A cast-iron pan is without doubt one of the most versatile and dependable items of kitchen tools for any prepare dinner, and in contrast to most digital kitchen must-haves, it may well final for generations. (I am taking a look at you, air fryer.)
As a result of it may well deal with excessive temperatures and retains warmth nicely, I like that forged iron can go from stovetop to oven. It is simply nearly as good for searing steaks or rooster breasts as it’s for scrambling eggs, stir-frying greens, cooking do-it-yourself tortillas and even baking a fruit cobbler.
It is also an inexpensive piece of cookware — so gathering forged iron may develop into an obsession. I like restoring classic cast-iron pans I discover in vintage retailers, however novice cast-iron cooks can decide up a Lodge skillet, made within the nation’s oldest and longest-running cast-iron foundry in Tennessee, for lower than $30.
Regardless of what you might need heard, I can guarantee you that cast-iron pans are extremely straightforward to take care of. You do not want greater than sizzling water to wash them, together with a bit kosher salt to clean off any cussed bits. How’s that for sustainable?
Pissed off cooks typically ask me what they will do about their scratched nonstick pans, and I wholeheartedly suggest forged iron as a sturdy substitute. Not like coated nonstick pans, the end on a cast-iron pan does not degrade over time. In truth, the nonstick properties of forged iron enhance with repeated use, because the oils utilized in cooking develop into a part of the pan itself.
There is no want to fret about utilizing steel utensils on forged iron, both. In the event you unintentionally scratch the end, you’ll be able to reseason cast-iron skillets simply with warmth and vegetable oil.
One word: Till you’ve got constructed up the pan’s seasoning, keep away from cooking extremely acidic meals akin to tomatoes, vinegar, wine or citrus within the pan. The acid can eat away on the end, however a well-seasoned pan can deal with a quick simmer with these substances. (Use enameled cast-iron items akin to a Dutch oven for dishes that require longer cooking, like tomato sauce.)
What to make in your cast-iron skillet
For many meals, a 10-inch, high-sided cast-iron skillet is the pan you may need to seize repeatedly. When you begin utilizing it, you may discover it making its means onto the range (or into the oven) for a lot of a meal, however listed below are some ideas to get going.
There is no want to tug out a casserole dish when making this hearty and rustic dish. Sauté and simmer floor meat (or lentils, for a vegetarian choice) and greens within the skillet with wine and broth, then high with mashed potatoes and switch the pan to the oven.
And whereas the names are steadily used interchangeably, shepherd’s pie historically refers to a lamb-based model of the dish, whereas cottage pie refers back to the beef-based model. To make the variation generally known as Cumberland pie, high your mashed potatoes with shredded cheese and breadcrumbs.
Macaroni and cheese
Although many recipes name for boiling and cooking pasta individually from the creamy cheese sauce, you are able to do it multi functional cast-iron skillet for a creamy one-pot meal with crispy broiled bits. Who wants boxed mac and cheese when you could have this stovetop choice?
When the yearning for mac and cheese strikes in the course of the summer season, there is not any must warmth up the oven. Use your cast-iron skillet to make a effervescent baked mac and cheese dish proper in your grill.
Roast rooster and greens
Whereas roasting a complete rooster is at all times a consolation meals winner, bone-in rooster breasts and thighs are perfect for a cast-iron skillet meal as a result of it is easy to get a crispy-skinned end on the cuts.
The best methodology is that this: Brown the rooster pores and skin aspect down in oil or butter over medium excessive warmth (it takes about three or 4 minutes), then put aside and briefly sauté greens within the pan drippings. Return the rooster to the pan, pores and skin aspect up and bake at 400 levels Fahrenheit till the rooster reaches 165 levels on a meat thermometer.
The variations on this meal template are practically infinite, however you can begin with rooster and wild mushrooms, Greek-style rooster thighs with olives and lemon or roasted rooster and potatoes with pan sauce.
Once you need a thick and chewy crust for household pizza evening, ditch the baking stone and use the cast-iron skillet as an alternative. Preheating the skillet within the oven provides dough a scorching floor that helps the pizza puff as much as pillowy heights.
When utilizing store-bought pizza dough, deliver dough to room temperature earlier than stretching it out. Doing so helps stop the dreaded bounce-back response that retains the dough from totally filling out the pan.
Or for a pizza that may take you again to the times of red-checkered tablecloths, Tiffany-style lamps (and the Guide It! program for millennials), make your personal pan pizza dough.
For a weekend breakfast — or a weeknight breakfast for dinner — bust out the cast-iron skillet to make a powerful trying Dutch child. This family-size pancake puffs up within the oven, then deflates to create a bowl-shaped pastry that is good for topping with candy or savory substances.
Attempt a candy maple buttermilk Dutch child topped with berries and cream or a savory Dutch child topped with poached eggs and ham.
Whether or not you prefer it sweetened with sugar or honey, loaded with contemporary corn or jalapeño peppers or slathered in butter, cornbread baked in a cast-iron skillet is even higher due to the crunchy browned crust.
Preheat the pan within the oven, then add sufficient oil or fats (akin to bacon drippings) to cowl the underside of the pan earlier than pouring within the batter. Any cornbread recipe sized for a 9-inch baking dish will even work in a skillet. Do that additional crunchy model made with each polenta and millet.
This conventional Persian rice dish is known for its crispy golden backside layer, and that is a feat you’ll be able to obtain with ease in a cast-iron skillet. As a result of it holds on to warmth, the pan helps the rice prepare dinner to a crunchy end with out burning or scorching in spots.
Make the rice as a aspect dish or serve it as a meal of its personal topped with turmeric chickpeas and greens or spiced rooster.
Skillet brownies and cookies
In the event you make one huge Oreo-studded brownie or chocolate chip cookie in a cast-iron skillet, is it thought of a single serving? Whether or not you like the crispy, chewy edges or the gooey, wealthy middle — or a bit of each — these desserts ship. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on high.