Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cooking With Lodge Skillets

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.
Since I learned about that little scrub brush, I've cooked with this large skillet for almost a year and have no problem brushing it clean with just water and my Lodge pan scrubber. To finish it off, wipe it dry and coat it with a thin layer of oil, then put it on the stove to heat for a few minutes.

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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  1. I have many cast iron pans and pots, one they are properly seasoned they are just perfect! I would never give mine up. I do use soap on mine too :)

    1. Apparently the soap breaks down the seasoning film that we work to build up so the pan becomes non-stick eventually. It's amazing how many books there are on how to care for cast iron.

  2. My goodness! That was some gun fight!
    And for someone who doesn't cook much - THAT one sounds (and LOOKS) delicious. I must go find me one of those scrub brushes, by the way...

  3. That turkey looks delicious. I've given up on cast iron. But that green Dutch oven is gorgeous.

  4. Certainly looks good. I am a great fan of cast iron cookware. Impressive dutch oven, love the colour.

  5. I was raised in East Tennessee and have never been to South Pittsburg. Sounds delightful

  6. Food looks amazing! Great share!

  7. I like cooking with cast iron too.
    You got some handy gadgets there.

  8. That turkey looks so good. I don't have a cast iron skillet but I do have a dutch oven which I use a lot. Thank you for your visit and your helpful hints. Happy Thursday..Judy

  9. Continuing: thanks for your last visit. I have never done dried sunflowers before either, but they dried so nicely that I thought I'd give them a try. Will show when I get to doing it..Judy

  10. Great trip and some great purchases! Love that dutch oven!! Hope you are doing well! We are in the process of selling our home and moving back to the Dallas area!! :-)

  11. Rivercrest Cottage,
    Hm~m~m. . .I've never enjoyed cooking in cast iron, but if Wild Bill wants you to not lose the recipe, I may have to reconsider! (wink!)
    Your meal sure looks YuMMy!

  12. I have a cast iron skillet!
    and I actually use it!
    I'm NOT a cook, so that's really saying something.

    I'm using it right now. It's upside down on top of my pizza stone so that no one can get at the pizza! LOL!

    But that turkey looks so GOOD!
    I might have to try the recipe.

  13. We love cooking with cast iron! Your green pot is fabulous and your gadgets look so helpful. I'll have to see if I can find some.

  14. I enjoyed following your cooking adventure. You made me laugh with the opening sentence.

  15. What a fun trip! I have a cast iron skillet that I bought at a garage sale, probably close to forty years ago. No telling how old it might be. Your green lidded pot is so pretty and the turkey meal looks so tasty!
    Thanks for your visit to my blog!

  16. My gosh that turkey meal looks so good, gonna try it.
    I love cast iron skillets for my cornbread especially. They last forever. Meat claws, I never heard about til now, thank you for sharing and will look for me a set.

  17. We're not big cooks around here either, but I have to admit that we recently purchased a cast iron dutch oven and it makes the task a little more fun!! :)