Posts Tagged ‘cast iron’

The perfect pot for browning a roux

December 12, 2008

I love anything thickened with a roux. I make Béchamel for all my casseroles instead of using canned cream soups. I make a roux for the base of macaroni and cheese, roux for Étouffée, roux for gravy. And then of course, I make a roux for gumbo.  I’ve heard it said that gumbo is actually love you can eat, and I buy that.

I just stood in the kitchen for about 4 hours, stiring and adjusting, and loving the hell out of a gumbo recipe found on 101cookbooks. com.  I highly recommend that recipe.  However, the best part of the entire meal was browning the roux in my Le Creuset dutch oven.  Andy bought the 6 3/4 quart and 3 1/2 quart models in my favorite blue over the last year. I’ve been using them for every roasted bird, stewed stew, pot roast, or loaf of bread I’ve made since.

Using the enameled cast iron allowed me to brown the perfect roux. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten one darker than today’s, and it didn’t burn even a little.  The heat distribution and retention is great on cast iron, so you get an evenly browned mixture. Plus, since the le creuset are enameled, the pan comes perfectly clean as you scrape it with a wooden spatula. Somehow, using this pan instead of my usual cast iron skillet let me cook the roux for much longer (around 50 minutes). It smelled like toasted popcorn and tasted like roasted nuts.

If you have the dime you must pick one up. http://www.amazon.com/Creuset-Enameled-Cast-Iron-4-Quart-French/dp/B000EWNXKS/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1229046979&sr=1-3

This was about 40 minutes in. 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of flour. It ended up chocolate brown.

This was about 40 minutes in. 1 cup of butter, 1 cup of flour. It ended up chocolate brown.

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Scallop and Brown Rice Bowl

October 17, 2008

I just tossed this together in one pan and ate it in a big bowl.  Cast iron skillets are the perfect tool to make great meals for just one or two people.  I love to buy bags of frozen brown rice from Whole Foods to add to single serving meals like this.  Quinoa or any other rice or grain would have done just as well.

Spray olive oil
2 large sea scallops, fresh
1 scant cup Crimini mushrooms, sliced
½ red bell pepper, seeded and diced (I used a left-over grilled one)
2 tbs green onion, chopped
2 tbs cilantro, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ lemon
½ cup brown rice (I used whole grain, frozen. Quinoa would be good too)

Spray scallops with olive oil, then season with kosher salt and cracked pepper.  Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium heat, then spray with additional olive oil.  Sear scallops, chop them into bite sized pieces,  and set aside.  Spray more oil into skillet and add the mushrooms. Add 1 or 2 tbs of water to the pan if necessary to keep from sticking.  Add cracked pepper to taste.  Add bell pepper, zest, herbs, and lemon juice.  Toss to combine.  Add brown rice and heat through adding a few tbs of water if necessary to keep from burning.  Add back scallops and toss with other ingredients just to combine.  Serve in a large bowl topped with a dollop of thick Greek yogurt (or Dill Yogurt Dressing) and a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese.