Cast Iron Cooking

I have several cast iron pans from my mother-in-law. If you”re familiar with cast iron, it weighs a ton. The skillets are not washed with soap, but rinsed in water and scoured with salt when necessary. A good pan will “season” and become non-stick over time. Those who love cast iron swear by them. While I don”t always use them to cook, I do have a few recipes that absolutely require a good skillet.

skillet

Dutch Baby Pancake (Sometimes called a puff pancake)

Ingredients

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

2 eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups assorted fresh berries

Powdered sugar, if desired

Puff Pankcake

Heat oven to 400°F. In seasoned cast iron skillet, melt butter in oven; brush butter over bottom and side of pie pan.

In medium bowl, beat eggs slightly with wire whisk or hand beater. Beat in flour, milk and salt just until mixed (do not overbeat). Pour into skillet.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until puffy and deep golden brown. Serve pancake immediately topped with berries. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Another favorite? Roasted Brussels sprouts

brussels sprouts

INGREDIENTS

1 pound Brussels sprouts, rinsed, ends trimmed

1 Tbsp minced garlic (about 3 cloves)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 Tbsp olive oil

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Place Brussels sprouts in a cast iron frying pan. Toss in the garlic. Sprinkle Brussels sprouts with lemon juice. Toss with oil so that the sprouts are well coated. Sprinkle generously with salt (at least a half teaspoon) and a few turns of black pepper.

2 Put Brussels sprouts in oven on top rack, cook for 20 minutes, then stir so that the sprouts get coated with the oil in the pan. Cook for another 10 minutes. Then sprinkle with Parmesan (if using) and cook for another 5 minutes.

The sprouts should be nicely browned, some of the outside leaves crunchy, the interior should be cooked through.

Add more salt to taste. (Salting sufficiently is the key to success with this recipe.)

Sherri is currently working on three more books for her Cimarron Springs series. Her current books include Winning the Widow’s Heart and The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family. The Cattleman Meets His Match releases in August of 2014.

The Marshal’s Ready-Made Family

Susan Mobley of Romantic Times Magazine says, “A lovely marriage-of-convenience story, the interaction between the two main characters is a joy to start.”

The marshal

Gentlemen don”t court feisty straight shooters like JoBeth McCoy. Just as she”s resigned to a lifetime alone, a misunderstanding forces the spunky telegraph operator into a marriage of convenience. Wedding the town”s handsome new marshal offers JoBeth a chance at motherhood, caring for the orphaned little girl she”s come to love.

Garrett Cain will lose guardianship of his niece, Cora, if he stays single, but he knows no woman could accept the secrets he”s hidden about his past. The lawman can”t jeopardize Cora”s future by admitting the truth. Yet when unexpected danger in the small town threatens to expose Garrett”s long-buried secret, only a leap of faith can turn a makeshift union into a real family.

 

 

Sherri Shackelford
A wife and mother of three, Sherri’s hobbies include collecting mismatched socks, discovering new ways to avoid cleaning, and standing in the middle of the room while thinking, “Why did I just come in here?” A reformed pessimist and recent hopeful romantic, Sherri has a passion for writing. Her books are fun and fast-paced, with plenty of heart and soul. Write to Sherri at P.O. Box 116, Elkhorn, NE, 68022, email at sherri@sherrishackelford.com or visit sherrishackelford.com.
Updated: April 14, 2015 — 3:45 pm

25 Comments

  1. I’ve never cooked in a cast iron skillet, but my mother-in-law has one that she makes her cornbread in. I fear cast iron cooking is an art that is dying in our modern world. I hope you and others continue to keep it alive. 🙂

  2. My only skillets are cast iron. I don’t even think about ‘are they good/are they bad’. It’s just all I’ve ever used.

    And I scrub them. It’s bad for the finish so I try and be gentle, but I do it anyway. I used to re-season them, probably when they were newer but I guess they’re seasoned enough because I haven’t done that for years either.

    And they cost next to nothing…or they did when I bought them decades ago (I’m sure there’s a high tech version you can pay a lot for–these days!) But it seems like the small one was a wedding gift and the large one was…like $4. And I’m set for life.

    Just to be clear…I’m not a great cook. So I’m not a wise person to look to for cooking advice.

  3. Karen, people who love their skillets swear by them! I don’t use mine as often 🙂

    Mary, Do you have a baking stone? You’re not supposed to wash those with soap either – which feels weird.

  4. The cornbread! That’s brilliant, I’ve never done that.

    But…super cool really…I sometimes put frozen bread dough rolls in the small skillet, then butter them and let them thaw and bake them in the skillet then serve them in the skillet, right on the table, very cute. I was at a restaurant once that brought bread out like that and it is SO cute.
    A nice rustic/country look that’s a snap. I’m talking 90 seconds to drop those frozen rolls in a greased skillet. Then thawing time but that’s not exactly hard if you just think ahead.
    I haven’t done that for a while. Now I’m hungry for them.

