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iron skillet recipes

I've always wanted an iron skillet but since receiving two as wedding presents(a 10" and a 5"), I don't really know what to make in them. What dishes do you bring out the iron skillet for? Any ideas on things that are just not the same without an iron skillet? I can't wait to try all your ideas, thanks in advance!

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  1. I'm sure you're going to get a lot of input on this; folks are passionate about their cast iron! Just to name a few...bacon, corn bread, biscuits, upside down cake, upside down apple pie, fried chicken (or anything, it keeps the heat stable) sauteing things, rice dishes like hoppin john or dirty rice. I have actually made most things in cast iron except for tomato sauces or things deglazed with wine. I like enameled cast iron also.
    It's great for roasting vegetables or small chicken. I've cooked a lot of fish fillets in it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: WCchopper

      Isn't using tomato sauce in a cast iron skillet a good way to up your daily iron intake? In fact in home ec class many moons ago we learned to make spaghetti sauce in the cast iron pan.

      There isn't much I don't use mine for, but it is especially good for sauteeing meats, quick cooking veggies (stir fry type action). The one thing I don't use if for is pancakes and scrambled eggs, I like the nonstick pan for that. I do like it for fried eggs, though.

      I've got a 30-year old Wagner 10-inch skillet which is so well seasoned that it's ugly. We even used to take it camping.

    2. Iron Skillet Baked Potatoes

      4 Tbsp cooking oil
      1/4 tsp dried rosemary
      1/8 tsp seasoning salt
      3 or 4 medium size potatoes, sliced length wise

      These potatoes are baked, cut side down in a cast iron skillet. This
      results in a potato with a slightly golden brown crust on the cut side and
      a delicious, roasted flavor.

      In a room temperature, cast iron skillet, add the oil and spread evenly over bottom. Sprinkle rosemary and seasoning salt evenly over the oil.
      Scrub and dry the potatoes. Leave potato skins on. Cut potatoes in half, lengthwise, through widest part of potato. Place potatoes, cut side down, one layer deep in
      bottom of cast iron skillet. Press down on potatoes so that the cut side is coated in oil. Place cold skillet of potatoes in cold oven. Set oven to 400F. and bake for 45-minutes. At end of cooking time, pierce with fork to test for doneness. Potatoes can be served with sour cream, grated cheese, etc.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Antilope

        Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

        A Pineapple Upside-Down Cake is a layered cake that is baked in a cast
        iron skillet. After baking it is turned out (right-side up) onto a plate.
        The layers consist of a yellow cake made with some pineapple juice, topped
        with brown sugar and butter and pineapple rings with maraschino cherries.

        1/2- cup butter (1-cube, 1/4-lb)
        1-1/2 cup brown sugar
        1 (20 ounce) can sliced pineapple rings - reserve liquid
        7 to 10 maraschino cherries - without stems
        1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
        3 eggs
        1-1/3 cup water / pineapple juice from above can
        1/3 cup cooking oil

        Preheat oven to 350 F. In an 11-inch cast iron skillet on the stove-top,
        over medium high heat, melt 1/4-pound of butter. Remove from heat.
        Sprinkle 1-1/2 cup of brown sugar evenly to cover melted butter. If
        needed, even out layer of brown sugar with a fork. Arrange pineapple
        rings around the bottom of the skillet, on top of the brown sugar, one
        layer deep. You will probably end up with six pineapple rings around the
        edge of the skillet and one in the middle. Reserve pineapple juice from
        can.

        Place a maraschino cherry in the center hole of each pineapple ring. In a
        2- cup measuring cup , mix pineapple juice from can with enough cold water
        to make 1-1/3- cup of liquid. In a large mixing bowl, mix at low speed
        until moistened, 1 (18.25-oz) box of yellow cake mix, 3 eggs, 1-1/3 cup of
        water/pineapple juice and 1/3- cup of cooking oil. When cake mix
        ingredients are moistened, mix on medium speed for 2- minutes. Pour the
        yellow cake mix batter over the pineapple/cherry layer in skillet. Place
        skillet in oven, on center rack, and bake for 45-55-minutes or until a
        cake tester inserted in the center of cake comes out clean. Remove from
        oven, place a plate over skillet and carefully turn cake out onto the
        plate immediately. If you wait until later to turn out cake, the brown
        sugar layer will stick in the skillet.

        1. re: Antilope

          Great idea- I love my cast iron, and cook home fries all the time. Never thought to use for a baked potato. Will definitely try this one!

        2. As said above, cornbread and upside down cake (we had a ton of figs this year and they made some great cake). Also, it is indispensable for blackening. Steaks can also been done very nicely in a cast iron pan, provided your stovetop can get hot enough. Some of the best New York Strip steaks that I have ever prepared were done in a cast iron skillet; be sure to finish with a little butter.

          8 Replies
          1. re: frankiii

            For steak in the cast iron skillet, do I need to add any oil?

            1. re: yamalam

              Depends on the steak. If it is well marbled with fat then no; the fat will render and you don't need to add extra. If it is on the lean side you may want to add a bit of oil to get things going.

              1. re: JockY

                If you do use oil, rub it on the steak. If you put it directly in the pan, odds are it will burn.

                I dont think i've ever put oil on my steaks. I tend to make ribeyes, hanger steak, skirt steak. The only steak I think might need to be oiled would be a filet mignon, but since I dont like it, I've never cooked it.

                1. re: ESNY

                  Instead of adding oil, you can just rub any fatty edges of the steak or chops around in the hot pan. That renders just enough of the fat to ensure no sticking if the pan is less than fully seasoned.

              2. re: yamalam

                You really should let the pan get super hot over a high flame for 10 minutes or so before you add the steak. If it is hot enough, you wont need to add any oil

                1. re: frankiii

                  I agree - Suzanne Goin's recipe for cooking steak in cast iron pan calls for heating it for 8 minutes.

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    Putting a layer of salt and/or pepper in the pan, or on the steak itself, will help it to release, and, of course, in a super hot pan, it will release when it has seared enough.

                    AnnieG

                    1. re: violabratsche

                      I have since made ribeyes, new york strips and a porterhouse in my cast iron...delicious!!!!!! Mmm, the seared crust...I'll never do it any other way. Now I just need another to make the skillet baked potato at the same time. Thanks for the input.

            2. Custardy cornbread was a family favorite when I was a kid. It's sort of halfway between cornbread and spoonbread. We ate it with butter and honey.

              http://www.internationalrecipes.net/r...

              1. Don't forget WHY not acidic foods in your cast iron. We have discussed this before, here, and I stand by my experience, although some disagreed, that tomato sauces turn a strange colour cooked in cast iron, and wine, vinegar or lemon juice tend to strip the seasoning from the pan.

                AnnieG

                2 Replies
                  1. re: yamalam

                    'No deglazing' is an overstatement. I deglaze my cast iron pans all the time; they are well-seasoned, and if I use wine it does strip a bit of the seasoning off, but it's nothing a good batch of bacon next time around can't take care of. Or use stock or water to deglaze.

                    I use cast iron for just about everything; never had the experience of tomato sauce turning a strange color (what color does it turn, by the way?)

                1. Don't forget grilled cheese! Fried eggs. Seared/blackened seafood.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: coll

                    Potatoes! -- hash browns, latkes, potatoes anna, etc. I'm so glad my pan got to fried eggable status as well :)

                    1. re: link_930

                      Does it have to be really seasoned to reach fried eggable status?

                      1. re: yamalam

                        I'm not the expert on this, but it took me a few months of seasoning and bacon cooking to get a respectable seasoning. Some describe the pan at this point as having a smooth, black sheen.

                        If your pan isn't seasoned as well, the surface of your pan is still very porous/rough and egg will definitely stick to it. (I wasted a lot of eggs being over-eager!)

                  2. Tarte Tatin
                    Steak
                    Pork Chops
                    Potatoes Anna
                    Panini (use the small pan to weight down the panini in the larger pan)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: JoanN

                      I'll second the potatoes Anna recommendation. This is one I use to minimize the excess butter. It's by no means health food, but delicious, crispy on the outside, and melt in your mouth good.
                      http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

                    2. I have one #8 cast iron skillet dedicated to fish. It's very hard to get the fish smell out of the pan, so one is used for nothing but fish, and one is used for everything else. Including tomato-based dishes like chicken cacciatore. Unless the tomato sauce sits in the pan for hours, I've never had a problem with iron flavor. (but my pans are well-seasoned from daily use.)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: toodie jane

                        My earlier post wasn't t say that one couldn't cook with tomato based dishes, it's just that I have enameled cast iron as well, and I tend to cook things like that for a couple of hours in the oven. So I don't risk a reaction that could alter the flavor or color of my finished dish. But if you have some of that gorgeous shiny slick as a whistle well-seasoned stuff, and you know what you're doing, cook whatever in it!
                        The pans do tend to hold onto flavors, so it's good that you mentioned that. Inexperienced cast iron cooks should bear this in mind when they want to cook carne asada in it one day and peach cobbler in it the next!

                        1. re: WCchopper

                          oh yes! I made a yogurt curry in one last night and made a paste of baking soda and oil to scrub and let it sit. It helped, but I think the next batch of cornbread may have a "certain je ne sais quoi"

                      2. I am one who is passionate about my iron skillets. The question for me is: what do you NOT cook in a cast iron skillet! Very little, as far as I am concerned. Other than eggs, which I tend to do in a non-stick skillet, I do most everything in my cast iron. From grilling steaks on the stove, saute or simmer chicken and pork chops, I roast entire chickens in the oven in my cast iron rather than a roasting pan, I roast wonderful vegetables in the cast iron in the oven...as long as you take care of it properly (never, ever use soap or put it in the dishwasher - I use coarse sea salt to clean mine and always give it a light sheen of oil you then rub off when done), it will just get better and better and everything tastes so much better when you cook in it. I will post a few recipes for you later this afternoon.

                        1. I make two things that no one has mentioned. 1. Pita bread/chapati (I make mine wityh half whole wheat and half white flour). Raise the dough, punch down, grab off golf-size (or smaller) balls of dough, roll out, let rise for another 30 minutes and then cook. A tiny bit of oil in the medium high heat pan and place the dough on the pan. Cook about 1-1/2 minutes (check the bottom to make sure it doesn't get too brown, flip and cook the second side. Watch them puff up!) Also great: Raisin Griddle Cookies (also known around here as "Flapjack cookies." They're absolutely wonderful.
                          RAISIN GRIDDLE COOKIES
                          3-1/2 cups sifted flour
                          1 cup sugar
                          1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
                          1 tsp salt
                          ½ tsp baking soda
                          1 cup Crisco (or butter)
                          1 beaten egg
                          ¾ cup milk
                          1-1/4 cups raisins
                          Mix dry ingredients. Cut in shortening. Add egg, milk & raisins. Mix til moistened and dough holds together. Dough is very stiff. Roll out on floured surface to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutter (or knife works well, too). Heat cast iron skillet til few drops of water dance on the surface. Oil griddle (Crisco okay, here, too) and place cookies on it. As the bottoms turn a golden brown and the cookies puff up slightly, flip to brown the other side. Serve warm. (My husband often puts a dab of peanut butter on them and swoons.) They freeze well, if you have any leftover. Enjoy

                          1. I used a large skillet today to make a quick mid-day snack of nachos. I heated the dry pan first, then layered the ships with the usual toppings. The pan went into a 400 degree oven and in about 8 minutes, perfectly crisp, not soggy, nachos. The flavor of the chips on the bottom layer was enhanced too.

                            I'll try this again.I only grabbed the skillet because it was right on the stovetop already.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: toodie jane

                              Now that is an incredibly awesome idea!

                            2. I cook my roast chicken in my favorite cast iron pan.

                              45-60 minutes in a 400 degree oven, lots of coarse salt, garlic cloves and lemons.

                              The cast iron holds and conducts the heat so well, that the chicken skin always comes out dark and perfect. Remove the garlic and lemons when they start to darken. Spoon or baste the chicken with the pan drippings occasionally.

                              Deglaze the pan by making a gravy with chicken broth or wine (with or without thickening starch) - scrape off the Maillard brown bits...it serves to clean the pan as well. A quick rinse then put the pan back in the still warm oven to dry - ready for next Sunday's roast (which may be pork using a very similar method).

                              3 Replies
                                1. re: fmed

                                  Do you put the chicken breast up or breast down?

                                  1. re: yamalam

                                    Up most of the time. I flip it breast side down on occasion.

                                2. Cast Iron pans are the best for sauteeing veggies. Put in a tablespoon of oil, get the pan really hot, and throw in sliced up peppers, onions, zuchinni, and with a couple of spices you've got a nice vegetarian fajita.

                                  1. I don't use my cast iron as much as I used to -- new house with a ceramic top stove. I found that none of my cast iron was really flat on the bottom and it tends to get too hot.

                                    That said, I still haul the skillets out for griddledcakes and english muffins. I also make a polenta apple upside-down cake that really needs cast iron. I got the recipe from Real Simple (http://food.realsimple.com/realsimple...). I alter the recipe by adding some walnuts to the apple mixture and adding some clove and nutmeg. It is very good hot with some good vanilla ice cream on top.

                                    1. Assuming your skillet is well-seasoned, try "Pollo alla Mattone" - it's basically seasoned chicken quick-fried in the pan under a brick in a 500 degree oven. You are likely to find many recipes here or elsewhere. You need a powerful vent hood because it will get smoky in your kitchen. But it's a unique way to use that hunk of iron.