I Cast-Iron Cookbook - West Virginia Department Of Agriculture

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Ye s t e r d a y a n d To d a yCast-Iron Cookbook IWest Virginia Department of AgricultureKent A. Leonhardt, CommissionerVolume I:Kent A Leonhardt, Commissioner1900 Kanawha Blvd., EastCharleston, WV 25305agriculture.wv.gov Camp Dutch OvenKitchen Dutch OvenDeep FryerAebleskiver PanIron Griddle

Table of ContentsIntroduction. iHow to Season and Care for Your Cast Iron Skillets and Pans. iiA History of Cast Iron.ivDutch Oven .vDutch Oven Tips.vCamp Dutch Oven. 1Cakes. 1Cobblers. 6Casseroles. 11Meats. 12Vegetables. 14Kitchen Dutch Oven. 15Breads. 15Casseroles. 17Meats. 18Vegetables. 20Soups & Stews. 22Deep Fryer. 28Aebleskiver Pan. 29Iron Griddle. 31Pancakes & Fritters. 31

IntroductionHome-style cooking can be symbolized by no other cookware quite the way itis by cast iron. This durable and timeless cookware has been handed down fromgeneration to generation. Cast iron cooking, a time-honored tradition, is againgrowing in popularity as our culture embraces basic traditions from the past.The selection of cookware has grown considerably with this popularity, cast ironcookware ranges from skillets and Dutch ovens to woks and hibachi grills. Castiron is considered the original non-stick cookware and a superb heat conductor.It’s perfect for cooking with less fat or oils and readily adapts to a wide range ofethnic cuisine.This cookbook illustrates the versatility of cast iron in today’s kitchens, providesa brief history of cast iron, and provides information on the proper care and useof cast iron cookware. The recipes complied in this cookbook are easy to makeusing ingredients readily available in the grocery store. The great mix of traditionaland contemporary recipes encourages home cooks and discerning chefs alike toexpand their cast iron cooking and even try some West Virginia Grown products.While there is a plethora of fried chicken and cornbread recipes out there, alongwith those traditional favorites, you will find variety in this book.When compared to other cookware, cast iron has its drawbacks. It can rust,pit, stick to food and have reactivity. These problems can be eliminated withproper seasoning, sometimes known as curing. Seasoning means coating theentire pan, inside and out with oil, shortening, or lard and baking it to seal the fatinto the pan. This process allows the coating to fill cavities and pitted surfacespermeating pores and developing a non-stick surface to prevent water from creatingrust and acidic food from creating reactivity. This protective layer of seasoningbreaks down over time and the process must be repeated. Some cast iron pansare coated with enamel. This is an attempt to improve the deficiencies of castiron while maintaining exceptional heat conduction.Seasoning and caring for your cast-iron cookware may seem like a timeconsuming task. However, cast iron cookware will last a lifetime with the propercare. The time it takes to care for this cookware is well worth it when you considerthe value of the cast iron, the irreplaceable flavor it gives food and its durablequality. To ensure success when cooking with cast iron, follow the tried and truetips on cooking, proper seasoning, and care of cast iron in this cookbook.i

How to Season and Care for YourCast Iron Skillets and PansBy Harry Lynch – Summersville, W.Va.Proper care and seasoning of cast iron skillets and pans make cooking inthem a joy. Neglect, on the other hand, will cause disappointment and poorlycooked food. Here are a few tips to keep those pans in top-notch shape:If you have a new cast iron pan, wash with hot, soapy water to remove theprotective coating that has been applied at the factory. Rinse and dry thoroughly.If the pan is old and shows some signs of rust, lightly sand rusted area and applyCola for 10-15 minutes. Then wash with mild soapy water, rinse, towel-dry andplace over low heat to remove excess water from the porous metal.1. Clean the cast-iron with a mild detergent and stiff brush. Be sure to washboth the inside and outside of the piece.2. Lightly coat the entire pan’s surface – inside and out – with cooking oil, lardor shortening. Do not use butter or margarine. Use a paper towel to spread theoil. Lard spoils faster than oil. While lard adds more favor, it requires thatthe cookware be used weekly to keep the seasoning from going bad.Oil, on the other hand, stays fresh longer but may become sticky andcollect dust.Be sure to coat all exterior parts such as handles and lids.Using too much oil or grease during seasoning causes a pool of excessoil or grease to gum up.If excess oil or gummed up grease is found after seasoning, scrape itoff and re-season the effected spot.Heating pans upside down typically will prevent gumming.Place pan upside down on oven rack and heat without pre-heating in a 400 Foven for 1½-2 hours. Put aluminum foil in bottom of the oven to catch oil drippings.Let pan cool in oven. Remove from oven and wipe clean. It is now ready to use.3. Seasoning can generate smoke and odors. Season your cast ironcookware on a nice day to allow you to open windows and doors for aircirculation or use an outdoor grill.If using an oven with two racks, just line the lower rack with aluminumfoil to catch any excess oil or shortening.Be sure that both racks are in the two bottom positionsRemove cast-iron from the oven only after it has cooled.Cast-iron may come out slightly brown. At this time, it is ready for use.Repeating the process will further season your cast-iron and make itdarker, thus improving its appearance.ii

