My old Lodge chicken roasting pan bakes sourdough loaves, pizza and fries chicken

I gave my mother my treasured 5-quart Lodge deep skillet and lid when I found a lovely antique to restore. I've been using it while visiting with them.

It was no easy thing when I gave my Mom my Lodge chicken pan. I had been using it for ages as my primary skillet and perfected fried chicken in it, as many of my colleagues here at Boing Boing will attest.

I have been instructed that his style skillet be called a chicken ROASTING pan and the lid's stalactite-like points are what makes it a 'self-basting' lid. Evidently 1 roaster size chicken (3-5lbs iirc) will fit in it, and with the lid on the bird will roast up nice and juicy.

I have never done this. I bought it to fry chicken. I learned it was awesome for frying eggs, bacon, pancake and sauteeing things. It became the most used item in my kitchen. Then I started baking in it like a Dutch Oven.

The Lodge ended its daily use, however, when I found a larger Wagner pan at the Goodwill and restored it. I started baking in my dutch oven. It is a bit easier to maneuver. When cast iron sits and isn't used, it needs to be used and this pan was truly special. I tried alternating between it and my Wagner, but the extra space and smoother finish of the Wagner kept it on my stove. It was a little easier to fry bacon and sear steaks and fish in the #9 vs the #8 pan.

My mother, who has even more kitchen gadgets than I do, did not have a deep cast-iron skillet and my father really likes the aforementioned fried chicken. The pan had a new home.

I've long meant to try a good friend's sourdough starter and he brought us some of his families long-treasured yeast. It is an amazing starter that is very, very different than the one I've long maintained in Northern California. It is more liquid and much easier to work with at the same 1:1 hydration -- but I haven't figured its cycles out yet. I do have 10 years or more working with the other one.

Sourdough has put this Lodge chicken pan back to work as my Dutch oven. I haven't perfected bread yet, but I'm getting there. The starter is wonderful, but I'm still figuring out how long to let things rise with it, and how hot this oven really is.

I'll get there.

I've been using all the sourdough discard to make pizza, and this skillet makes amazing deep-dish pizza.

My time in Chicago taught me that deep-dish doesn't have to be fancy. You can use my quick pizza dough recipe, oil the pan with olive oil drop in the whole ball of dough and moosh it into a pie. Get the dough 1 1/2" up the sides of the pan and then fill with cheese, toppings, sauce and another layer of cheese.

If you are making pizza for my mom, put the basil on top. She likes it.

Bake at 400F for 18-20min

I have some fried chicken sitting in buttermilk, I'll make it for my dad after it has had its obligatory 3 days. A good fry with peanut oil will certainly make the pan happy.

Lodge L10CF3 Cast Iron Covered Deep Skillet, Pre-Seasoned, 5-Quart via Amazon