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What are some of your favorite Easy Cast Iron Recipies for a new pan?

Hi! New to Chowhound here. I've been lurking for a few days and I just decided to create an account. Great site!

I just got some new cast iron cookware, a 12 inch skillet and dutch oven from Lodge. I seasoned them after reading a wealth of contradicting information and ultimately followed some directions that I found here and they turned out really good.

So, now that I have some new cookware, I am looking for some easy stuff to cook in them. I am going to fry up some bacon tonight to help with the seasoning some more.

What are your favorite things to cook with cast iron?

Thanks,
D

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  1. Fry things in oil. Anything. Chicken, chicken cutlets, fish, bacon, sausages, peppers, even onion rings can be done in a cast iron skillet. Do it a few times, and you will not have any problems.

    There is a big debate on these boards about how to clean them. The two camps are: 1) use only salt and water, wipe the pan down, and 2) go ahead and use light soap and water.

    I fall into the s&w category, because even a quick wash with a mild dishwashing liquid (NOT a Brillo pad) will remove food residue and leave sufficient seasoning on the pan. If it seems to be bare, just rub oil on it again or fry something else next time. I'd put my seasoned pan up against anyone else's, and I really like that last night's fish remains are not affecting the flavor of my bacon and eggs, but that is me.

    BTW, how to clean a cast iron pan is a religious issue around here :)

    The most important thing is to dry it quickly and not let it rust. Also, allegedly they can crack if placed in water when hot, so get used to the fact that it may take 30 minutes to cool down before you can wash it out.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RGC1982

      Washing in HOT water should not be a problem....Never cracked one in 50 years...

    2. I agree with RGC's advice, for a new CI pan. Either fry or saute in oil, to get that nice seasoning built up. So...RGC's ideas, and you could also do things like veal or turkey cutlets, if you like those, or for a nice side dish, corn (niblets) sauteed in olive oil will get a nice caramelization on them in a hot CI pan. You can add a diced accent like the bell peppers RGC mentioned, or jalapeno if you like a little heat, or diced fennel bulb is nice with corn. What sounds good to me *right now* is a nice grilled cheese with a good quality baked ham and a little hot dijon mustard between the melted cheese and the ham. :-)

      I personally would wait until you get a good seasoning built up in before I baked something like corn bread in it.

      And, JMO, but I am also in the hot water and mild dish liquid soap camp when it comes to cleaning. I rinse the pans well and dry them well right away and I've never had a problem with it.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Normandie

        Put some oil in the bottom of the skillet...Swirl a little up on the sides...Set it on an eye of your stove until it just starts to smoke...Pour in your cornbread batter...Makes great cornbread, plus it will add a thin layer of seasoning...

        Enjoy!

        1. re: Uncle Bob

          Uncle Bob, I LOVE corn bread baked in a CI skillet. I just think the stuff can be nasty getting out of there *before* the skillet has been well seasoned with a good number of uses. It's not really an issue for me now, since my skillets are getting a little long in the tooth (meaning: well seasoned enough so that if they were bigger, I could probably ice skate ;-) on them), but just want to double-check--you think cornbread will turn out of them all right even when they're new as long as you put enough oil in? (Just asking because I never found the manufacturer's "pre-seasoning" to be worth a darn...I just put up with things until I had used them enough to make them...heavenly.) :-)

          1. re: Normandie

            "you think cornbread will turn out of them all right even when they're new as long as you put enough oil in"?
            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
            Never tried cooking cornbread in a brand spanking new skillet that wasn't seasoned Normandie....My guess would be, probably not..Especially new raw iron...However the OP's skillets have been through an initial seasoning process ---. So Cooking cornbread to aid in additional seasoning certainly qualifies as both easy and something I like to cook in CI...thus my recommendation to the OP...On a lark I recently, within the past 3 or 4 months, picked up new 6in Lodge Logic..I brought it home and put it through the seasoning process...twice back to back. Started cooking cornbread in it..I've had no problem with the bread sticking...turns out perfectly. Twice now on Saturday morning I've fried 2 eggs in it...Again no problem with sticking, and it flips eggs amazingly easy...Is it WELL seasoned, smoother than a baby's butt, or slick enough to ice skate on?? Obviously not, but the little pan is very usable, and makes just enough bread for the two of us to clean up with no left overs. The "trick" (if you can call it that) of heating the skillet & oil to smoking hot on the stove prior to pouring in the batter was taught to me at a young age by a Creole lady of color who was my family's cook...How long to leave it on the stove after pouring the batter in before putting the bread in the oven?? She said long enough to walk over to the sink, and wash the bowl out! :).. It has always worked perfectly for me..