Seasoning at higher temperatures to the point where most oils will beginto smoke can result in a darker seasoned piece in less time that won’tbe sticky or gummy.After coating warm cast iron with a thin layer of oil or grease, mostmanufacturers suggest heating the pan for 1 hour. However, somecooks suggest that seasoning cast iron requires 4 to 5 hours of bakingto achieve the right amount. Other cooks repeat the thin layer of oil orgrease and the 1 hour baking process several times before using thecookware.Some cooks believe seasoning should be repeated each time the castiron cookware is used.A well-seasoned cast iron pan takes time and improves each time it is used.However, high acid foods that contain tomatoes should be avoided until the panhad been thoroughly seasoned through usage. Hot liquids will also break downthe seasoning until it has had a chance to completely fill the pores in the metal.Cooking beans should also be avoided at first. Frying or baking is good choicesfor first time usage. If you do cook acidic foods or beans, be prepared to re-seasonyour cookware in the oven.4.There’s a rule of thumb that a seasoned cast iron pan should never be washedwith soapy water or placed in the dishwasher. Rather, clean it with hot water anda plastic scrub brush. If you do have to wash with soap, you must re-season yourcookware in the oven.5.Always dry cast iron cookware thoroughly after cleaning. Then spray lightly-theword lightly is emphasized — with vegetable oil. Wipe dry and store. Never storecast iron pans with lids on them. Cast iron cookware needs the air to circulate.Humid weather can create moisture and lead to rust in cast iron cookware sealedwith lids, therefore, lids should be stored separately. Place paper towels insidecast iron cookware to absorb any moisture that may form.6.Frequent use of cast iron cookware is recommended. If stored too long or ifa heavy coat of oil was applied before storage, expect the oil to become rancidand to affect the taste of the food being cooked. It may be removed by heatingover low heat until a pool of oil forms in bottom of pan, and then wiped clean. Ifthis technique does not work, prepare to wash in soapy water and re-season.7.iii

A History of Cast IronCast iron is iron that is heated to a liquid state and then poured into a mold.Sand and a small mix of clay, to hold the sand in shape, line a mold. After theheated iron is poured into the mold, the shaped casting will have a rough surfacebecause of the rough texture of the sand used in the mold. The texture of thesurface will distinguish cast iron from forged metal. Cast iron is poured at a foundry,not a blacksmith shop. Cast iron cannot be heated and re-shaped, or welded.For hundreds of years, foundries have used the sand casting technique.The techniques have changed very little over time. Minor changes in the castingtechniques enable us to determine the approximate date of most pieces. Theoldest pieces will have a circular ‘sprue’ mark on the underside of the piece. Thesprue is the point where the molten iron is poured into the mold. This techniquewas used until the mid-to late 1700s. Cast iron pieces will have at least one pointon where the iron entered the mold.Cast iron pieces made from the mid-1700s to the late 1800s will have a longthin line on the bottom of the piece called a ‘gate’ mark, where the iron enteredthe mold. Smooth bottom pieces were made from around 1875 to present time,because the entrance for the iron was placed on the sides of the mold. Thesepieces can have one or more places on the side that have been heavily grindedto disguise where the iron entered the mold or to get rid of the excess metal fromthe pour.Refined casting techniques produced some extremely well-made castiron cookware pieces between 1875 and 1940. In efforts to refine the castingtechniques from 1875 to 1900, cast iron cookware manufacturers created thinnerpieces. Manufacturers soon learned this thinness did not maintain the durabilitythat made the cookware famous. In fact, a high number of those pieces crackedor warped during use. Pieces produced during this time also had a slightly moreprimitive appearance due to fewer finishing steps on the production line. Piecesmade between 1900 and 1940 were both thicker and more finished. The heightof quality in cast iron production was realized between 1920 and 1940. Duringthis time, cast iron pieces were produced with glass-like surfaces as a result ofa series of polishing steps in the manufacturing process. Manufacturers mighttumble small cast iron pieces in a large rotating drum containing small piecesof metal which polished the pieces. Skillets and Dutch ovens would be turnedon lathes to create a smooth cooking surface. Lathe marks can be found on theinside of pieces created during this time.Griswold, Wapak, Favorite Ware, Wagner Ware, and Lodge are some ofthe more recognized foundries for cast iron cookware. Cast iron cookware fromthese manufacturers is some of the hottest items in the antiques and collectiblesmarket today.In many West Virginia families the cast iron skillet is a treasured heirloompassed down from generation to generation. Since cast iron cookware is nowconsidered collector’s items they are rare to fine at garage or estate sales. Lookin your attic, basement, or garage and dig out your heirloom and enjoy what manyof us crave food cooked in cast iron.iv

Dutch OvenA very common and popular cast iron piece; so much so that there is evenan International Dutch Oven Society, which holds an annual world championshipcook-off in Salt Lake City each year. The Dutch oven has been a kitchen staplefor more than two centuries. Dutch oven cooking in America dates to 1707. AnEnglish man named Abraham Darby experimented with a Dutch casting processand eventually began casting pots and shipping them to America and throughoutthe world. Impressed by their durability and versatility, people began spreadingthe word and they grew in popularity. It’s considered the original slow cookerand pressure cooker put together and can even work well as a deep fryer. Nothing will hold a good, even temperature better than it and can go from stovetopto oven without missing a beat. When the piece is seasoned properly and therecipe prepared correctly, food comes out more tender and tastier than if it wasprepared conventionally.Dutch ovens are categorized as either “kitchen” or “camp” style. You canuse a kitchen style Dutch oven for outdoor cooking on a grill or over a campfire.If cooking over a campfire, the bail handle is used to hang oven on a tripod. Thelid of a kitchen style Dutch oven can be used as a skillet.A camp style Dutch oven is considered a portable stove and is recommendedfor cooking on charcoal or in the embers of a campfire. Camp style Dutch ovenshave a smooth bottom with three short legs. The legs raise it above a heat source,enable it to stay balanced during campfire and fireplace cooking, and allow forstacking it on top of another camp style Dutch oven. The camp style Dutch ovenhas a flat lid with a flange around the edge to keep charcoal on top. Hot coalsplaced on top of the lid provide a more uniformed heat. The lid of a camp styleDutch oven can be used upside down as a griddle.Dutch Oven Tips Temperature Testing Dutch Ovens: Place a spoonful of flour in a smallpie pan and place pan inside hot Dutch oven with a lid for 5 minutes.Flour-still white – less than 300 F; Flour-light brown – approx. 350 F;Flour-dark brown – approx. 450 F; Flour-black or burned – too hot forcooking. When baking bread, rolls, or cake in a Camp Dutch oven, removebottom heat after 2/3 of cooking time. It will finish cooking from the topheat. This will keep it from burning on the bottom. For camp style Dutch oven cooking, each charcoal briquette providesapproximately 10-15 F of heat for about an hour period. A rule of thumb to determine the amount of charcoal briquettes neededfor camp style Dutch oven cooking is as follows: Diameter of oven 3 briquettes on top & Diameter of oven – 3 briquettes on bottom. Ofcourse, one needs to allow for weather conditions during cooking. To avoid hot spots on Camp Dutch ovens, rotate oven ¼ turn every 15minutes and the lid ¼ turn in the opposite direction.v

