Not everyone who avoids cooking as much as we do would take a big deter on a road trip to go to the factory store of Lodge cookware. Wild Bill and I did just that last year while on a trip to Georgia.
Lodge cookware is made in a tiny little Tennesee town called South Pittsburg. Don't let the name fool ya. It is a charming and friendly little place way off the beaten path. Well...maybe Christmas night of 1927 got a little scary, but the town doesn't try to hide its history.
If you're a good southern cook, you might want to compete in the annual cook-off at the National Cornbread Festival held there each year.
We were in town to see where Lodge makes their cast iron cookware and buy some pieces for our kitchen.
I bought this short cast iron dutch oven so cheaply it was worth tucking it under the backseat of the pickup truck and carrying it around with us through four or five states 'til we got home a week later.
This Lodge scrub brush was easier to carry, but has proved to be worth its weight in gold. For years I've loved the idea of cooking with cast iron skillets and dutch ovens...
but I would buy a cast iron skillet and try to follow the instructions for cleaning it (NO DISH SOAP, WATER ONLY) and end up with a grungy mess that I couldn't get out of the pan. Eventually I would end up throwing the skillet out or, if I could, give it away.
Here's another item we bought at the Lodge factory that has proven useful beyond its small price. Meat Claws! Yes, I love them.
The claws are perfect for lifting meat off the grill, out of pots or whatever else you use to cook meat. We've used them to lift a big Thanksgiving turkey out of the roaster without any problem at all. Here I used them to lift a small turkey breast out of a slow cooker and into the Lodge skillet.
I found a yummy looking recipe on a cooking blog, which called for using a slow cooker to cook a small turkey breast. It just was not working for me, so after an hour in the slow cooker, I transferred the breast into the large skillet and put it in the oven at 350 for about an hour to finish it off.
I put the veggies into my Lodge dutch oven and baked them with the turkey until the veggies were done. The turkey breast was already cooked when I bought it, so I was just trying to heat it up and brown it a little.
The recipe called for adding a can of "whole berry " cranberry sauce, a package of onion soup mix, and some orange juice or chicken broth together and pouring it over a small turkey in a slow cooker. I used chicken broth because I had that on hand. I also added vegetables as my turkey breast was pre-cooked, not raw like the recipe called for.
Those are cranberries from the whole berry cranberry sauce on top of the turkey breast. The recipe said to strain them out, but I didn't bother. They add fiber and are good for you.
While the turkey breast was sitting for 10 minutes, I made gravy right in the cooking pan. Iron skillets make the gravy especially dark and favorful, and I use my skillet to cook any meat I can in the oven.
To make the gravy, I added enough flour to absorb the juices and stirred in the broth from the pan in which the vegetables cooked.
When Wild Bill saw me add a can of whole cranberry sauce to the chicken broth and then pour it into the slow cooker with the turkey, he was skeptical. When he took a bite of the meat and gravy, he looked shocked and said, "Jeeeze. Don't ever lose this recipe!!!" Well said Wild Bill.
I found this recipe via the Stockpiling Moms website, but they cite another website for the original recipe. You can find the recipe at Stockpiling Moms here, and you can find the original recipe at the site, Jamie Cooks It Up. Click under Jamie's picture of her dinner below to go to the original recipe for this meal. Her picture looks so much better than my picture of our meal, but believe me our meal was quite tasty even if it wasn't as pretty!
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