I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with cast iron.  I love all of my enameled Le Creuset pieces but the regular cast iron drives me crazy.  It’s an amazing conductor of heat.  It makes the best crust you’ll ever have on a steak and is also perfect for skillet cakes and baked egg dishes.  But it can be SUCH a pain to clean.  I know proper seasoning makes all the difference, but I bet everyone who uses cast iron has at least one story of endless scouring.

Mine happened just the other day when I pulled these mini-skillets out of storage.  There was rust on the sides!  NOOOOOOOOOO.  What a pain it was to clean.  No matter how much coarse salt I used, the rust just wouldn’t go away completely.  I tried salt, heating the pans until they were smoking and then scouring, more salt… finally it seemed as though I had a clean skillet, ready to be re-seasoned and used.  Until I go and mess everything up again.

But these baked eggs with chorizo kind of made the whole ordeal worth it.  I bought some fantastic sausage from the local butcher at Wagshal’s.  I don’t eat a lot of meat but when I do I try to get the good stuff.  I have no time for cheap sausage in my life.  I kept adding ingredients as I went along.  The few remaining grape tomatoes from my garden… some Sriracha to tickle my palate. Baby arugula for a splash of green and a bit more spice.

Tell me, readers, what are your tricks for dealing with pesky cast iron?

Baked Chorizo and Eggs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 chorizo links, preferably fresh
  • 115-ounce can plain tomato sauce
  • Sriracha (or your hot sauce of choice)
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped
  • 6-8 grape tomatoes, halved
  • baby arugula
  • 2 large eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. If using fresh chorizo, slowly render the fat in a skillet over low heat. Gradually begin turning up the heat, allowing all sides of the chorizo to cook and eventually brown. Periodically deglaze the pan with water and scrape up the brown bits. This will prevent the bottom of the pan from burning and it will incorporate the yummy caramelized bits back onto the sausage. This should take approximately 20 minutes, give or take.
  2. Allow the sausage to cool for a bit and then slice each link into 10-12 pieces.
  3. Briefly saute the chopped onions in the leftover chorizo fat (you can also use olive oil if pre-cooked chorizo was used).
  4. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
  5. Ladle ¼ cup of tomato sauce into the bottom of mini cast iron skillets or ramekins.
  6. Drizzle some Sriracha on top of the tomato sauce (the amount will depend on your preference for heat. I used about 2 tablespoons per pan.)
  7. Line the chorizo slices in the bottom of each skillet and top with another dollop of tomato sauce (approximately 2 tablespoons per pan, doesn't need to be exact.
  8. Divide the onions in half and evenly spread over the chorizo.
  9. Layer on the cherry tomatoes followed by the arugula.
  10. Break the eggs into separate ramekins, leaving the yolk intact, and then carefully pour the into each skillet.
  11. Bake until the egg whites are just set, 10-15 minutes (they will continue to cook outside of the oven).
  12. Sprinkle salt and fresh ground pepper on top before serving

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  • http://fishingblues.wordpress.com Robin Blue

    I LOVE my cast iron! It’s pretty much all I use anymore. If something gets really burnt on I just let my pans soak in hot water for a while and everything seems to come right off. Sometimes I need to scrape them with a plastic scraper. After I wash them I put the wet pan on the stove and turn the burner on really low. After they heat up and the water evaporates I pour a little oil in the pan and then wipe it out with a paper towel or newspaper. That’s it. Works for me!

  • http://thedomesticrebel.com Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

    Oh holy heck. I want to wake up to this every day for the rest of my life!

  • http://carolynchan.wordpress.com Carolyn Chan

    I am only just beginning to cook with cast iron. I have some Le Creuset pots which I use for stews and I think I ruined one of them making jam because it calls for 5 minutes on high heat to boil and set the jam and I was left with a big black circle that all the online help couldn’t get rid of. Finally scrubbed it off but I think it’s chipped the enamel now.

    I have had a cast iron griddle for ages as well but stopped using it because where I wanted a nice sear with those lovely markings, everything just stuck to it. But apparently the more you use it (seasoning it every time as Robin says above, is meant to help.

    Having said the above, the food that comes out of anything cast iron just seems to taste better for me…

  • http://tutti-dolci.com Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    Gorgeous photos, I love the skillet! I don’t have one (I know, I know) but it’s on my list!

