Earlier this month marked four years since I moved to America, and as I look back over the passed four years, I have to give myself a round of applause for adapting so well to life out here. Sure I still (and always will) hate the winters, and being so reliant my car is becoming boring and bad for the environment, and I’m still not 100% sure where I stand on Cincinnati Chili, but we have established a wonderful home here, I’m settled in my job, and after much trial and error- day I say a tad more of the latter of the two- I finally have mastered cup measurements and iron skillets, both alien concepts to this Brit.
Cooking with a cast iron pan has never been something I’ve been that interested in doing, namely as other pans work just fine but probably more to do with the fact that I never owned one and wouldn’t know what to do with it should I ever buy one. But my amazing friends at Lodge gifted me my first ever iron skillet and my culinary doors were blown wide open! Along with care instructions, I also received a fab recipe book full of southern recipes, from the to-be-expected biscuits and gravy to more unique fare such as south coast hominy. But to test out this exceptional piece of equipment, I wanted to try one of my own recipes, to test the waters as it were.
I’ll make no apologies for cheating slightly and using a store-bought sauce and pasta, below is a quick and easy recipe making use of ingredients many of us have lying around in fridges and cupboards. This is, by all means, a gateway recipe into me experimenting more with cast iron skillets!
1lb ground beef
1 white onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup grated parmesan, plus more for serving
packet of fresh linguine or spaghetti
jar of preferred red pasta sauce
In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, bread crumbs, minced garlic and onion, parsley and parmesan before adding the egg yolk and combine well.
Roll out 12-14 equal sized meatballs in your hand. Heat your skillet on a medium high heat and spray with cooking spray – be generous! Cook the meatballs for 2-3 minutes on each side, until brown before adding your sauce and reducing the heat.
Simmer the meatballs in the sauce for a further 10 minutes, and cook your pasta.
Drain the pasta and crack some black pepper all over before serving 3-4 meatballs per person. Dust with the remaining parmesan and serve!
Below are just some of the care tips from Lodge.
- Wash cast iron by hand with a nylon bristle scrub brush. If needed, use a pan scraper for stuck on bits. For extra sticky situations, simmer a little water for 1 minute, then use the scraper after cooled.
- Dry promptly and thoroughly with a lint-free cloth or paper towel.
- Rub with a very light layer of cooking oil or our Seasoning Spray, preferably while the cookware is still warm.
- Hang or store cookware in a dry place.
- Occasionally, you may notice some dark residue on your paper towel or cloth when cleaning. This is perfectly safe — it’s just the seasoning (the baked-on cooking oil) reacting to foods that may be slightly acidic or alkaline. It will disappear with regular use and care.
- Soap isn’t always necessary, but if you like, a little mild detergent is fine. Promise. Stay away from dishwashers and metal scouring pads, which can harm the seasoning.
- Seasoning is simply oil baked onto the iron, giving it a natural, easy-release finish.
- Lodge seasons all of its cookware with soy vegetable oil and nothing else.
- Any food-safe cooking oil/shortening will work for maintaining your cookware. We recommend vegetable oil or canola oil, like our Seasoning Spray.
- The best way to maintain the seasoning on your cast iron is simply to use it! Cooking in it regularly using any kind of cooking oil is a great way to keep your pan looking and performing well.