MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus on Twitter · Facebook · Flickr · Newsletters · Instagram 
Saturday, August 30, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 69.0° F  Partly Cloudy
Collapse Photo Bar

Cast Iron Pan

Grocery stores, recipes, cook books, CSAs, farmers' markets, organic, local, processed, corporate. It's a smorgabord!

Cast Iron Pan

Postby Bwis53 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 10:10 pm

I just bought a stainless steel 3qt.pan, so pretty I'll keep it regardless. I'm considering getting a cast iron one, about the same size. What I'd be cooking in it, mostly, is soups and stews. I don't want enamel ware, I want the cast iron. Am I being unrealistic about what I want to cook, in cast iron?
Bwis53
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6336
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:39 pm
Location: Bay Creek

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby fennel » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:44 pm

I love cast iron, but it doesn't lend itself to cooking with a lot of liquid, especially if that liquid is somewhat acidic, as is the case for tomatoes, white wine, orange juice ...
And cast iron likes to be kept "seasoned" and lightly oiled. It doesn't tolerate washing with detergent.

I don't see any particular advantage to cast iron over good enamelware, except that it's much cheaper. If frying/sautéing is your main use, cast iron is perfecto in terms of value and performance. (Especially if you have an induction top.) But for soups and stews, I'd recommend enamel ware (Staub) or stainless. I hate All-Clad because of the goofy little vestigial handles – clunky and seemingly designed to burn hands – but it cooks well.
fennel
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 3156
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:24 pm
Location: Inside the Green Zone, Madison

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby Bwis53 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:33 am

Hmmm, okay, I was thinking of the extra iron I might like to digest. Then again, lentils have iron anyways.
Bwis53
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6336
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:39 pm
Location: Bay Creek

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby jjoyce » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:01 pm

I've got a Lodge cast iron dutch oven that I've used to make a few soups/braises. Love it. But it sucks to clean, especially if you're cooking something that needs to be scraped off the bottom. It can bake on there pretty quickly. Get yourself some good steel utensils (spatula, spoon) to make life easier.

I say go for it. The enamel stuff is very expensive, but I love my Lodge cookware, especially my big ol' skillet.
jjoyce
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 12168
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2001 4:48 pm
Location: Madison, WI

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby chainsawcurtis » Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:16 pm

I'm not sure where anyone gets the notion that good cast iron pans are cheap. That said I'm not an expert on cast iron skillets but have seasoned a few in my day.

i found this link which describes pretty much how I've done it in the past.

http://www.kitchenemporium.com/info/castiron.html

Heat oven to 300˚
Coat the inside of the pan liberally with annimal fat
Cook for a while then remove and discard the excess grease.
Return to oven and cook for another couple of hours

I know of at least one guy who never washes his pan but instead rubs coarse salt into the bottom to clean it.

Also, a three quart pot to cook a soup- or stew seems pretty small, no?
chainsawcurtis
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 327
Joined: Fri May 20, 2005 2:30 pm
Location: Toetown, WI

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby barney » Fri Jul 30, 2010 4:25 pm

Lodge dutch oven pre-seasoned - Amazon has them for 30 bucks (free shipping - which is good, that shit's heavy) or so, or if you want to buy local, check out a hardware store, Farm and Fleet (best selection of Lodge in Madison) or that kitchen place over by Penzeys.

I love all of my cast iron (I have quite a few pieces). Bought one not seasoned, never again. Pre-seasoned is the way to go, Lodge is the best.

Only drawback to cast iron is you really need to clean it immediately, or you have to get out the chisel. I use kosher salt and a bristle brush - works like a charm. Dry it on the stove, then spray with a little oil and back in the cupboard it goes. (I have used mild detergent too for really stuck stuff, I just don't soak them - that's what can wreck the seasoning. And, obviously, no dishwasher.)
barney
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 760
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:43 pm

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby fennel » Fri Jul 30, 2010 5:36 pm

barney wrote:... I just don't soak them - that's what can wreck the seasoning.
Or, of course, setting them over a high flame to heat, then blithely deciding it's a good time to check e-mail.
fennel
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 3156
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:24 pm
Location: Inside the Green Zone, Madison

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby HOMOsapien » Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:36 pm

Lodge

is

the

shit

The SO and I use our Dutch oven and pan all the time. American made!
HOMOsapien
 

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby snoqueen » Fri Jul 30, 2010 7:32 pm

Cast iron is available used. I have accumulated a complete set of graduated size cast iron pans, mostly Wagner (one of the two classic brands) numbers 3 up to 11 or 12. (Good luck finding the #7, ha! I finally snagged one.) #3 is perfect for a fried egg, #6 or so is perfect for cornbread, and #12 makes a great pizza. I can't imagine cooking without 'em.

You want to look for nice clean pans, no caked on black stuff, but they aren't that hard to find and they are MUCH cheaper than new. I like the smooth surface of the classic pans better than the slightly knobby surface inside Lodge pans. Since the pans don't wear out, there's no reason a used one is inferior in any way.

I've also got a cast iron dutch oven (I inherited that one) but I don't use it much. They're mostly good for cooking meat. If you want to make pot roast or fried chicken, that's the way to go. I don't make chili or soup in the dutch oven because no matter how well it's seasoned, I think it discolors the food. The discoloration won't hurt you, it's just a bit of iron. Maybe I am too picky, but I prefer to make soup in a stainless steel pot with a double bottom.
snoqueen
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 11433
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:42 pm

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby Bwis53 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 9:01 pm

Thanks y'all! I appreciate the input.

I already have two Lodge fry pans, from Ace on Willy. I enjoy making garlic, onion, bacon, potato with egg, in them.

The stainless steel pan says 3qt. but it looks like a 4 to me. Besides, three servings of my favorite is about all I want.
Bwis53
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6336
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2002 9:39 pm
Location: Bay Creek

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby juice » Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:33 am

I've been using a 7 qt Lodge for a few years, and it's my most frequently used pan in the kitchen. I'll make a basic tomato sauce, brothy soups, hearty stews, etc. - basically anything but boil water, and nothing seems funny to me(I'm not fussy).
Even though you're looking for only a few portions, this size is great for frying in. It's important to have a lot, so your oil temperature doesn't drop and your food will come out crispy. High sides are a plus for stovetop spatters.
I saw one recently with a lid for around $45, either Kavanaugh's(behind Zimbrick Honda) or Farm 'n Fleet. I'll keep the money and take the rugged looks over some fancy French oven.
juice
Senior Member
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:41 pm

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby juice » Sat Jul 31, 2010 12:38 am

fennel wrote:
barney wrote:... I just don't soak them - that's what can wreck the seasoning.
Or, of course, setting them over a high flame to heat, then blithely deciding it's a good time to check e-mail.


I disagree. All you need to do to re-season in this case is let it cool a little bit, I think to around 450 degrees, and the pores in the pan will soak up a quick wipe of an oil-soaked rag.
juice
Senior Member
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 6:41 pm

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby beenie » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:49 pm

jjoyce wrote:I say go for it. The enamel stuff is very expensive, but I love my Lodge cookware, especially my big ol' skillet.


The Lodge enameled stuff isn't too over-the-top as far as enameled cast iron is concerned if you watch for sales, especially on Amazon. Got my 3qt. Dutch oven for $25 in the seconds room of the outlet store in Tennessee (never found the defect that made it a "second," and yeah, I realize that's not an option here), and I got my 6qt. Dutch oven as a gift, but I've seen the 6qt. go as low as $47 on Amazon (right now, actually). Seems like a lot for one piece, but I use them almost exclusively (and the Le Creuset is over $200 for the same thing). Pretty much the only thing I don't cook in them is fried or scrambled eggs.
beenie
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 191
Joined: Mon May 21, 2007 12:37 pm
Location: Barely Fitchburg

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby dudemeister » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:04 pm

We switched to cast iron for most cooking a couple years ago. The posts above make it sound like you need to take a lot of care of the seasoning but I find that a quick swish with a scrub sponge and towel dry works fine. If oily from frying stuff, then you might want to use a small amount of dish detergent. But don't go scrubbing away. The key is to not clean them too much.

And you'll definitely need stainless or enameled for acidic foods like spaghetti sauce or they'll be inedible.
dudemeister
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 209
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 12:12 pm

Re: Cast Iron Pan

Postby msnflyer » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:15 pm

I grew up eating spaghetti sauce, chili, etc. made in the cast iron dutch oven using home canned tomatoes. If there was any discoloration it was slight and there were no off flavors. It may have been because the oven was well used, it was on the stove or in the oven weekly, more often in the winter. The inside was glass smooth due to age and use. I have my Grandmother's dutch oven which is in the same condition but now seldom used because I don't make chili by the gallon any more.

My newer, pebble-y Lodge dutch oven will sometimes give a slight off flavor to acidic foods. Have found my Le Crueset small dutch oven to be the perfect size for chili, 1/2 pound of meat, a quart of tomatoes, a can of beans (sacrilege!) make enough for a couple of meals but not enough to overwhelm.

Le Crueset has an outlet store in Kenosha.
msnflyer
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 380
Joined: Thu Jan 30, 2003 9:22 am

Next

Return to Cooking & Food issues

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


commentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR

Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar