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afn33282

Can you braise in seasoned cast-iron?

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Hey eGullet,

Can one braise in seasoned cast-iron? I assume that prolonged contact with water would break down the seasoning. Am I right about this? I suspect many make chili in cast-iron dutch ovens, which is doubly confusing to me, as chili often included acidic tomatoes. I have heard that it is not a good idea to cook acidic foods in cast-iron/black steel. Can somebody confirm/deny this, and tell me why? I am, of course, also assuming one can not steam from a cast-iron/black steel wok either, as confirmed somewhat in another thread. Can somebody break this whole subject down for me?

Thanks a bunch.


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I suspect many make chili in cast-iron dutch ovens, which is doubly confusing to me, as chili often included acidic tomatoes.  I have heard that it is not a good idea to cook acidic foods in cast-iron/black steel.  Can somebody confirm/deny this, and tell me why?

I make tomato gravy in my cast-iron frying pan all the time, and it turns out fine. I've heard that I shouldn't--because it'll get a funny iron taste, not because it'll hurt the seasoning--but i've never had any problems.

I used to make stew, which is kind of like braising, in my great-grandma's cast-iron Dutch oven, and it always turned out well as well. Now I use my nice Staub pan instead, but only because it's prettier and easier to wash.

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Hey eGullet,

Can one braise in seasoned cast-iron?  I assume that prolonged contact with water would break down the seasoning.  Am I right about this?  I suspect many make chili in cast-iron dutch ovens, which is doubly confusing to me, as chili often included acidic tomatoes.  I have heard that it is not a good idea to cook acidic foods in cast-iron/black steel.  Can somebody confirm/deny this, and tell me why?  I am, of course, also assuming one can not steam from a cast-iron/black steel wok either, as confirmed somewhat in another thread.  Can somebody break this whole subject down for me?

Thanks a bunch.

I do it quite often (my most used pans are good old Lodge Cast Iron) and I've never had a problem. The patina is like a black mirror.

Remember that the old cast iron dutch oven was the prarie way of cooking beans, and if that isn't prolonged contact with liquid, I don't know what is...


"Instead of orange juice, I'm going to use the juice from the inside of the orange."- The Brilliant Sandra Lee

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I cook Chili, Jambalaya, Pork Shoulder, etc. all the time in my cast iron dutch oven.

The thing you don't want to do is leave your food sit in it after you're done cooking.

Empty it immediately, rinse it out, if need be salt scrub, dry, re-apply thin coat of oil, and heat until smoking.

Also, really strong or aromatic flavors and spices will get added to the bouquet of the cast iron seasoning and stick around. Just sort of an FYI, if you're going to braise pears in it one day.

Erik


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I cook Chili, Jambalaya, Pork Shoulder, etc. all the time in my cast iron dutch oven.

The thing you don't want to do is leave your food sit in it after you're done cooking.

Empty it immediately, rinse it out, if need be salt scrub, dry, re-apply thin coat of oil, and heat until smoking.

Also, really strong or aromatic flavors and spices will get added to the bouquet of the cast iron seasoning and stick around.  Just sort of an FYI, if you're going to braise pears in it one day.

Erik

perfect advice.

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Exposure to acidity will break down the seasoning of cast iron and acidity will react with cast iron to alter the flavor of your foods. Now to what extent these events take place and whether or not they will affect or negatively affect your foods, is difficult to say.

I like to braise short ribs in demi glace using cast iron. Then I deglaze the cast iron with wine and pour the stuff into a stainless steel saucepan to reduce. I don’t think the acidity in the wine affects the flavor during the deglazing. But I’ve tried braising in a more acidic liquid and I thought the flavor was off.

If you are braising in a liquid with relatively low to no acidity, for example stock or water, then I don’t think you’ll have a problem.

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I always use a cast iron Dutch oven for pot roast. No rusty taste from it. It is very old and well seasoned so I think that is why there's no off flavor.

I find an old pan that hasn't been used for a prolonged period is more likely to have the rusty taste even if it has been newly seasoned. It needs to have other things cooked in it for a while before it is OK to braise in.

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