  5. I don’t have a baking stone. That sounds like a Pampered Chef thing.
    I just refuse to spend a ton of money on fine cookware when I will no doubt abuse and ruin it … or stick it in a cupboard and forget I own it.

    Cast Iron works well for my slapdash cooking style. But I suspect if they’re not seasoned right maybe they stick and are annoying and a person might get tired of them before they’re in good shape.

  6. My mom used one and I realize I have several in our ancient camping equipment. Looks like I need to dig them out for everyday use! Best luck on the new release, Sherri.

  7. Sherri, I love things cooked in cast iron, especially fried potatoes and corn bread (not together.) My mother used these skillets and dutch oven almost every day. I remember when I was a kid and we’d have to make our yearly trip to California to visit grandparents, the dutch oven was the first thing in the car. We’d stop at a roadside park somewhere and my mama would cook breakfast. It was my favorite thing about the trip other then the Indian Trading Posts. I can still smell that bacon frying and the potatoes were out of this world. Sadly, I don’t have any cast iron cookware. It’s too heavy and takes up too much space in my small kitchen.

    Your new book sounds great. I loved “Winning the Widow’s Heart!” So many funny moments.

  8. I have never used one, but I have seen how heavy they are… just use regular pots and pans.

  9. Oooh, I’m going to try some of these recipes. The pans are definitely heavy and unwieldy. I had a friend whose heroine hit her hero with a frying pan. We told her it better be a ‘glancing blow’ or she’d kill him!

  10. I put mine in the oven to store them. Pull them out when I’m baking (which is just shy of being exactly NEVER)

  11. But they are heavy. My mother in law later in life got arthritis in her hands and wrists and had to quit using hers.
    btw my small skillet is PERFECT for omelets. I use it all the time for that.

  12. I’ve also heard the iron in them is in the food just a trace and that’s good for anemia

  13. You know what else the small ones are good for? Making giant chocolate chip cookies. Yummo. Use the regular recipe, spread some batter in the pan, and voila. A cookie to share. Or not.

  14. I love cast iron skillets. As a back-country cook, I’ve used all types of cast iron on the stove and in a slot in the ground. I used them for years at home. And yes they are heavy. So heavy that my doctor said I have “tennis elbow” in my left arm. Never having played tennis too much, I asked how I could have that syndrome. From the constant use of picking up the heavy skillet with my left hand and turning it to scrape out with my right! Wow! That means I used it A LOT, huh? There is also a benefit to using the cast iron–you don’t need to take iron as a supplement to your diet. It comes out in the food you eat.
    There is also something about the iron, too, that makes you have to keep your teeth cleaned because they will get a brown tinge to them.
    I’m also like Mary. I scrub mine, too. They remain in good shape even with all that.

  15. Tennis elbow?! They are dangerous 😉

  16. Looking forward to reading Garrett’s story. i do love lawmen heroes!

    As for the cast iron skillet, I don’t own one and I’ve never cooked with one. I might have to buy one to try out these recipes. I know that The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, swears by hers.

  17. I swear by the Pioneer Woman! I want to try Mary C’s recipe for dinner rolls.

  18. Thanks Sherri – I’m making Brussels Sprouts for dinner tonight. Love them, will try your recipe with my cast iron skillet!

  19. We have quite a few pieces of cast iron. We had some we got shortly after getting married, my mother-in-law’s, my aunt’s, and the dutch ovens we bought for camping. We don’t use it as often as we used to with just the two of us. These two recipes sound really good. I will have to try the brussels sprouts one soon. We love them and this is a good new way to fix them.
    We did a lot of camping with both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, as well as as a family. Dutch ovens are terrific. All three of our children can fix a really good meal over a fire or coals. Chili or stew, biscuits, and a cobbler were favorites of the troops. When our daughter worked the Wagon Train Unit of Boy Scout Camp in VA, every morning she fixed pancakes over the fire on a huge cast iron skillet.
    Here at home, I love the way skillet corn bread turns out. On sunday mornings, a cast iron pan is perfect for fixing a frittata.
    Thanks for the recipes. I look forward to reading THE MARSHAL’S READY-MADE FAMILY as well as the rest of the Cimarron Springs series.

  20. Wow! Patricia, you have some wonderful memories associated with the cookware 🙂

  21. Yikes that stuff in the photo is in serious need of some seasoning love…. Send it my way & I’d be happy to add it to my collection..

  22. I have a few pans, for looks. I haven’t gotten up the nerve to try cooking in them yet. 🙂
    Yummy brussels sprouts!

  23. I have two sizes of cast iron skillets but haven’t used either in years. I used to make cornbread in the smaller one quite frequently but have misplaced my recipe.

    Thanks for posting the above pancake recipe. I’ll be digging out my skillet and trying them. They look very appetizing.

  24. That photo of the skillet is a little alarming..That’s all the morgue file had for photos 😉

    Happy Cooking!!

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