Friday, January 4, 2013

Skillet Cooking - First Attempt

So I got a Lodge pre-seasoned 12" Cast Iron Skillet for Christmas (Thanks, Sis!!). I've never really used an iron skillet much, but decided I wanted to give it a whirl. All the cool kids are doing it, so why not me?!  For New Year's Day brunch, I decided to make a brunch casserole in my new skillet. I searched the interwebs for recipes and found this one.  I liked it because it included all the basic necessities of a breakfast skillet casserole: sausage, potatoes, eggs, cheese, etc. Of course, I changed the recipe, as I always do.

I put some extra oil on my skillet and heated it slowly to medium-high heat because that's what the Lodge instructions for my skillet said to do. Then I browned one pound of Jimmy Dean sausage. The recipe called for italian sausages but for breakfast, I prefer breakfast sausage, and it has to be Jimmy Dean!  Halfway through browning the sausage, I added in chopped onion and a can of sliced mushrooms. After the sausage was cooked through and the onions were tender, I took them out of the skillet and put them in a bowl. For the potatoes, I found in the refrigerated section at the grocery store a bag of cut up potatoes with onions. I put those in the skillet (turning the heat down a bit closer to medium) and cooked them according to the directions on the bag. However, I didn't look at the directions until after I had them in the skillet, and needed to put more oil in the bottom of the skillet, so my potatoes were sticking quite a bit. I'll remember this next time, maybe. I added some oil anyway, just a couple tablespoons of olive oil. After the potatoes were done, I put the sausage/onion/mushroom mixture back on top of the potatoes, and poured in the beaten eggs, stirring just a little to mix it up a bit. Oh, and because I used a pound of sausage instead of the 3/4 that the recipe called for, and because the bag of onions was more than the 2 cups the recipe called for, I used 10 eggs instead of 8.  The recipe said to just cook on top of the stove, but I didn't want to end up burning the bottom, so I put the skillet in the oven on 350 degrees for about 15 - 20 minutes, just until the eggs were set on top. Then I turned off the oven, put the cheese on top of the casserole in the skillet and put it back in the oven for about 5 minutes or so, just until the cheese was melted. I had that four-cheese Mexican cheese, and that was pretty good.

And voila! This is what it looked like:

It came out pretty yummy! Things I would do different next time: (1) Add some green onion and/or green pepper, (2) put more oil in the pan before cooking the potatoes (duh!), (3) add some salsa to my bowl when I ate it. It seemed a little dry to me, so salsa or better yet, some cream gravy (mmmmmm!), would be good on it.

A note about cleaning the iron skillet. I had heard and read in some places that you aren't supposed to wash them. What?! The potatoes, egg and cheese stuck a bit to the skillet, so it would definitely have to get washed. My Lodge instructions (can you believe I read the instructions for anything?!) said to wash with hot water but NO SOAP. Then dry immediately with a towel (not on the stovetop) and apply more vegetable oil while it's still warm.  This method worked pretty well.  I also gave my head dishwasher (my hubby) the skillet cleaning instructions.  :-)

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