**Giveaway Closed: 4/23/2012**
With mangled hand-me-down pots and pans, minimal ingredients (or money to spend on them), and crowded kitchens, sometimes it’s easy to have a college meal go awry. For me, however, a cast iron skillet meal is always a sure thing. After all, as The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook boasts, “Cast iron skillets are bound up in American cooking. No matter which part of the country you grew up in, your mother or grandmother most likely cooked in cast iron.” The cookbook explains that the reason for this quality, un-screwup-able nature of cast iron cooking is that “cast iron cookware resists scorching and burning, and it cooks food evenly.” See…perfect!
Personally, I’ve always been familiar with ways to sear and fry meats in cast iron, but it wasn’t until I cracked open the Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook that I realized just how much these things can do. Lodge Manufacturing, the namesake of the cookbook, was founded by Joseph Lodge in 1896, and to date, is the only American manufacturer of cast iron cookware. I think it’s safe to say these guys are the experts, and after flipping through the cookbook, and then reflipping for all the juicy details I’d missed the first time, I think they have all the information.
Immediately, the cookbook welcomes the reader to their “family table” by telling the story of the company and then sharing the history behind cast iron cooking. From there, the cookbook is dvided into nine chapters: National Cornbread Festival, Breakfast, Soup, Stew, Gumbo & Chili, The Main Course, Cooking Outdoors, Sides, Nothin’ but Cornbread, Desserts, Biscuits & Bread, Caring for Cast Iron, and then of course, a helpful metric chart and index in the back. Every single recipe comes alongside a beautiful photograph and most have a personal story attached to the history of the recipe. As if those charming details aren’t enough to entice you, the recipes look phenomenal and include everything from Southern Brunswick Stew to Feather Light Rolls or Simple Berry Skillet Cobbler that will instantly leave your mouth watering.
Admittedly, agonizing over a skillet cobbler between studying and extracurricular commitments wouldn’t at first glance sound like something I had time for. However, this cookbook breaks down every single step in a way that not only informs the reader, but actually teaches in a way that will allow an application of these skills to other dishes. The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook doesn’t just aim for one-time results, but a lifetime of sturdy cast iron cooking, which to me, is a perfect fit for all of us college readers!
To enter the Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook Giveaway, you must:
Shannon Kelley is finishing her master’s degree by student teaching in St. Louis, Missouri and is very thankful that her parents (er, roommates) own and love a cast iron skillet.
Simple Berry Skillet Cobbler
From The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook
1 (10-ounce) package frozen rasperries or 1 pint fresh berries
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup plus two tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
Place a 10-inch cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat oven to 350°F.
Stir together the raspberries, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, the lemon juice, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
Melt the butter in the skillet in the oven until it starts to brown around the edge and foam. It’s important to have the butter sizzling hot! While the butter is melting, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup flour and granulated sugar, the baking powder, salt, and milk in a large bowl, just until combined.
The batter may still have a few lumps, but it should be about the consistency of pancake batter. Pour the batter over the butter in the hot skillet. Do not stir. Immediately spoon the berry mixture on top of the batter.
Bake until the crust looks golden and crisp, 30-35 minutes.