Cast Iron Cookbook Review, Crispy Duck, Sheep Herding & More


duck breast

It was a beautiful Sunday, with blue skies and breezy weather. I brought our Sheltie, Skye, who is turning 3 in June, to a ranch in Malibu. Every Sunday sheep herding happens. I spotted the regulars right away; herders ordering their dogs to round up the sheep with a stick. They told me that even for a herding dog, it’s part instinct and part training.


The sheep were adorable, and it was eye opening to see the dogs work. I feel that Skye was probably a little too “urban” and a little too nervous at his first ever sheep encounter, but who knows whether the instinct would click the second time around. We’ll see!

herding sheepdrummond ranch

That’s us! A gorgeous day out at the ranch.


Lodge sent me their new cookbook, Lodge Cast Iron Nation: Great American Cooking from Coast to Coast to review, and I was thrilled! I usually use my cast iron for frittata and maybe some meats, but I was hopeful to explore new ways to use it knowing that the entire cookbook is about cast iron cooking. I found a duck recipe that looked amazing and decided to try it.

duck and sheepduck

The recipe was easy and perfect for cast iron cooking because it uses the high heat of the cast iron to sear the duck before warming it in the oven to finish the cooking. If you own a cast iron at home, the book is full of great recipe ideas, including ones that probably never crossed your mind, like french toast bake, roast chicken, and baked spaghetti. The book is organized by type of dish – appetizer, sides, poultry, meats, desserts, etc. Gorgeous photos and absolutely tasty recipes like this one!

Pan-Seared Duck Breasts with Fresh Raspberries


  • 2 whole (4 halves) skin-on, boneless duck breasts (about 1/2 pound each)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries or pitted sweet or sour cherries, depending on what's in season
  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • Fresh rosemary leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Score the duck skin in a diamond pattern, and sprinkle the breasts with salt and pepper. Place the breasts, skin side down, in a Lodge 12-inch cast iron skillet. Set the skillet over medium heat, and cook until the skin is golden brown. Carefully pour off as much of the fat as possible, and refrigerate in a tightly covered container for a future use (like browning potatoes).
  3. Turn the breasts over, skin side up, and place the skillet in the oven. Cook the duck to your desired degree of doneness, 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer the duck breasts to a warm platter to stand at least 5 minutes. The breasts may be sliced or left whole to serve.
  4. Meanwhile, return the skillet to medium heat, add the raspberries, and cook just until they are beginning to burst, about 1 minute or less, depending on their ripeness. Sprinkle them with the vinegar and sugar, and toss to blend. Add a little water to deglaze the pan, scraping up the tasty brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Pour over the duck breasts to serve. Sprinkle with rosemary. Serves 4.

Note: The cookbook was sent to me by Lodge and I was not paid to write this review. 

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