            Have Fun & Enjoy!!!

            1. re: Uncle Bob

              :-D Everybody certainly benefits from having someone like that in their life to teach them how to cook. There were many excellent cooks in my family, from my grandparents down to my older brothers, and fortunately I knew enough to get some of their special recipes...but I was too concerned with socializing as a teenager to stand by their sides and *see* how to cook. So once I got married I stumbled through things as best I could on my own. Fortunately, I *generally* don't make the same mistake twice, with the one exception that too many pricey (sp) cuts of nice meats weren't done justice because it took me too long to have the epiphany that meat needs to rest before serving or cutting.

              I was glad to hear your comments on the six-inch skillet. I've been debating for months about getting one. Not that it's a particularly big investment, and it certainly wouldn't take much storage space, but I don't like to have too much "stuff" in my kitchen. OTOH, every now and then you buy something, and you never really realize until you have it how many things you can actually do with it.

              1. re: Normandie

                Indeed! Like you, at a young age I was too busy being a boy...ripping and romping all over the farm by bicycle, tractor or horseback...following the men around etc. I learned a lot about outdoor cooking from them...BBQing over wood coals, Cooking River catfish in a big wash pot. etc --- It was not until my late teens and following years that I began to take an interest in what Bertha and my mother were doing in the kitchen. So many of the "recipes," that were all in her head that I tried to put down paper are "coded" ~~ How much lard/shortening do you put in the biscuits?? She would hold out a thumb and forefinger to form a circle of sorts and say.."Oh, a piece about as big as a hen egg or so" :) Later, she worked for me until she passed away. She was like a mother to me...a great American, a great cook, and a great friend...I miss her.

                Fun!

      2. I grew up w/cast iron skillets and have one now and I have always, always used soap and water to clean them - then dry them and put 'em away. If they start to look a little dry, after you dry the pan put a few drops of oil in there, spread it around w/a paper towel or cloth napkin or something, and then put it away. They'll last forever.

        You can cook pretty much any damn thing you want in there, so long as you use a bit of oil - you can get *such* beautiful crust on things if you make sure to heat your oiled pan thoroughly before you put your protein in. Many people do stay away from cooking highly acidic things (like dishes w/tomatoes) in cast iron. I don't do acid in cast iron b/c I have other pans I prefer from a size perspective in most cases. Maybe someone else can weigh in on this - I think if you have a very well-seasoned pan it'll have less of an impact, but I might be mistaken.

        GG
        http://www.semisweetonline.com

        1. cornbread, pineapple upside-down cake.

          1. Congratulations, welcome to the world of cast iron! Many of the ideas already posted are great so I won't expand except to say that I use cast iron for lots of stuff, roasting chickens, making gumbo, braising, stew, soup, baking bread (intead of a pizza stone), toasting spices and frying, frying, frying.
            I'm in this cleaning camp (maybe camp #3): I use hot water and scrub with one of those green scrub pads, no soap ever. A good seasoning on the CI tends to prevent sticking, anyway. I used to do the salt and oil thing, but it's a bit messy. Pop your CI back on a burner, let it heat up until all the water evaporates, then coat it with a bit of oil, crisco or bacon fat. Using soap over time will diminish you seasoning.
            You can always re-season and there's plenty of info here at Chow. Here's a good link for even more:
            http://blackirondude.blogspot.com/

            If you maintain your CI with just a bit of extra care, it will give you a lifetime of cooking happiness.

            2 Replies
            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Thanks for the replys everyone! BWG, are you talking about something like this? http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/4347...

              1. re: D Lincoln

                Sorry I took awhile to get back to you; yes, exactly those scrubbies, they're cheap and do the job and you won't feel bad about tossing them when the time is right. I should clarify that, when I say "scrubbing", I mean removing any food particles that may have stuck, but with a good seasoning, there may be none. I do it (scrub) as a matter of habit, rather than necessity.