Recipes by Amy ThiedingWritten by Stephen Exel
A cast-iron skillet is a thing of beauty. Magic
happens when its dark, slick surface matches food
to heat. And its heft tells you this is a pan to reckon
with. If I were trapped on the proverbial desert isle,
it's one of the "what three things would you want
with you" essentials I would choose.
There's nothing secret about a cast-iron skillet,
except to remember the handle gets very hot.
You buy it, you season it, you cook in it. Cast iron
conducts and retains heat superbly and delivers
it uniformly so it cooks food evenly. That’s why it
turns out golden corn bread with a tender crumb
and the ultimate pan-fried chicken.
It's the ideal all-purpose pan, moving easily from
stove top to oven to grill. You can pan-fry, get a
perfect sear, saute, braise and stew. Did I
mention that it serves up beautiful caramelized
roasted vegetables? Just heat the pan in the oven
and then toss the veggies with olive oil, salt,
pepper and herbs. Thirty minutes later, they're
done. And there isn't a better grilled pizza than one
that's been cooked over the coals in a cast-iron pan.
Prep: 20 min. + chilling Cook: 45 min. Yield: 4 servings
1. In a small bowl, combine cherries and wine; set
aside. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the
pepper, brown sugar, garlic powder, paprika, coffee,
salt, cinnamon, cumin and mustard. Add steaks, one
at a time, and shake to coat. Cover and refrigerate for
2. Place oil in a 10-in. cast-iron skillet; tilt to coat
bottom. Heat oil over medium-high heat; sear steaks
for 2 minutes on each side. Bake, uncovered, at
350° for 15 minutes or until meat reaches desired
doneness (for medium-rare, a meat thermometer
should read 14°; medium, 160°; well-done, 170°). Remove steaks and keep warm.
3. In the same skillet, saute shallot in butter until
crisp-tender. Add broth and thyme. Bring to a boil;
cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 8 minutes.
Stir in cream; bring to a boil. Cook for 8 minutes or
until thickened, stirring occasionally.
4. Stir in the reserved cherry mixture. Serve sauce
over steaks. Sprinkle with blue cheese if desired.
Nutrition Facts: 1 steak with 3 Tbsp. sauce
(calculated without blue cheese) equals 506
calories, 28 g fat (13 g saturated fat), 124 mg
cholesterol, 381 mg sodium, 20 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 39 g protein.
Prep: 35 min. Cook: 20 min.+ Yield: 8 servings
1. In a 10-in. cast-iron skillet, melt 2 Tbsp. butter;
tilt to coat bottom and sides. Add the onion, jalapeno
and 1/4 tsp. chili powder; cook over medium-low
heat until onion is lightly browned and tender. Stir
in 1 Tbsp. brown sugar until dissolved; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal,
sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, and remaining chili powder and brown sugar. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in cheese and chilies.
3. Pour over onion mixture in skillet. Bake at 425°
for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook cranberry sauce and lime peel over low heat until heated through. Cool completely.
4. Let corn bread stand for 10 minutes. Invert corn
bread onto a serving platter; cut into wedges. Pour
cranberry mixture over softened butter; serve with
Editors' Note: When cutting hot peppers, disposable
gloves are recommended. Avoid touching your face.
Nutrition Facts: 1 wedge with 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. cranberry mixture equals 468 calories, 25 g
fat (16 g saturated fat), 118 mg cholesterol, 626 mg
sodium, 52 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 10 g protein.
Prep: 35 min. Cook: 40 min. Yield: 4 servings
1. With a sharp knife, cut leg quarters at the joints.
Sprinkle chicken with 3/4 tsp. salt and pepper.
2. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the flour,
rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram and parsley. In a
shallow bowl, combine the egg, milk and lemon juice.
Add chicken pieces, one at a time, to bag and shake to
coat. Dip chicken in egg mixture and coat again with
3. In a 12-in. cast-iron skillet, heat 1/2 cup oil. Fry
chicken, a few pieces at a time, for 5-6 minutes or
until golden brown. Remove chicken and keep warm;
4. In the same skillet, cook potatoes in remaining oil
for 8-10 minutes or until slightly tender. Add onion
and remaining salt; cook 5-6 minutes longer or until
onion is tender. Stir in garlic; top with chicken.
5. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 45-50 minutes or until
a meat thermometer reads 180° and potatoes are
6. In a small bowl, combine the glaze ingredients.
Brush over chicken just before serving.
Nutrition Facts: 2 chicken pieces with about 1 cup
potato mixture equals 834 calories, 55 g fat (8 g
saturated fat), 142 mg cholesterol, 1,112 mg sodium,
49 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 36 g protein.
Probably the most daunting thing about cast iron is how to season it. Seasoning is the process of oils adhering to pan’s surface to
create a natural nonstick coating. If you purchase a new pan, it is likely to be factory-seasoned. If you scout one down at an antique
store or were handed down one, you’ll need to reseason it. It’s a simple process:
1. Line the lower oven
rack with aluminum foil
and preheat the oven
2. Scrub the pan with hot,
soapy water and a stiff
brush. Be sure to scour
off any rust.
3. Dry the skillet. Apply a
thin coat of shortening
or vegetable oil to the
entire pan, including
4. Place the pan in the
oven on the middle
rack, upside down, and
bake for one hour.
5. Turn off the oven and
leave the pan in the
oven to cool. Now
you're ready to cook.
To clean cast iron, just wash with hot water and a
stiff brush to remove any residue. You want to avoid
harsh detergents, as they remove the seasoning. Towel-dry and store in a cool, dry place. Don’t place a hot pan in cold water; it may crack or warp. You'll notice that the more you use your pan, the surface becomes blacker
and slicker. This is a good sign. It means the pan is
becoming seasoned by use.
You can also find vintage skillets at antique stores
and garage sales (just don’t let the owners know the
treasure they are giving away). Most times, you can
find some really neat or even valuable, discontinued
pieces for a song.
April 30, 2013 3:23 AM
This recipe is going to create some buzz around for sure and this will definitely add some spice to the dinner time.hot slowpitch softball bats
September 13, 2011 11:57 AM
I have several skillets of cast iron. my favorite is the duch oven one. And when you season your skillet= don't use any oil or what ever that has salt in it the salt wiill burn and puuu! you will have to burn it off andstart all over again....favorite recipe is fry chicken -- drain when brown the whip out skillet and put mushroom soup in diluted with 1/2 can of milk. put chicken back in skillet __ make sure the mushroom soup cover the chicken then put in a oven and cook for apx an Hour. make mashed potatoes and add a veg. what a wow meal.
September 13, 2011 12:30 PM
Great tips -- thanks!
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