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Lodge Cast Iron Cookware has been a favorite product of my family for as long as I can remember. And, since Lodge has been manufacturing their cookware for well over 100 years (since 1896) I don’t have to tell you that some of my cast iron cookware pieces are what some would consider “ancient”; as they have been passed down from generation to generation. Some of my favorite pieces of the cast iron cookware are the skillets and of course my Dutch oven; especially since I have a family of five to feed. I can remember my grandmother cooking dinner for the whole family and she would drag out her big cast iron skillet and make a huge pan of cornbread. Boy was that the best cornbread I ever tasted. Speaking of cornbread, Lodge Manufacturing in conjunction with Martha White hold what they call a National Cornbread Festival each year in South Pittsburg, TN in which contestants must use Lodge cast iron pieces and Martha White products. This contest is nothing to sneeze at – especially since the grand prize is $5,000 as well as lots of other gifts from both Martha White and Lodge Manufacturing.
Recently I was expecting a large crowd for dinner and I thought, “What in the world am I going to cook for crowd this big?” and then it hit me. I could cook up something that would go a along way and use my Lodge Logic Cast Iron Dutch Ovens to get the task done without messing up every dish in my kitchen. So for this dinner I fixed chili beans in one of my Dutch ovens and an apple crisp in the other. The reviews were fantastic. Everyone loved the chili beans as well as the apple crisp and was amazed that I could produce that amount of food in only two dishes. So, I thought it would be a good ideal to share one of these recipes with everyone out there. I would share my recipe for chili beans but since it is considered a family secret, I had better keep that one to myself! I also have two Dutch oven cookbooks, Dutch Oven Cookin’ and the Cast Iron Cuisine Cookbook and both are great cookbooks for using with your cast iron pieces – for recipes and helpful hints.
To start with I spray my Lodge cast iron cookware with cooking spray to make sure I don’t have anything to stick to the pan. Now, I always buy my Lodge cast iron cookware seasoned and ready to use but if you prefer buying yours unseasoned then you can season your cast iron fairly easy. To season your cast iron all you have to do is wash it thoroughly in hot, soapy water (remember, no harsh detergents) and scrub with a stiff brush, rinse and dry it completely. Then coat the entire surface (both inside and out) of your cast iron piece with vegetable shortening or vegetable oil and place in your oven, which has been preheated to 350 degrees. Bake for 1 hour and then leave your piece in the oven until it has completely cooled. Now you are ready to cook in your new cast iron cookware.
Here is my favorite recipe to use with my lodge logic cookware:
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Nutmeg
3 cups Quaker quick oats
1 cup All-Purpose flour
2 cups brown sugar
2 tsp. Salt
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Slice and core apples, you can peel them if you like but I normally leave the peelings on. If you are in a hurry grab a couple cans of apple pie filling and use them in place of the fresh apples. As you can see from the pictures, I cheated and used canned apple pie filling in this one. This saves you some time and no one will ever know the difference. In a medium sized bowl, combine apples, cinnamon and nutmeg and toss to coat apples thoroughly. Set aside until later. In another medium sized bowl combine quick oats, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter; mix by hand until well blended. Spray your Dutch oven with cooking spray. Now press half of the crust mixture into the bottom and up the sides of your Dutch oven. Pour the apples onto the crust and cover them with the remaining crust mixture. Put the lid on your Dutch oven and place it into the oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. This is great served warm with vanilla ice cream. Serves 6.
Note: I normally use the 5 qt. Dutch oven but you can easily double the recipe and use the 9 qt. Dutch oven for large crowds.
Cleaning and caring for Lodge cast iron cookware is so easy and that is another reason I am so partial to it. All I do to clean mine is to place it in hot, soapy water – mild detergent only as harsh detergents will remove the seasoning from the cast iron pieces – and scrub it with a good stiff brush. Then I rinse it off and towel dry it completely. That’s it, it is now ready to store until the next time you use it. Never place your cast iron pieces in cold water as this can warp or crack them. If your cast iron piece begins to show a little rust all you need to do is clean it like you normally would and season it as if you bought it unseasoned (I will talk more on how to season your cast iron later in this forum). Oh, as a reminder, if you have a piece that has a lid to it make sure you place a paper towel in between the two pieces so that air can circulate them.
Now that you know how great cast iron cookware is I hope that you invest in at least one piece to see what all the hype is about.