Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cookbook Review: The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook {and Upside-Down Salsa Cornbread}

The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook
A Treasury of Timeless Delicious Recipes
288 pages

Eight Chapters:  Lodge Cast Iron: A Song for a Cook's Soul; Breakfast; Soup, Stew, Gumbo & Chili; The Main Course; Cooking Outdoors; Sides; Nothin' But Cornbread; Desserts, Biscuits, & Bread; and great features on the history of cast iron as well as caring for your cast iron. 

I am absolutely in love with cast iron.  I love the rustic and homey look of cast iron, but more important than that, I love the functionality and superior results from cooking with cast iron.  Cast iron goes from the stovetop to the oven and from the oven to the table. 

I had a chance to go to The Lodge Factory Store in Sevierville, TN this past winter.  It was a total dream come true.  There are four factory stores in the southeastern United States and I highly recommend stopping by one if you get the chance.  They have so many cast iron pieces to chose from.  I especially like the table in the back where you can buy "less than perfect" pieces for a fraction of the price.  After I stocked up on cast iron I spied this cookbook at the checkout and vowed that I would buy it when I got the chance. 

This is a beautiful softcover cookbook with lots of gorgeous pictures, both of the recipes and also the cast iron.  There are so many recipes that I'd like to make from this book, but I've been all about cornbread lately so I chose this Upside-Down Salsa Cornbread from the Nothin' But Cornbread chapter. We loved being able to cut a wedge of this and top it with additional salsa, sour cream, and a little bit of chopped green onion.  It was very pleasing to the eyes and the palate!

Upside-Down Salsa Cornbread
Serves 6-8

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 pound lean ground beef (I used 95% lean)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 medium green or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into rings

2 cups Martha White Buttermilk Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
1 (16-ounce) jar chunky-style salsa
1-1/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 425F.  

Make the filling:  Heat the oil in a 10-1/2 inch cast iron skillet over medium high heat until hot.  Add the ground beef, onion, chili powder, salt and garlic salt; cook until the beef is no longer pink, stirring frequently and breaking up any clumps of meat.  Remove the beef mixture from the skillet to a bowl.  Place the bell pepper rings in a single layer in the bottom of the skillet.  Spoon the mixture over the rings.

Make the topping:  Stir together the corn meal mix, cheese, sugar, salsa, milk, oil, and egg in a medium bowl; stir until well blended.  Spread the batter evenly over the beef mixture in the skillet.  Bake until golden brown, 32 to 38 minutes.

Place a serving plate over the skillet; carefully invert and remove the skillet.  Cut into wedges.  If desired, this can be served from the skillet:  Cut into wedges and carefully turn each wedge upside down onto a serving plate.


  1. I just about picked this up the other day...for all the reasons you mention...(pleasing to the eye and a love of cast iron) now, I know it will be on my list for sure!!

  2. This cookbook sounds awesome, and that cornbread looks so incredibly delicious!

    Mal @ The Chic Geek

  3. Oh my gosh, that is an INSANE cornbread. I want a slice! And I want this cookbook, too...I also love cast-iron. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. This cookbook sounds great and the dish wonderful, something my family would love.

  5. So this is kinda like a cornbread pizza. What more could a girl want in life? Seriously.

  6. I purchased a cast iron skillet about 6 months ago and have not put it to a lot of use, since I'm not quite sure what to do with it. Thanks for this book review. I never realized a book on cast iron cooking even existed. Now I can experiment with the skillet.

  7. I have been fortunate enough to inherit several old cast iron pans that I use on a daily basis. I love them. I am going to have to get this cookbook!

  8. I want to tour the actually factory in Pittsburgh TN one day. I have had that cookbook on my want list ever since it came out.

  9. My parents used to own a used sporting equipment store, so my mom would go out to garage sales every weekend. I have a huge collection of cast iron pans that she would find at garage sales - and I love them all!! I love this look of this cornbread, and would eat this as a meal. Delicious!

  10. No lie, when I scrolled down and saw that first shot, my thought was OMG. Pinning.

  11. I only started using cast iron cookware about 4 months ago but I'm totally hooked and swear by them! I'm going to be using your recipe this week. Hope it comes out looking great like the photo above. Fingers crossed!

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