8 delicious dishes for your cast-iron skillet
These recipes will make you fall in love with your old, heavy pan all over again.
Ah, the cast-iron skillet. It's probably the heaviest, oldest and most durable piece of cookware you own. It's practically indestructible, virtually non-stick (if you season it correctly) and food just seems to taste – and smell – better in it.
And as it turns out, this kitchen staple is also quite versatile. It can – and should – be your cookware of choice when preparing any meal, any time of day, for any occasion. As evidence, we've compiled eight succulent recipes to help you brush up on your skillet skills.
1. Skillet pizza
Pizza can be made in a cast-iron skillet with even more delicious results than oven-baked pizza. (Photo: Jaimie Duplass/Shutterstock)
It's pizza night, but that doesn't mean you'll be stuck manning the oven all evening. But wait – you love your oven! It's so much easier to open that door, slide the pizza in, and wait for the timer to beep.
But trust us, once you feast your eyes – and tastebuds – on this tortilla-crust, 15-minute, top-it-your-way pie, you'll be happy to spend some time on the range. You also won't be ordering from that local Italian spot any time soon.
2. Skillet chili
This chili includes beef, beans and plenty of cheddar cheese on top. (Photo: MSPhotographic/Shutterstock)
This versatile favorite has been adapted in so many ways by so many regions, it's hard to pin down its exact origin. But for argument's sake, let's just say Texas, because, well, no one wants any trouble, y'hear?
This recipe, appropriately, is as big and hearty as a Texas meal should be. It's as easy as placing that skillet on the stovetop, dropping in the ingredients and simmering away for at least an hour (a little longer for even richer flavor!). Top it with a modest helping of shredded cheese, and maybe a few diced onions for added zest.
Shakshouka is a traditional Mediterranean breakfast with eggs, tomatoes and cheese. With a cast iron pan, the flavors of these ingredients are perfectly accented. (Photo: Elena Veselova/Shutterstock)
No matter how hot it gets outside, there's still something amazing about waking up to a hot, fresh breakfast of eggs, tomatoes and vegetables. This recipe by one of our Israeli Kitchen chefs, Miriam Kresh, takes a lighter, zestier approach to this popular Mediterranean breakfast dish than those served in restaurants. In Israel, she says, "nobody raises an eyebrow at sturdy dishes that scream 'Flavor!' at breakfast." And neither will we!
Cornbread + cast iron = perfection. (Photo: Chris Curtis/Shutterstock)
It's almost a crime against humanity to make Southern-style American cornbread anywhere else but in a sturdy, well-seasoned cast-iron pan. This savory (not sweet, for that's the way the northerners make it!) side dish that comprises this recipe is best made with white cornmeal, but that can be hard to find, so yellow is also acceptable. For best results, use bacon grease to prevent sticking.
5. Blueberry muffin skillet cake
Blueberry muffin skillet cake. (Photo: Susy Morris/Flickr)
For bakers who hate the hassle of pouring proportional servings of batter into individual tins (that never quite come out looking exactly the same size, no matter how precise you are!), this blueberry muffin skillet cake is a shoo-in. This recipe, according to author Susy Morris, is not as sweet as store- or bakery-bought muffins, but can be altered according to the baker's preference. There's still an oven involved, but you'll find the cast-iron pan lends a layer of homemade freshness you can't get from regular cookware or (gasp!) Teflon.
6. Chicken with harissa chickpeas
Pan-roasted chicken pairs well with chickpeas and a kick of spice (like curry, seen here). (Photo: Elena Shashkina/Shutterstock)
The chickpea is so accustomed to being pureed for hummus, it's probably developed a complex. But here, it's a worthy accompaniment to pan-roasted chicken. As for the unusual spice called for in this recipe, harissa is a spicy, aromatic chile paste that's well-known – and generously used – in North African and Mediterranean cooking. If you're having trouble finding a jar of this potent paste in local groceries, do what the pros do – make it yourself.
7. Fried eggs with sliced peppers
Add a pop of color to your ordinary fried eggs. (Photo: Teri Virbickis/Shutterstock)
This morning sizzler is literally as easy as it looks – so easy, we couldn't even find a recipe! So we made our own: Simply slice different-colored peppers, place them on a well-seasoned, well-greased, cast-iron pan over medium heat, and crack an egg inside each. Season with salt and pepper as you see fit, and voila – you've prepared the most colorful breakfast in town.
8. Skillet brownies
Skillet brownies are best topped with vanilla ice cream. (Photo: MSPhotographic/Shutterstock)
This one fits quite nicely into the "last but not least" category. A brownie so rich, so gooey, so craveworthy, you need to eat it with a spoon. Lending a subtle, warm crunch to this heavenly recipe are lightly toasted pecans (careful not to eat them all before adding them to the batter!). You can leave them out (as seen in the above photo) for an equally decadent dessert. The best part, however, is Part 2: Cast iron is a pro at holding heat, so when you go back for seconds, the brownie will still taste like you just lifted it out of the oven.
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