The cast iron skillet evolved in the late 19th century, along with the flat top stove. With the flat top stove becoming a common fixture in homes using the skillet became a favorite of choice. Lots of the baby boomer’s generation can recall the smell of chicken frying at Gram maw’s house on a Sunday afternoon. Those exact same cast-iron skillets have become a sought after item by antique collectors and dealers.
The easy manufacturing process has remained almost unchained for hundreds of years. As a result, the differences between antique and modern skillets is minimum compared to other manufactured items.
With the advent of aluminum and stainless-steel cookware in the 20th century it seemed the end of the cast iron skillet. Through the years of this new cooking materials and non-stick surfaces the realization that the cast iron skillet was still as durable as ever. With new generations becoming aware of their heating and cooking skills of the cast iron skillet, its popularity rebounded. Next time your cooking or purchasing a new skillet, give cast iron a go. It is deep in history and might last forever.
Griswold was an American manufacturer of cast iron products, based in Erie Pennsylvania in 1865 that shut in 957. For several years the firm had a worldwide reputation for its quality. If you are lucky enough to have one of these skillet they’re now a collector’s item.
Wagner Ware was based in Sidney Ohio. Wagner was busy between 1891 and 1952. He was a very dominate manufacturer in Europe and the United States. The buyers of the company continued the brand and Wagner products are still produced today. The original items is prized by collectors.
In 1896 Joseph Lodge founded the company that was called Lodge Cast Iron in the town of South Pittsburg, Tennessee. Lodge manufacturing company as operated in precisely the exact same place since 1910 and today is the oldest cast iron cookware manufacturer in the US and is still owed by the Lodge family.
Seasoning a skillet was done traditionally by lard or bacon grease, although this is still okay, if you do not use your skillet frequently the animal based fats go rancid. Cooking oils may be used for seasoning and maintaining your cast iron skillet. Applying a thin layer of after each cleaning will keep your skillet seasoned and ready for decades to come.
Here’s a simple skillet recipe you can serve in about 35 minutes.
Chicken and Biscuit Skillet Potpie
2-3 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp of fresh dried thyme
2 cloves garlic minced
1 onion diced
2 carrots chopped
2 stalks celery chopped
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 package biscuits
1 egg beaten
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
With a large cast iron skillet over medium heat, place olive oil and add thyme, garlic, potatoes, celery, onions and carrots. Stir with wooden spoon until vegetables soften, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and then add flour. Continuously whisk until flour is cooked and well incorporated. Gradually stir in the cream and broth until mixture is smooth. Add chicken and bring to a boil; simmer until thickened about 5 minutes. Stir in peas, carrot and corn. Top with biscuits in an even layer, brush tops with egg wash. Bake until biscuits are golden brown and filling is bubbling about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Substitute milk for cream to save a few calories.
If biscuits start to get too brown on top, place a sheet of foil over them until potpie is done baking. Do not be afraid to make this your own, use the seasoning and ingredients that you prefer. ENJOY!