  • http://gobakeyourself.wordpress.com/ CCU

    A skillet breakfast is definitely the best :D

    Cheers
    CCU

  • http://www.threeblondesandatomas.wordpress.com sara

    this looks amazing! i re-subscribed myself cause i’m not sure what happened, but i wasn’t getting notifications anymore! excited to be back :))

    • http://www.savorysimple.net Savory Simple

      When I switched to wordpress.org a lot of people were accidentally unsubscribed (even though I was told that wouldn’t happen). Glad you’re back!

  • http://stowell.wordpress.com Roger Stowell

    I think those pictures are very, very good. The recipe is amongst my favourites anyway. Cast iron pans can be hell to clean, but the results are worth it.
    By the way, it seems that the box “Comment Luv” is ticked by default on your blog.

  • http://www.pateachew.com Mary Ellen @ Pâte à Chew

    This dish look incredible. I would love a skillet for breakfast, please :) I have been absolutely loving all your new posts – you are on fire!

  • http://vintagekitchennotes.blogspot.com Paula @ Vintage Kitchen

    This is perfect, the ingredients, the pics, the crust that I don´t see but imagine… Wonderful!

  • http://maddogtvdinners.wordpress.com Mad Dog

    I have the exact same pan. I don’t normally do eggs in it (though I have used it for a few 18 egg tortillas) – I normally deglaze it with red wine and then season it after each use. Everything tastes good with chorizo ;-)

  • Lan | angry asian

    i have one cast iron pot that i made a rabbit stew in once, and recently i made a rustic bread. before, i had nuria do the cleaning (since i did the cooking) and she did a great job of seasoning it. should i require it, i’ll probably have her do it for me again. i have been thinking about getting a skillet, they make such great dishes, like this one.

    your pix are beautiful!

  • http://www.mydailymorsel.com Riley

    I’ve been craving something with chorizo and this looks perfect! Beautiful photos!

  • http://www.unegaminedanslacuisine.com/ Valerie

    Oh, this looks so good on a Monday morning! I could live on chorizo, happily. :-)

  • http://www.KitchenlessChef.com/ kitchenlesschef

    Jen, this looks amazing! If you’ll send me your address, I’ll send you a scour pad that my dad is getting a patent for. Might help keep things a little cleaner. I also recommend using bacon grease instead of vegetable / nut oils in your cast iron pan. That will help keep it looking its best, although it’s not as healthy!!

    • http://www.savorysimple.net Savory Simple

      Bacon really DOES make everything better! :)

  • http://davidstable.com David E.

    You hit a a culinary trifecta! Phenomenal post, excellent recipe, and some of the MOST delicious photo’s I have seen in a long time. If I could get up and prepare this right now, I would.

    • http://www.savorysimple.net Savory Simple

      Thank you so much for the kind words!!! Made my day :)

  • Denise Albares

    Here’s how I deal with my cast iron:
    Clean as soon after cooking in it as you can;
    Wash with really warm water–as hot as your hands can tolerate;
    NO SOAP WHATSOEVER!!!–cannot stress that enough;
    If there is a copious amount of stuck-on food, let pan soak with hot water in it–do not submerge in water;
    I like to use Scotch Brite heavy duty scouring pads;
    Season after every use–dry completely and place about a teaspoon of vegetable oil in pan and use a pastry brush or paper towel to coat the inside of the pan. Place in a pre-heated 200 degree oven for 30 minutes.
    Your pan will develop a nice patina and will become virtually non-stick.

    • http://www.savorysimple.net Savory Simple

      See, I was always taught NEVER to use water, that is causes rust. I always wish I could soak it!

  • http://hskillet.blogspot.com Jenn and Seth

    oh my gosh this sounds like the perfect breakfast! YUM!!

  • http://grazinginthecity.com Bill

    I love my cast iron and use it frequently – I think a big factor of what happened with your mini-skillets was the fact that they were in storage? Cast iron is meant to be used as much as possible – the more it’s used, the better it will function.

    Some of the comments above reference using no soap and soaking in hot water to remove any stuck-on food. I totally agree – I always rinse mine with hot water, dry with a paper towel and put away. I also season mine frequently after using – not after EVERY use . . .but frequently.

