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Recipe of the Month

The Magic of Slow Cooking

By: Lodge Cast Iron / November 10, 2023

When the weather gets cold and dinner parties ramp up, you can find us roasting, braising, and simmering our way to the table. We’re sharing why it’s our go-to technique for hosting (and Sunday dinners!), along with our favorite tips to make cooking something that tastes absolutely delicious look easy. 

Classic Pot Roast in Red Dutch Oven
Relax, it’s foolproof 

For most slow-cooked meals, low and slow is the name of the game. Even with a long cook time, it’s almost impossible to overcook the meat. That’s because it cooks at such a low temp, often alongside a liquid like wine or stock, which infuses the dish with additional moisture throughout the whole process. If you’re making something like a pot roast or pork shoulder, start by searing each side. Thanks to the Maillard reaction, you’ll get a delicious crust that will help to seal in moisture when it hits the oven. And if liquid is involved, make sure to fill until it reaches halfway up the piece of meat. After that, pressure’s off, just let the oven do its thing! 

Forget about it! 

Most of the heavy lifting for a slow-cooked dish happens with prep work like chopping veggies and brining your meat. After you put it in the oven, you can focus on making sides and setting the table. And don’t be tempted to turn up the heat to get dinner on the table faster. This can end in a tough, dried-out piece of meat. Start with the shortest cook time your recipe calls for, then use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. If you’ve hit 165°F, then you’re good to go; if not, put it back in the oven for 10 minutes at a time, until you’ve reached your desired temperature. If you’re worried that things are starting to dry out, simply add a little more stock, wine, or water to help keep things moist. 

Veggie Nested Roast Chicken
Old Fashion Infused Pork Belly
Cut down on dishes 

We’re all about a dish that can be prepped in a single pot or pan. When you make a pot roast or braise lamb shanks, invite root veggies like carrots, potatoes, and onions to the party, too! Just make sure you choose a piece of cookware with plenty of room. A dutch oven, braiser, casserole pan, or large skillet will do the trick. Don’t forget to have a lid or some aluminum foil handy—you can use them to lock in moisture or tent the dish if it starts to get too brown. 

Serve your whole crew

There’s a reason we turn to turkeys and hams during the holiday—they feed a lot of people! But we say turn to slow-cooked dishes when you host, no matter what time of year. Before you serve, remove any whole herbs from the dutch oven. We use butcher’s twine to tie herbs like rosemary and  thyme together, which makes it easy to remove them after the meat has braised. And if your dish has a sauce—think pot roast—add a generous pat of butter to thicken your sauce before you shred the meat. 

Slow-cook Your Way Through Winter 
Contributed By: Lodge Cast Iron

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