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Cast iron is very versatile in cooking and no kitchen is complete without a cast-iron skillet and dutch oven. The pans can be heated to high temperatures (perfect for searing); they can hold low temperatures for a long time (perfect for stews); they can maintain a temperature very well (perfect for deep-frying); well-seasoned pans are a slick nonstick surface (perfect for eggs); and they are indestructable (perfect for high-impact usage). A good cast-iron pan is a family heirloom. Plus the weight of cast iron is very useful in making Tuscan Chicken Under a Brick or Gravlax.

But cast-iron pans have a major flaw: the handles get hot. Lodge, the venerable American maker of cast-iron cookware, has solved the hot handle problem. They have a new line of cookware with stay-cool stainless steel handles. These pans look sleek and gorgeous, plus the cast-iron is already seasoned, so they are a joy to use.

See a selection of Lodge Cast Iron Cookware.

Note to cooks: cast iron cookware is not recommend for smooth-top electric stoves, although it is great on induction, gas, and regular electric cooktops.

Tuscan Chicken Under Cast Iron

  • 1 whole chicken
  • olive oil
  • salt, pepper, and chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced

Using shears, cut the backbone out of the chicken and cut off the wingtips. Cut a small slice in the underside of the breastbone so that the chicken will lie flat. Sprinkle with olive oil and season well with salt, freshly-ground black pepper, and lots of fresh chopped rosemary. Place the slices of garlic underneath the chicken skin. Heat the grill to medium high. Place the chicken skin-side-down on the grill. Place the biggest, heaviest cast iron pan on top. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove the pan and turn the chicken over and cook for another 15 minutes. Remove, let the meat rest for 15 minutes, and serve. Since the chicken is already flattened, the cast iron is not needed after the chicken is turned. Flattening the chicken makes the meat all one thickness, so that the meat cooks evenly and stays juicy (otherwise, the thinner parts of the chicken overcook before the thicker part is done).

2 Comments for “Cast Iron Chef: Tuscan Chicken”  

  1. Kirsten

    We love our cast iron! Indeed, we have a 5-quart, well-seasoned dutch oven that belonged to my grandparents. One of our favorite things to bake in this revered piece of cookware is no-knead bread. I think it’s the best bread I’ve ever had.

  2. Chef

    Yes, we will be demonstrating that super-easy bread recipe in “No Need to Knead” on Tuesday, November 13 from 6 to 9 pm.