  • http://www.reinidays.com Jill

    I don’t have a cast iron skillet, but it’s on my list! Love all the tips though!

    This looks great! Totally delicious!

  • http://www.bake-online.co.uk Jenny @ BAKE

    I love these photos! I have such a hard time photographing on dark backgrounds but yours have so much light!

  • http://thespicedlife.com/ Laura

    This looks so yummy and is being pinned immediately. Because of the tomatoes I will probably use my enameled skillet–do you not worry about them reacting with the cast iron?

    Regarding cast iron… the more you use it the better. I always place it on a burner after washing and drying to make sure it is thoroughly dry.

  • http://www.piesandplots.net Laura Dembowski

    That looks amazing! I’m not a big user of cast iron, though I love my Le Creuset grill pan, but this recipe could change my mind. I also don’t eat a lot of meat but splurge on the good stuff when I do.

  • http://www.breathelighter.wordpress.com Debra

    This is a lovely dish! I like the addition of the arugula, and since I like breakfast for dinner, this is a keeper. About cast iron…I was taught by my grandmother and have excellent results. I agree with others about the “no soap” rule, but not to be too afraid of water. I do put the skillet on the stove to dry it. I always heat it thoroughly after each cleaning, and then add just a little bit, very little, oil to the pan after it cools. As the pan seasons some of the problems seem to lessen, too. And I like your statement about buying “good” sausage. My much older friend always says, “Life is too short to eat stale chips.” Same idea…and worth remembering! :-)

  • Bev @ Bev Cooks

    Why am I not scuba diving in that right now?

  • http://simplyfreshcooking.com Rachael {SimplyFreshCooking}

    My trick is to make my husband do it… I’m not even joking. lol. This recipe looks totally yummers!

  • http://blondexambition.wordpress.com Katie @ Blonde Ambition

    This sounds sooo good. I love chorizo but I rarely indulge in it, and eggs are one of my favorite weekend breakfast foods!

    I’m kind of intimidated by the thought of owning a cast iron skillet, but I know it would be worth it!

  • http://yummychunklet.wordpress.com yummychunklet

    What a delicious breakfast skillet!

  • http://www.anecdotesandapples.com Monet

    My grandmother always cooked in cast iron, but I’m still not comfortable with it. I guess I need another excuse to pull mine out! Thank you for providing it for me. And thank you for sharing such sensuous photograhs. Your blog was a delicious stop during my lunch break. I hope you have a great Monday!

  • claire

    Baked eggs are my absolute FAVORITE.

  • http://domesticfits.com Jackie @ Domestic Fits

    I think I need to get a new cast iron skillet. i think I cause irreversible damage to mine before I knew what I was doing. AND I think I need to find some great chorizo. This looks amazing.

  • http://bangormarket.wordpress.com/ Anna

    This looks absolutely delicious! Nothing like fresh food cooked perfectly into an exquisite combination.

  • http://thatskinnychickcanbake.blogspot.com Liz

    This dish is a work of art…and I bet it’s darn tasty, too!!!

  • http://hiddenponies.com Anna @ hiddenponies

    Oooh, I struggle with the same thing with my cast iron! I LOVE the results in it, but it is SUCH a pain to clean and I never seem to butter it enough to prevent things from sticking! This recipe does look worth it though, way to break out the elbow grease :)

  • http://twitter.com/chowandchatter RebeccaSubbiah RD (

    wow I want this for my breakfast

  • http://www.foodwanderings.blogspot.com foodwanderings

    Love this post Jen. The photos are gorgeous even if I don’t eat chorizo and I can totally relate about the cast iron. Love Washgal’s I wish it was in my neighborhood. :(

  • http://www.theveryveryhungrycaterpillar.com Libby

    I clean my pans thoroughly as soon as I’m done with cooking and have never had a problem with rust. I think using them consistently rather than leaving them in the cupboard for months also keeps too.

    I love baked eggs. I’m inspired to give this one a go, yum!

  • http://www.motherthyme.com Jennifer @ Mother Thyme

    Beautiful! I would love to have this for breakfast this morning!

  • http://www.freshnewengland.blogspot.com El

    Cast iron is wonderful. what a beautiful dish!

