Friday, March 16, 2012

The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook: Irish Soda Bread & Giveaway!

This week is a lucky week for you readers! I couldn't control myself and have not one but TWO fantastic giveaways for you this week. The first one was the True Lemon giveaway, so make sure to enter that one. The second one, I just couldn't resist. Nothing says St. Patrick's Day more than a loaf of Irish Soda Bread, so that's what we're sharing today. And not just any Irish Soda Bread recipe, but one from the brand new "The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook published by Oxmoor House. Scroll down and you can enter this weekend only giveaway!

Although I am a newbie to cooking in cast iron, it's something that's been around for MANY years and is now luring even more cooks, bought home cooks and restaurant chefs, to cook in cast iron. Lodge Manufacturing is the ONLY domestic manufacturer of the cast iron pan! Unbelievable that they've been making "America's Original Cookware ™ " since 1896. Well, what is better to accompany great cookware than a great cookbook to go with?

The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook not only features 200 recipes and photographs from cookbook authors and chefs, but is a sort of scrapbook of memories for those sharing their recipes with us. Alongside most recipes is a small memory about the dish, who inspired it, and how long it's been in their family.

Other great chapters in this book includes one of the most important things about cast iron: how to care for it, renew, maintain, and cook from it for many years to come. This has been one of my ongoing studies because I started seeing rust on my pan lately. After reading the book, I took care of reasoning my pan with some fat and heat in the oven, and it's perfectly seasoned again.

You'd think cast iron is limited, but this book showcases the wide range of items you can cook and bake in it. Some chapters are: Breakfast, Cooking Outdoors, Cornbread (an entire chapter on it!), Desserts, Breads, and more. Today we're baking in my cast iron skillet and it's a delicious Irish Soda Bread!

Maggie Doherty’s Irish Soda Bread
Reprinted with permission from Oxmoor House

Maggie Doherty was cookbook author Peggy Fallon’s mother, who swore by cast iron when it came to her soda bread.   Makes one (9-inch) round loaf
4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups raisins (preferably 1 cup
each golden and dark raisins)
2 cups buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
­1.     Preheat the oven to 375°. Generously grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet with vegetable shortening.

2.     Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; whisk gently to blend. Stir in the raisins to coat with the flour mixture. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk and egg; stir until a stiff dough forms. (Use a wooden spoon if you must, but the most efficient way to mix this soft, sticky dough is with floured hands. Alternatively, the dough can be mixed in a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.)

3.     Remove the dough from the bowl and mound it into the prepared skillet, roughly forming a round loaf. (Don’t be concerned that it won’t hold its shape; it will be corrected during baking.) Lightly moisten your hands with water to smooth the top. Using a serrated knife dipped in fl our, score the top with a large X, about 1⁄2-inch deep. (This will ensure even baking, and it will also scare away the devil, according to Peggy’s mother.) Bake until the loaf is golden brown with a firm crust and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped with a knife, about 1 hour.

4.     Remove the bread from the skillet and let cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes before cutting into 1⁄2-inch-thick slices. Serve warm, at room temperature, or toasted, with or without butter.

Giveaway: Want to start cooking with Cast Iron?
Thanks to the generous folks over at Oxmoor House and Lodge, we have a great giveaway prize for one winner! You'll receive a copy of The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook and a 12-inch Cast Iron Skillet from Lodge. See below on how to enter.

How to Enter (please leave a separate comment for every action done.)
The comments are the official entry, there is no purchase necessary, void where prohibited. One (1) winner will be chosen randomly. Prize will be shipped by sponsoring company, US mailing addresses only. The contest ends Sunday March 18th, 2012 at 11:59 pm Eastern. The winner will be announced on Monday March 19th. This post is sponsored by Oxmoor House, and as always opinions are basely solely on my testing (and tasting!). No monetary compensation was received.

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