Camp Dutch OvenCakesBLUEBERRY FANTASY CAKECake:2 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking soda½ teaspoon salt1 cup butter1 teaspoon vanilla extract1 teaspoon butter flavor2 cups sugar5 egg yolks (reserve whites)1 cup buttermilk1 cup flaked coconut½ teaspoon cream of tartarFilling:1 12-ounce can blueberry piefillingFrosting:2 cups cold whipping cream1 cup powdered sugar½ teaspoon vanilla extractSift together flour, baking soda and salt. In large mixing bowl, beat butter,vanilla and butter flavor until soft. Gradually mix in 1½ cups sugar until light.Beat in egg yolks 1 at a time. Alternately mix in flour and buttermilk starting andending with flour. Stir in coconut. In separate bowl, beat egg whites and creamof tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually mix in the remaining ½ cup sugar andcontinue beating until stiff but not dry. Gently fold egg whites into batter one halfat a time.Grease the bottom and sides of a 12” Dutch oven. Pour batter into Dutchoven and spread evenly to sides. Bake using 8-10 coals on bottom and 14-16coals on top until lightly golden and top springs back when touched, about 60minutes. For best results rotate oven and lid 90 degrees in opposite directionsevery 15 minutes while baking. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invertcake onto a cooling rack and finish cooling. Cut cake in half horizontally. Separatehalves.Frosting: In chilled bowl, whip the cream. Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla.Chill for 5 minutes.Set 1 cake layer on a plate cut side up. Spread on blueberry pie filling. Top withsecond cake layer, cut side down. Frost top and sides with whip cream frosting.Garnish with fresh blueberries and white chocolate curls. Serves: 12-15.1

CARROT PINEAPPLE CAKECake:1½ cups vegetable oil2 cups sugar3 eggs2½ cups grated carrots1 cup crushed pineapple1 tablespoon grated orange peel2 teaspoons vanilla3 cups all purpose flour2 teaspoons baking soda2 teaspoons baking powder1 teaspoon cinnamon1 teaspoon salt½ cup flaked coconut1 cup chopped nutsFrosting:1 8-ounce package creamcheese; softened½ cup butter; room temperature3 cups powdered sugar1 teaspoon vanilla½ cup crushed pineapple; welldrainedIn large bowl, mix together oil, sugar, eggs, carrots, pineapple, orange peeland vanilla. In separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder,cinnamon and salt. Stir flour mixture into wet ingredients then stir in coconut andnuts.Grease and flour the bottom and sides of a 12” Dutch oven. Pour batter intoDutch oven and spread evenly to sides. Bake using 8-10 coals bottom and 14-16coals top for 45-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cake comesout clean. For best results rotate oven and lid 90 degrees in opposite directionsevery 15 minutes while baking. Allow cake to cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invertcake onto a cooling rack and finish cooling. Cut cake in half horizontally. Separatehalves.Frosting: Cream together all ingredients. Transfer a of the frosting to anotherbowl and stir in pineapple.Set 1 cake layer on a plate cut side up. Spread the pineapple frosting acrosstop of cake half. Top with second cake layer, cut side down. Frost top and sideswith remaining frosting. Serves: 12-15.EASY “PEACHY” CAKE1 yellow cake mix3 eggsa cup vegetable oil130-ounce can sliced peaches,drained (reserve syrup)In large mixing bowl, mix together cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil and drainedsyrup from peaches until smooth (about 2 minutes). Pour batter into buttered12” Dutch oven. Arrange peach slices over top of batter. Cover oven and bakeusing 8-10 briquettes bottom and 14-16 briquettes top for 60 minutes or until topcenter of cake springs back when touched. Serve topped with whipped cream.Serves: 8-10.2

BANANA PINEAPPLE CAKECake:3 cups all-purpose flour2 cups granulated sugar1 teaspoon baking soda1 teaspoon salt1 teaspoon cinnamon1 cup crushed pineapple,undrained3 eggs, beaten1½ cups vegetable oil2 cups ripe bananas, mashed2 teaspoons vanilla1½ cups chopped walnuts orpecansFrosting:4 tablespoons butter, roomtemperature3 cups powdered sugar, sifted3 tablespoons pineapple juicea cup crushed pineapple,drainedIn large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, soda, salt and cinnamon. Add remainingingredients and mix together until just thoroughly combined. Turn batter out intoa greased and floured 10” Dutch oven and spread evenly. Place lid on oven andbake using 6-8 briquettes bottom and 12-14 briquettes top for 60-75 minutes oruntil a to

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