  • http://www.averiecooks.com Averie @ Averie Cooks

    I just got a new cast iron skillet – my hubs would LOVE this meal!

  • Ashley – baker by nature

    Holy eggs and chorizo… my face needs this ASAP. This is breakfast beauty!

  • http://www.cafeterrablog.com Terra

    I love cast iron, but I for sure don’t use the wonderful pans enough! In Tucson, I loved ordering a chorizo and egg burritos. Your recipe looks seriously delicious! What a perfect dish for breakfast, lunch, OR dinner:-) Take care, Terra

  • Terence

    Hi There,

    Nice Recipe. One trick to get rid of rust is to use Aluminium Foil to give the rusty parts a rub down. What happens is a chemical reaction between iron oxide (which is rust) and aluminium, where the aluminium rips off the oxygen atom from iron, and turns the rust back into iron and aliminium oxide. You’ll want to wash your pan thoroughly after that to remove the residual aluminium oxide before cooking, but your rust will be gone!

    • http://www.savorysimple.net Savory Simple

      Thanks, what a great tip!

  • http://kirantarun.com/food Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    Oh my, I need a few cast iron skillets in my life!

  • http://whatshouldieatforbreakfasttoday.tumblr.com/ Marta

    I love your skillet. I wanted to buy one like this one for a long time now, but I can’t find it in any store.

  • http://www.thewickednoodle.com kristy @ the wicked noodle

    I have two cast iron skillets sitting in my kitchen sink right now waiting to be cleaned. I can totally relate to hating to clean them!! But I do love them and cook with them all the time – it’s worth it!

    And hellloooo gorgeous photos! Girl, you’re becoming a really amazing photographer!!

  • Amby

    If you have food that sticks; put enough water to half fill the skillet place on stove and let it come to a boil. After it reaches boiling remove and run hot water over the skillet. Take a scrubbing sponge wash with hot water. All the build up will be removed.

    Now, you will have to re season the skillet. Take crisco and cover all the interior of the skillet; turn oven on to 300; place skillet bottom up on cookie sheet covered in alum foil and bake for 1 hour. turn off oven let cool and skillet is ready to go again. You have to season a skillet every time you use it until it build up. When you have the correct amount of build up water will run off like a non stick pan does.

    The real problem you may have thought the skillets were seasoned. A lot of companies say they season them but when you use them you get a mess.

    I keep crisco shortening and use it to season the skillets. I have one skillet that was given to my grandmother when she married in 1900.

    It seems like a little work but the rewards far out way the time it takes.

    Hope this helps
    Amby

    • http://www.savorysimple.net Savory Simple

      Thanks so much for the helpful tips!

  • peggy

    I have a cast iron skillet that I bought at a Salvation Army store in 1978. This skillet has traveled and camped with me for all these years and is still being used four days a week!! I have scrubbed it with everything imaginable; creek sand, ocean sand, all different kinds of salt and yes, I do and have used dish soap on it. It is still doing it’s job and I oil it down often but not after every wash (with soap). I have no idea how old the skillet was when I bought it but I’ve had it for 34 years!! It’s my burner oven at times also…

  • Karen

    I’m still getting used to my cast iron too. My mother-in-law recently gave me a helpful recommendation about cleaning cast iron: when your food is done cooking, pour water into the pan while it is still hot. It will sizzle and create a lot steam, but all of the extra stuck on food bits then come up very easy. I was able to carefully dump the water into the sink, wipe down my skillet and re-season it. It was the easiest clean up I’ve had yet! Good luck!

    • http://www.savorysimple.net Savory Simple

      Thanks for the suggestion, Karen! :)

  • Donna

    When getting rust off of cast iron pans use steel wool. Yes you can, just for removing rust. Then treat as usual. Always use shortening, lard or bacon grease to treat. Never use an oil, will leave it sticky& can turn rancid.

  • Christina

    This sounds really good. Pinning it for the future.

  • Carla S

    This looks like a great recipe!My husband would love this because he loves chorizo.I don’t have a cast iron pan yet.I can’t wait to get one one day because I heard it cooks the food so much better.

  • itzia

    This recipe looks yummy. I never realized what great use a cast iron skillet could be.