Recently I purchased my very first cast iron skillet. I remember my mother having them growing up and I always thought they were a pain. I could barely pick it up because it was so heavy, and cleaning it seemed a bit tedious. Now that I have purchased my own and have practiced with it, I can tell you it is worth it! They say you can use a mild soap to clean it, but if you use it often just soak with some hot water and wipe it with a paper towel. You don't want to wash it with harsh soap because your goal is a well-seasoned pan. Not only will your meals taste better, but they won't stick if the pan is seasoned.
The pan I purchased is one of Emeril's pans from bed bath and beyond and was only $20. That was a steal considering most cast irons run anywhere from $50 and up. What I love about cooking with cast iron is that you can start your dish on the stove-top and then finish it in the oven. The food gets evenly crisp and the outcome does not compare to any other pan. Cast iron is similar to cooking with stone except stone cannot go on your stove top (ask my hubby about that one) and you cannot exceed a temperature of 400 degrees with stone. Ok, enough of the technical stuff, here's my first recipe:
Herb-ed Apple and Brie Chicken
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsps. apple jelly
3oz. Brie cheese
1 tbsp. chimichurri rub (dry)
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375. Unfold chicken and lay flat. Cut off any excess fat and pound the chicken. Rub each side with the chimichurri mix, salt and pepper. Heat a 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet with oil over medium. Once the pan begins to smoke add your chicken. Slide each piece back and forth for a few seconds when you drop it in. This will prevent sticking. I didn't flip my chicken but you can if you like. I cooked it on the stove for about 3 mins and then I transferred it to my pre-heated oven. I placed the rack near the top of my broiler and let it cook for about 15 to 18 mins more. Serve with what ever you like, rice, spinach etc. I served the chicken over steamed cauliflower and it was delish!
Some fun facts about this dish:
I used boneless skinless chicken thighs because they are so juicy and it's almost impossible to overcook them. They do have about 10 percent more fat then boneless skinless breasts, but they have more flavor and more iron and nutrients than the breast. I like to get my thighs I Costco when I can. Their chicken comes with the fat trimmed and they are ready to go for cooking.
Brie Cheese: If you haven't tried it yet, do it! It is one of my favorite cheeses! Pair it with something sweet like grapes, apples or jelly. This creamy cheese is made of cows milk and needs to sit out to soften before use. Before it sits however, it is best to cut the white rind off that surrounds it.
Chimichurri: A friend of my husband was kind enough to give me his own special blend and I couldn't wait to try it. You can use this rub on almost anything. Add some olive oil and sprinkle some parmesan cheese, and dip your favorite bread in the mix. The homemade rub also came with a recipe that is worth sharing:
"marinate little mozzarella balls (I think they're called pearls) in with
the chimmi rub, then skewered with and basil leaves"
You can purchase your own rub or even make it yourself. Follow the recipe bellow:
Hope this serves you well!