HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Favorite thing to cook in a cast iron skillet

  • j

Thinking of getting one and wondering what's your favorite dish to cook in it? I know people who swear by it to fry stuff (latkes, chicken) but what else can it do?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. You can bake a cobbler in it, make wicked good cornbread, and it's great for blackening meat, especially fish. Also, if you're female and/or vegetarian, it's a great way to add some much-needed iron into the food you cook. Plus it's good for your cookin' muscles. :D

    1. The only thing I even keep my cast-iron skillet for is German Apple Pancake. You melt brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon together, lightly saute a bunch of sliced apples in this, then pour over a batter you have hastily whomped up in the Cuisinart and let whole thing bake for half an hour. It puffs up and gets brown and every wedge is topped with caramely apples. Illustrates Doctrine of Nonsummativity, whole equals more than sum of parts, as never have three eggs, a cup of flour, some sugar, a cup of milk, and a few apples had more to say for themselves.

      1. I do a Dutch Pancake (similar to Querencia's suggestion) and OMELETS in mine

        1. - burgers & steak
          - eggs
          - grilled cheese
          - hash or crispy potatoes
          - french toast

          1. I use cast iron for so many cooking activities that it's difficult to select one that qualifies as a "favorite". But I truly enjoy making Peter Reinhart's cornbread (http://leitesculinaria.com/7175/recip...) in my preheated cast iron skillet. Crispy outer crust, tender crumb; a holiday favorite around my house.

            4 Replies
            1. re: todao

              What temp do you pre-heat the pan to?

              1. re: subal

                "Place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the fat gets very hot."

              2. re: todao

                Do you preheat the pan with the lard/whatever in it? That's the way I do except I have my mother's old "corn stick" pan. Love that cause you get LOTS of crunchies.

                1. re: c oliver

                  "Place 2 tablespoons of the rendered bacon fat into a 10-inch round cake pan (you can also use a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or a 12-inch square pan). "

              3. Just tonight I used mine to make chicken fried steak with pan gravy. Cooked the meat, removed from the pan, added a T of flour to to a T of pan drippings, roux-d it, added a cup of milk, had gravy in a few minutes.

                1. Cast iron heats so evenly and retains so much heat that nothing is better for searing.

                  And it's ideal for all those chicken dishes that call for browning on the stovetop first, then adding sauce ingredients and finishing in the oven.

                      1. re: eclecticsynergy

                        Bacon is #1 & will not fry fish in anything but cast iron; hash, sausage, pork chops, fried potatoes, cornbread, skillet cake - have a Griswold griddle for pancakes, grilled cheese, rubens, & French toast. Still fry eggs in iron but the All Clad coated pan is best now days.

                      2. Freshly caught and fileted panfish alongside some diced potatoes and onions, sizzling in butter, cooked lakeside over an open fire, of course!

                        1. I have the supersized Lodge skillet. I like to cook things in it that might otherwise be cooked in a wok, e.g., pad thai and stir fries. It's perfect for that. It gets and stays very hot, and you never need to take stuff out to put other stuff in, since it's so big. I need a smaller cast iron skillet for dishes involving deglazing. I'd like to use skillets more in my cooking since I get a good feel from them (perhaps because they don't change temperature depending on what's in them) and, in a weird way, they're easy to clean (just rinse with boiling water and scrape off stuff). And also because you want things to stick sometimes.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: sushigirlie

                            Some CH mentioned that s/he always uses a CI skillet instead of a wok. Thought that was brilliant.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I threw away my wok. I have electric burners and the wok just didn't get hot enough because its round bottom made such small contact with the flat burner.

                              1. re: c oliver

                                ATK proved that a CI skillet is superior to a wok on American ranges.

                            2. Cornbread, first and foremost. I also use my large skillet as a baking stone for other breads, and as a cinnamon roll pan.

                              They are great for roasting meats - sear off the outsides, then pop the whole thing in the oven.

