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Chef’s Hat: Cooking in cast iron cookware |

Chef’s Hat: Cooking in cast iron cookware

So what’s the appeal of cast iron?

The appeal to some may be the rustic look of this cookware – it is indeed something from the past and is often passed down from generation to generation. Some love this cookware because it is easy to use and can go from stove top to oven. And some people love cast iron because it heats up quickly and very little oil is needed when cooking.

Any of those factors could be a reason cast iron cookware has been used for hundreds of years; but maybe it is because these pans are almost indestructible. Dropping them won’t break the pan (but if dropped on your foot, it will probably break your toe).

These pans take very little care. They have to be kept dry so they don’t rust; and seasoned (which involves putting a little oil in the pan and baking it for an hour) every year or two. Otherwise these pans can last a lifetime – or longer.

A key to cooking with cast iron is you always want to add food to a hot or warm pan. If food is put into a cold cast iron skillet, the food will stick to it. Get the pan nice and hot, and once you put in your chicken, steak or pork, you will hear that pleasant cooking sizzle.

If you’re looking for a different – not necessarily new, but a tried and true – way to cook, pick up a cast iron pan. They are reasonably priced and with a little care will last a lifetime. Happy Eating!

Pan Seared Oven Roasted Chicken Breast

  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, 8-10 ounces
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Montreal Chicken Seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a cast iron skillet on the stove and pour the oil into the pan. Tilt the pan back and forth to spread the oil around. Heat the pan to medium-high heat.

Place the chicken on a plate and sprinkle the seasonings on both side of the chicken.

Once pan is hot, place chicken breasts into the pan. Cook on one side for 3 minutes; chicken should be slightly browned. Flip the chicken over and cook on the other side for another 3 to 4 minutes.

Using an oven mitt or a couple of pot holders and transfer the pan to the preheated oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees. If the breasts are thin, they may only need to cook an additional 10 minutes. Be prepared to check the chicken every 10 minutes. Don’t overcook or the chicken will become tough and rubbery.

Cast Iron Pork Chops

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
  • 3 to 4 pork chops, ½-inch thick
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (or just plain garlic powder)
  • 3 teaspoons butter

Place a medium to large size cast iron skillet on the stove. Pour the oil into the skillet and heat to medium-high.

Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the chops in the preheated pan and cook until the bottom is golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Turn over and cook the other side until it is golden brown, 1-2 minutes. Keep cooking, turning chops over every couple of minutes until they are a deep golden brown. The interior temperature of the chops should reach 135 degrees. Total cooking time will be 8 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of the chops.

Remove the pan from the heat. Move the pork chops over to one side. Place the butter into the pan. Once the butter is melted, add the Italian seasoning and garlic. Mix the butter and seasonings until they are well combined. Tilt the pan (or use a spoon) to baste the chops with the sauce. Let the chops sit for 2 to 4 minutes so the sauce can be absorbed into the pork. Place onto plates and pour (or spoon) additional sauce onto the pork.

Category: Cookware Pans  Tags: ,  Comments off
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