Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Buckwheat Cranberry Stuffed Chicken and Kale Mushroom Acorn Squash

When was your last cooking experience with cast iron cookware?

Never? What?

It is amazing to think that many people in our modern world are so removed from basic cookware that served generations upon generations of humans.

Yes, it's heavy.

And no, it's not dishwasher safe.

If you have glazed over then you probably aren't interested in what I'm going to write next.

Cast iron cookware provides nutritional opportunities that other cookware can not. More specifically:
Researchers found that cooking in an iron skillet greatly increases the iron content of many foods. Acidic foods that have a higher moisture content, such as applesauce and spaghetti sauce, absorbed the most iron. (via which is an excellent summary of the 1986 research publication)
Yup, you read that correctly. Go to the source for a complete list of the foods tested by the researchers. More iron? 'Naturally'? Yup. Most women of child bearing age could use a tad more iron.

And another thing about cast iron cookware. It gets very very very hot. Don't say I didn't warn you (the next time you burn yourself you'll remember this warning...as will I....lol).

And oh yeah - cleaning? Elbow grease. Heat the pan with a bit of salt water if the going gets tough (no soap). Invest in some bbq/copper bristle brushes (I have a collection). And thoroughly dry the cast iron pan after washing - I always heat mine to dry either on the stove top or in the oven. Some people lightly grease their cast iron pans before storing...I only do that with my bakeware since I do not use it as often. I use most of my cast iron cookware at least once or more a week.

I have a ceramic glass top stove so if that's an excuse you've used then you'll be happy to hear that I've not had any problems using cast iron on top of my glass topped stove. Mind you, the times I've forgotten that cast iron gets hot hot hot have not involved the dropping of the cast iron onto my stove top and I hope that is a scenario I haven't invited upon myself now that I've written it - YIKES! Perhaps the good karma intended by sharing operational issues surrounding the use of cast iron will follow me on this one ;)

Buckwheat Cranberry Stuffed Chicken

2 - 4 organic bone-in chicken breasts $16.09/kg ON Beretta

1/2 cup buckwheat grits - I have used buckwheat flakes for this too $5.44/kg QC Karma
1/2 cup chopped cranberries $6.43/kg ? Karma
1 medium chopped organic onion $3.25/kg ON Karma
1 cup warm water
1/2 tsp organic yellow mustard seed ? ? Karma
1/2 tsp organic dried thyme $39.86/kg ON Karma
1/2 tsp organic dried sage $27.38/kg ON Karma
1/2 tsp organic dried rosemary $23.40/kg ON Karma
sea salt and pepper to taste
2 strips chopped uncooked organic bacon $17.24/kg ON Beretta

Mix the stuffing ingredients thoroughly. Stuff each breast by carefully separating the skin from the flesh on each breast and gently packing in the above mixture. Any leftover stuffing can be baked for about 30 minutes. Bake the stuffed chicken in a heavy covered pan at 350F for 45 minutes - 1 hour depending on the size of your chicken breasts. Keeping the lid on during the entire cooking time will help the chicken retain the moisture of the stuffing. Serve each breast drizzled with the pan drippings and the below stuffed squash ;)

Kale Mushroom Acorn Squash

1 organic squash $2.53/kg ON Karma
200 g organic variety mushrooms $11.74/kg ON Loblaws
1 bunch black kale $2.25/bunch CA Karma
3-5 cloves organic garlic $11.15/kg CA Karma

Clean and halve squash and bake for 40-50 minutes face down in an oven proof pan (don't forget to roast the seeds for about 15 minutes for a pre-dinner snack ;).

In another pan - preferably cast iron with a well fitting lid to use after roasting - add the mushrooms and garlic and roast in the oven alongside the squash for about 20 minutes . Take this mixture out when there is still about 10 minutes left for the squash. Add the prepared chopped kale to the roasted garlic/mushroom pan and cover but do not return this to the oven. The heat of the cast iron pan will soften the kale just enough without overcooking it. Add this mixture to the cooked squash and serve open faced as pictured. Each serving size is approximately 1/4 squash.
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1 comment:

Dr. Nicole said...

I only cook with cast iron and glass...meal looks delish!

~Dr. Nicole