fat. Brown all the pork cubes on all sides, a few at a time. Remove pork from the pan and reserve. Remove all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat.

Place the onions, garlic, carrots and celery in the pan and saute until the onions are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Return the pork to the pan and add the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer, loosely covered, for 1 hour or until the pork is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve. Serve with hot cornbread or biscuits.

Note: If you prefer a thicker sauce, whisk 1/2 cup of the sauce together with 1 or 2 tablespoons flour.
Stir this mixture back into the Dutch oven and cook for an additional 7 to 10 minutes, or until sauce is thickened and the flour is cooked.

Serves 6
Source: John Hadamuscin's Enchanted Evenings

Cuppa Cuppa Cobbler

1 stick Butter
1 cup Self Rising Flour
3/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 cup Milk

4 cups fruit
1/2 cup Sugar (or to taste)

Melt butter in 8x8 baking dish,or round cast iron skillet. Mix together flour, sugar and milk and pour carefully over melted butter. Mix fruit and sugar and pour over crust mixture. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. The crust should rise to the top and be golden brown.

Pennsylvania Dutch Chicken Corn Soup

1 3-4 lb. chicken
1 onion chopped
1 rib celery w/ leaves, chopped
4 qts. water
2 cups or more fresh corn off cob or 1 10 oz. package frozen corn
2 hard boiled eggs
salt and pepper

1 cup flour
1 egg
milk to make a soft dough to roll out, cut small dumplings

Cook chicken in a Dutch oven with the onion, celery, and water until done. Remove chicken from pot, cool, and remove meat from skin and bones. Chop meat into bite-sized pieces.

Simmer chicken broth, add in corn, cook until done. Then add in the small dumplings or rivels. Finally add the chopped eggs and cooked chicken. Turn off the heat and let sit a few minutes before serving to heat the eggs and chicken but not cook them further.

note: I like to add the celery leaves when making this recipe, for the flavor and the color.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 10:27AM
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ann t - The Only Texas Cookbook is one of my favorites! The recipe I have the most requests for is from that cookbook - Molasses Biscotti.

I cook almost everything in cast iron except tomato products and sauerkraut. The sauerkraut tends to darken and I think both acquire a metallic aftertaste.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 10:39AM
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Correction: the small dumplings should be cooked in the simmering soup for about 10 minutes until done; then add in the chopped eggs and chicken and turn off the heat.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 12:20PM
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The more seasoned the CI is, the less metallic flavor you'll have. A fresh raw pot will leach more iron than a half-century old well used pot will. So once it's well seasoned, you can use it for acidic sauces if desired.

Speaking of Texas, chili and iron pots: I ran across this chili recipe a few years ago on a chili website. I love it, but I'm the only one in my household that does.

Chili is an American dish which originated in the Southwest but now has lots of regional variations. Cincinnatians, for instance, serve it with cheese on top of spaghetti. Like debates over cornbread, debates about what constitutes authentic chili border on the theological. If you want what some people say is authentic Texas chili, try this recipe by Sam Pendergrast. Note a few things: he specifies coarse ground beef. (Some markets sell 'chili grind' beef--the plate in the meat grinder has 1/2" holes.) Note also the absence of beans, tomatoes and onions, and note the HUGE amount of cumin. I love it, but some people don't; if you don't like cumin, don't make this recipe. I once made a batch of this using beef shin meat. The slow cooking finally tenderized the beef. Fantastic flavor: I was in cumin and capsicum heaven. --I've never seen powdered New Mexico chiles, but the whole dried New Mexico chiles can be found at any Mexican grocery store. It's easy to grind them up in a blender. For thickening, he uses cornmeal. You can just as easily use crumbled tortilla chips. Note that he starts by frying a pound of bacon just to have good bacon fat in which to brown the beef. That's dedication. I have reproduced this in Sam's words, unedited, and then made a few notes as to variations.

Sam Pendergrast's Original Zen Chili
1 pound fatty bacon
2 pounds coarse beef, extra large grind
1/2 cup whole cominos (cumin seed--yes, one-half cup!)
1/2 cup pure ground New Mexican red chile
1 teaspoon cayenne
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Render grease from the bacon; eat a bacon sandwich while the chili cooks. (Good chili takes time.)
Saute the ground beef in bacon grease over medium heat. Add the cominos and then begin adding the red chile until what you are cooking smells like chili. (This is the critical point. If you add all the spices at once, there is no leeway for personal tastes.) Let the mixture cook a bit between additions and don't feel compelled to use all of the red chile. Add water in small batches to avoid sticking, and more later for a soupier chili. Slowly add the cayenne powder until smoke curls your eyelashes. Palefaces may find that the red chile alone has enough heat.
Simmer the mixture until the cook can't resist ladling a bowlful for sampling. Skim the excess fat for dietetic chili, or mix the grease with a small amount of cornmeal for a thicker chili. Finish with salt, pepper, and garlic powder to individual taste, paprika to darken. Continue simmering until served; continue re-heating until gone. (As with wine, time enobles good chili and exposes bad.)
The result should be something like old time Texas cafe chili: a rich, red, heavily cominesque concoction with enough liquid to welcome crackers, some chewy chunks of meat thoroughly permeated by the distinctive spices, and an aroma calculated to lure strangers to the kitchen door.
Variation: For cook-off contest chili, drink bad tequila two days before starting the chili; burn mixture frequently; sprinkle occasionally with sand and blood; serve cold to a dozen other drunks and call them "judges"; and keep telling yourself you're having a great time.

* * *
Arley's notes: you don't really need to cook a pound of bacon, of course; just brown the meat in oil or lard. Also, if you go to a Mexican grocery, you'll find a variety of chili peppers in cellophane bags. A 3 ounce bag of New Mexico chiles is just about right for this dish, once you cut off the stems, open up the pods and shake out the seeds, and run the pods through a blender, you get about 1/2 cup. The idea is that you need to establish a strong chile flavor without heat with lots of mild chiles (New Mexico chiles, a variety of Anaheim, are fairly mild) and then adjust hotness to your taste with a hotter pepper like cayenne or ground pequin chiles, which are even hotter than cayenne.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 1:14PM
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Wow. Thank you for all of the responses. I really appreciate it.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 11:34PM
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