I know you’ll think I’m crazy, but I only just recently discovered the joy of cooking with cast iron. I’d been given a cast iron grill pan as a wedding present, but I’d only ever used it once because I just didn’t know how to clean or care for it. Another friend gave me a cast iron skillet when she moved overseas last year, but I hadn’t really touched it either. After organizing my kitchen cabinets recently, I decided that it was high time I learned to use my pans. I cleaned them both with salt and oil, then seasoned them. It really wasn’t hard at all, and I’m a little annoyed with myself for waiting so long to do it. My husband was especially excited about the grill pan, so we’ve been using it as often as we can. Today I’m sharing a couple recipes that cook quickly and that can be cooked on a grill. (Though they also work in a regular saute pan if you don’t have any grilling apparatus available.)
I didn’t cook this burger on my grill pan (it was before I’d cleaned it), but you could easily adjust the recipe for the grill. It’s an easy to make recipe that packs plenty of flavor in a relatively healthy package. It includes a flavorful mayo sauce, but I felt like it made WAY too much for just 4 burgers. In the future, I’ll cut it in half, so I don’t end up with leftovers. I wrote down the original recipe amounts so just decide how much sauce you want and proceed. You do also want to make sure that you prep the onions ahead of time, since they’re supposed to cool before you mix them in with the meat.
Buffalo Wing Burgers (from Cooking with Love by Carla Hall)
3/4 c. mayo
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. + 2 tsp. hot sauce
2 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. cayenne
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. olive oil
1/3 c. minced yellow onion
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 1/4 lb. ground chicken or turkey
4 brioche or potato buns
1. In a small bowl, stir together the mayo, lemon juice, 1 tbsp. hot sauce, honey, and cayenne til smooth. Refrigerate til needed.
2. In a small skillet, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. When the butter’s almost melted, add the onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes, then stir in the garlic. When the onion’s golden and tender, stir in 2 tsp. hot sauce, thyme, and both peppers. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool to room temp.
3. With damp hands, combine the chicken and onion mix. Form into 4 burgers.
4. Coat a large nonstick skillet with oil and put over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook til browned, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook til cooked through, 3 more minutes.
5. Place the burgers on the buns and top with the mayo and blue cheese. (Or some other cheese if you, like my husband, don’t like the stinky cheeses. I thought the blue cheese added the perfect creamy element.)
For my next act, how about some flavorful, oriental-inspired pork chops. This is the recipe I made to break in the renewed grill pan. FYI, you’re supposed to marinate the pork chops for 8 hours before you plan to cook them. Please take that into account. I neglected to read the recipe beforehand, so my first batch only marinated for about 45 minutes. Whoops! They still tasted good, but the ones I made the next day were even better. The marinade comes together quickly and the chops cook quickly, so really the only time it takes is the down time when it’s getting tender and flavorful (AKA – marinating).
Hoisin-Marinated Pork Chops (from the August 2002 issue of Cooking Light)
1/4 c. low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. hoisin sauce (This is usually referred to as a type of Chinese bbq sauce.)
1/4 c. honey
1 tsp. crushed red pepper (This makes it a bit spicy, so cut it down if you’re not a fan.)
2 cloves minced garlic
8 4 oz. 3/4 in. thick boneless, center-cut, loin pork chops
1. Combine everything but the chops in a large Ziploc bag. Add the pork chops, seal, and let marinate in a fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat the grill and spray it with cooking spray. Remove the chops from the bag and discard the marinade. Place the pork on the grill and cook 3 minutes per side or til cooked through.
And, though it has nothing to do with grilling, I couldn’t help but share this recipe that I recently found. It’s a chocolate hazelnut spread from Weelicious that requires just 4 ingredients, (hazelnuts, cocoa, honey, and water). I love Nutella, but the thought of being able to make it without refined sugar is intriguing. I’ll let you know as soon as I try it.
So, did you find some inspiration to fire up the grill? I’m pretty new to using a grill pan, so I’d love to hear some of your tried and true favorites.