Today is Mardi Gras, which means parades, costumes and zydeco music are all taking the center stage in New Orleans. If you’re feeling festive, starting a parade in your home may not be a great idea, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Fat Tuesday! In fact, all you need is some cast iron.
There are literally tons of Creole recipes that use cast iron cookware, but we like this “Gumbo-laya” stew recipe from The Cozy Apron. It has spicy sausage, chicken, shrimp and delicious garlic rice. If you have a cast iron pot (any large pot works, too) you can make this dish tonight!
Photo Credit: The Cozy Apron
Before you start cooking, it’s important to make sure your cast iron is taken care of. Here are three tried-and-true cast iron maintenance rules:
Dish soap will remove your delicious seasoning and cause corrosion! Instead, clean your cast iron with a stiff brush and hot water. First, boil water in the pan for a few minutes to loosen stuck-on food. Then, rub the surface with a stiff, non-metal brush until the food particles are gone. If the food bits are extra stubborn, make a paste out of coarse salt and water and scrub it again with your stiff brush.
Rinsing your cast iron with water is important for cleaning, but if you leave it to soak with the rest of your dishes, it’ll get rusty quickly. After you rinse, immediately pat your cast iron dry to prevent rust spots.
If you have a new skillet or pot that needs seasoning, rub canola or olive oil around the pan, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and bake it for about an hour (you can also put it over a stovetop on low heat for 20-30 minutes). Wipe out excess oil with a paper towel and pat dry. If you want to get really serious, you can also season your cast iron with bacon grease.