A Guide To Cooking With Cast Iron

Cast in Style present the definitive guide to cooking with cast iron cookware, the healthy, durable alternative to modern metals.

Cast iron Skillet Pans
Cast iron Skillet Pans

Cast iron kitchenware has been used in kitchens around the world for years; it’s proved incredibly popular over time as it’s created from a long lasting metal that conducts heat brilliantly, thus consistently cooking food fantastically. These are the original pans, which were available well before their chemically manufactured steel and aluminium alternatives, and provide users with a much more affordable and healthy way to cook their food.

Unlike the modern non-stick pans, cooking with cast iron is an experience that only gets better with time, and if the pots and pans are maintained properly they can last for many generations. This means that if they are treated properly you could be teaching your grandchildren about the wonders of this versatile cookware.

Seasoning Your Cookware:

You can ensure your cooking utensils’ longevity through a process called ‘seasoning’. As mentioned above, modern non-stick pans are coated with chemical compounds, such as Perfluorooctanoic acid, that wear away over time.

Unseasoned cast iron pans and skillets are easily seasoned by the application of a natural layer of oil and fat, which also protects the utensils from rusting. Most modern cookware comes pre-seasoned, like the skillets and pans available from our store.

That being said, your kitchenware will need to be re-seasoned eventually in order to keep them properly maintained and ensure that they last as long as possible. The instructions below detail how you can season a cast iron pan in 6 easy steps.

  1. Clean the pan. Make sure you use hot (non-soapy) water to wash off any dirt, grime, leftover food or rust so that your pan is completely sparkling. If you need to use soap make sure you apply as little as possible and wash it all off afterwards. This is the only time you’ll ever apply soap to your skillet, so you’ll want to make sure it’s completely rinsed clean before moving onto the next step.
  2. Dry the pan. You need to get the pan bone dry before you season it. Be sure to use a tea towel you don’t mind getting dirty, as the pan may cause some discolouration.
  3. Pre-heat your oven to 250-300oC. You’ll want it nice and hot before you put your pan inside.
  4. Coat the pan in cooking oils, lard or grease. You’ll want to cover the inside of the pan in this and you’re going to be baking it for quite a while, so make sure you avoid oils with a low smoke point, such as butter.
  5. Put the pan in the oven. Being very careful not to burn yourself, place the pan on one of the oven racks and let it cook for about 15 minutes. After this time has passed use a pair of oven mitts to remove the pan and pour out any excess grease down your sink. Then simply place the pan back in the oven (again being incredibly careful not to burn yourself) and leave it to cook for up to 2 hours.
  6. After 2 hours turn off the oven and leave the pan to cool to room temperature inside before removing it and storing it away in a dry place. These steps can be repeated as regularly as you wish in order to re-season the pan.

Cooking Healthily:

Now that you’ve got a perfectly seasoned pot, it’s time to start cooking some delicious meals. Because they’re free from chemicals, these skillets offer a much healthier alternative to cooking than regular non-stick pans. It also helps that the pans can increase the iron levels within food that’s cooked on them, which in turn strengthens our bodily levels and helps fight iron deficiency.

You know why you should cook with cast iron, but do you know what to cook yet? This kind of cookware performs well all over the kitchen, whether it’s inside your oven or on top of the grill; no matter if you’re frying food or baking it; there’s no end to what you can cook with these fantastic utensils. Below is one our favourite recipes, but there are plenty more to find online.

Pork In Mushroom Sauce

For succulently seared pork chops in an ever-so-creamy mushroom sauce, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 4 bone-still-in pork chops, each about ½ an inch thick
  • 1/3 cup of shallots, minced
  • 8 ounces mixed mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup of dry white wine, your choice of brand
  • ½ cup of freshly chopped garden herbs (parsley, chives etc.)
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • ½ cup full-fat cream
  1. Turn your hob to a medium heat and pour one large table spoon of olive oil onto a large skillet, and then apply two of your pork chops.
  2. Season the chops with a quarter of the salt and ground black pepper and cook them for roughly 6 minutes, turning once.
  3. Cover the cooked chops with foil and put them aside, repeat steps one and two with the other pieces of pork.
  4. With the pork chops cooked and set aside add the shallots, mushrooms and remaing tablespoon of oil to the pan. Allow them to cook until you start to notice the mushrooms browning.
  5. Add the wine and the salt, and stir until the liquid very nearly evaporates.
  6. Finally, stir in the remaining ingredients and cook the sauce until it bubbles. Serve up on top the pork with some tasty roasted vegetables and you’ve got yourself and divine tasting dinner.

Cleaning Cast Iron Cookware:

You’ve got to be very careful when cleaning your cast iron kitchenware, as you want to keep the utensils in the best condition possible. Never put your pans in the dishwasher and don’t ever wash the pans with soap unless you plan on stripping them of their seasoning.

After cooking fill the pan or skillet with hot water, so that any stubborn food particles are soaked away. Don’t leave the pan to soak for too long though. If there any particularly tough to remove stains, try heating the pan to a safe temperature and scrubbing them with a stiff brush.

Once it is properly clean, dry your pan completely and coat it with a thin layer of oil so that it stays well-seasoned.

For more information on how to take good care of your cast iron cookware and the many other products we sell take a look at the helpful guides on our site.

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