Five Delicious Dishes You Didn’t Know You Could Cook With Cast Iron
A cast iron skillet is one of the healthiest pans you can have in your kitchen. They’re unmatched for good, flavorful grilled steak and chops, but they can be used to make cheese sauces, whole grilled chicken, and the sweet, sweet desserts of your wildest dreams.
When it comes to cast iron skillet, you can believe the hype. In fact, if you only have room for one pan in your kitchen, then cast iron is fine. When handled properly, they hardly stick, which means you can cook pretty much anything in them, from eggs to steaks. (The only thing you should avoid is exposing the pan to a lot of acid for a long period of time. A little removal of the glaze will not hurt, but the acid can react with metal in any not perfectly seasoned places.) They get very hot. and stay hot for super crisp (and crispy in my opinion is the best mouthfeel). They are also relatively inexpensive and last forever, so there is no reason not to have them. If you need help choosing or have questions about how to season or care for it, check out our version of the Cast Iron Pans School of Kitchen Tools .
In terms of versatility, a fondue pot is the opposite of a cast iron skillet. I have both, and I bet you can guess which one is more interesting in the kitchen. You might think that processed cheese would be the only arena in which the fondue pot wins, but the frying pan’s ability to keep warm keeps the cheese sauces smooth and sticky, no candles required.
If you like light, cheesy decadence, then the video above shows you how to make a super simple yet complex flavored queso fundido chorizo that combines fried poblano, delicious chorizo and mozzarella in one delicious magic skillet.
If you want something smoother, America’s Test Kitchen has a great beer and cheddar fondue recipe in their new book, Cook in Cast Iron, which pairs 2 cups of American and Cheddar cheese with 1 ½ cups of boiling beer. a clove of garlic and some other delicious spices. The secret to keep everything beautiful and smooth? A little cornstarch, which is mixed with grated cheese before adding to the beer. If you don’t have this book yet, try Ina Garten’s Baked Fountain . (It’s basically just a cream cheese pan, but really, how bad can that be?)
I am an equal opportunity pizza eater. Neopolitan, New York style, deep dish, cheesy pizza at the bar, even all sorts of things from the networks: I’ll eat it all. (Actually, when I type this, I am wearing a shirt with the Pizza Hut logo because I am for big pizza.) You won’t be able to make all kinds of cast iron pizzas, but you can make two different kinds of delicious Food Lab pizzas.
The first is a super-light, super-quick, super-crispy bar-style tortilla pizza that Jay Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats can show you how to make in 15 minutes . While some pizza proponents may object to using a flatbread rather than the “correct” dough, Kenji has a very high opinion of this and I trust Kenji. It’s so easy and fun to do. Since these things can be assembled and cooked so quickly, you can actually play with the toppings. Just toss in a flour tortilla, pour over the sauce, make it really cheesy and place it under the brazier. Because the pizza is gently held in the pan, you can save every piece of cheese that is deliciously crunchy around the edges.
The second pie is a frying pan. Yeah, the bready, sparkling, thick-crust pizza in a skillet that you used to get from the pizza chain of your youth. Although it requires kneading dough, this is a very simple dough, making it a great recipe for making your pizza journey easier. The complete recipe can be found here .
If you want a thinner, more “traditional” crust, you can always flip the pan over and use it as a (small) pizza stone, or if you have leftovers (although I know you guys will never do that), you should skip the microwave and reheat the extra slices in a medium heat skillet covered with foil for about five minutes . This will completely melt your cheese and return the crust to its original crispy appearance.
Whole fried chicken
There are several ways to bake chicken (it can even be done in a slow cooker!), But this may be the easiest. It’s really as easy as grating a little oil on the bird, seasoning it to your liking, and tossing it into a cast iron skillet. Our very own Alan Henry does this once a week, and he is kind enough to share his method with you:
Preheat oven WITH CAST IRON. When it’s nice and hot, season the bottom of the skillet with a little salt and freshly cracked pepper, whatever you want for the chicken (garlic powder works great too). Then melt some butter. While the pan is still hot, toss the bird directly into it. These toasted condiments will stick to the bottom of the chicken. Fill the bird with lemon and some herbs if you have them lying around, then sprinkle oil on the bird, making sure it covers all the nooks and crannies (we use about half a stick, I think, just to give it good coverage.) Then season the top. poultry with the same seasonings – salt, pepper, etc. Put all this in the oven until it is ready.
Works great, you get amazing crispy skin on top, wings and everything else, plus lots of oil droplets when you pick up the bird for gravy (strain first!) Or for frying vegetables while you let the bird rest!
Lasagna and other baked pasta
The lasagna doesn’t have to be rectangular. You might think that you are limited to rectangular pans due to the shape of the noodles, but you were wrong. You can actually make hot, cheesy, bubbly lasagne in your cast iron skillet. Remove and cook the noodles as usual, but instead of placing them all flat on the bottom of the pan, first apply a layer of sauce to keep them nice and moist. (A sausage sauce works well here, as all that fat will help keep things from drying out.) Then, just do as ATK suggests and place the seven noodle halves around the edge of the skillet, placing the eighth in the center. some full- fat cottage cheese, then mozzarella cheese, then more sauce. Repeat until your skillet is full. You can get the ATK recipe here (warning: paid access) or you can check it out on the How Sweet It Is blog .
There is also no need to limit yourself to lasagna. This Baked Ziti recipe by Serious Eats is perfect for a comfort food cooked in one pot with everything in a skillet from start to finish. Click the link above, but it’s pretty simple. Just sauté some garlic and chili flakes and add the canned tomatoes to make the sauce. Add some chicken stock and pasta and let it simmer until the pasta is firm. Sprinkle cheese on top and let it intimate in the oven until it turns brown and starts to bubble.
Pies, cookies and other sweets
There are many ways to cook it in cast iron to cook your (now favorite) frying pan, but the dessert section does have pie, pie, and cookies. As explained in the video above, you don’t even need a specific recipe, as any pie can be cooked in a cast iron skillet. If you’re lucky enough to find a new pie recipe, the ATK book has some great apple and blueberry suggestions, but this Simple Frying Apple Pie from Food Network or this double crust cherry pie from Joy the Baker will work for you. For a double crust pie, you need to divide the dough a little differently than usual. Since the cast iron skillet is deeper than a regular pie plate, you’ll need 60% of the bottom crust batter, not the regular half.
Now about my personal obsession: cookies in a frying pan. Have you ever tried cookies in a frying pan? Perhaps they are the Platonic ideal of the dessert. Warm, sticky-sweet, topped with ice cream, with crunchy burnt sugar lumps around the edges. In my ignorant youth, I thought that they could only be obtained at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse , but I grew smarter and realized: “Yes, I can do it,” and so can you.
Ree Drummond has a classic chocolate chip recipe , but I don’t know if you need a “special” recipe. Simply make your favorite cookie dough (like a fake Oreo Pizzokie ??), knead it in a skillet and bake at 350 until golden brown. Put a bunch of ice cream on it and destroy this thing.
Even if a cast iron skillet was only good for grilling steaks, it would still be worth buying, since a good roast is a wonderful thing. However, it’s good to know that it can be used for so much more . To be honest, you can take any other pot out of my kitchen and I’ll be fine. It would have been a constant diet of pizza and cookies in a skillet, but I survived.