                              And also eggs and pancakes. I make bubble and squeak with fried eggs last night and my bubble had a beautiful crispy outside and my eggs glided right off the pan.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: serah

                                Amen to the corn bread. I love cast iron corn bread with cheddar and green chilies.

                                I also use mine often for frittatas! Perfect for anything that is going into the oven.

                              2. Silver Palate's Peach Cake...drooooool

                                1. The longer you have a cast iron skillet, the more things you will find to make in them. I inherited four, and they have become my first choice for almost everything. Most recently, I made veal chops in one (sear on the stovetop, finish in the oven) and a sort of non-cheese scalloped potatoes in the other. Then when I went to make biscotti, I toasted my almonds in one in the oven. I have also roasted a chicken in one, surrounding it with potatoes, onions, carrots. I love being able to go from the stovetop to the oven with them, and they hold heat incredibly well. I can't imagine what I did before I got them. Definitely my favorite kitchen item at the moment.

                                  1. Hands down, cornbread. You cannot make good cornbread without an iron skillet. Once again, JMNSVHO.

                                    1. my hands down favorite is the simplest: a johnny cake, made rather thin so it gets a little lacy from frying in the fat around the edges. then this is to be eaten with some nice black-eyed peas with snaps, made with a little hog jowl or bacon.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        Second the Johnny cake...alkapal...my is a Bermudian version...it is a bit different than i have seen some people make.

                                        Also I have a cast iron muffin tin i make yorkshire pudding with

                                        There are so many things you can do with a cast iron skillet or cast iron anything...love my cast iron dutch oven :)

                                      2. Pretty much all of the above, although I prefer a nonstick resto supply for omelets and crepes for the sloping sides and handle angle.

                                        One of my most prized family heirlooms is a 12 inch 80 year old skillet that has fed me body and soul; my grandmother got as a bride and gave it to me when I got married.

                                        1. I use my giant cast iron skillet more for its size than anything as it's got tall sides. Having said that, I use it for stroganoff. Firstly, because because it's great for browning the beef and getting all the goodies on the bottom, then its solid, thick bottom is good for simmering on low for hours without scorching.

                                          1. Bacon ~~ Biscuits ~~ Catfish (if I'm pan frying) ~~ Hamburgers (if it's pouring rain) ~~ Obviously "Kone Braid" and "Chied Fricken" ~~ Oh my...there are so many things...I think ya better buy two!!!

                                            Have Fun!

                                            1. Fresh caught brook trout with a little butter, over a campfire.

                                              1. Have to agree with other posters. I got a new skillet once and had trouble getting a good season on it (this was before pre-seasoned). But I took some advice and picked one up at a flea market for very little $. Good scour (for rust) and re-season and it's like glass.

                                                I add my vote to the others for cornbread. I preheat the skillet in the oven at 400 degrees, then add the fat (usually butter) just before the batter goes in. This way the skillet is hot, but the butter doesn't burn.

                                                I also like to do bacon (and save the grease), pork chops, it can't be beat for a crispy hash brown or shredded potato, hmm. I may take others up on other ideas here too....

                                                Not mine, yet, but my mother-in-law always does her pineapple upside down cake in her skillet. I'll have to try that next.

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: eamcd

                                                  I'm looking for a great recipe of pineapple upside down cake done in an iron skillet.

                                                  1. re: walker

                                                    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.

                                                    This recipe calls for fresh pineapple and I've had no wet issues. (after slicing blot with paper towel and place over topping in pan). For topping
                                                    1/2 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored
                                                    3/4 stick unsalted butter
                                                    3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
                                                    For batter
                                                    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
                                                    2 to 3 teaspoons ground cardamom
                                                    2 teaspoons baking powder
                                                    1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                    3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened
                                                    1 cup granulated sugar
                                                    2 large eggs
                                                    1 teaspoon vanilla
                                                    1 tablespoon dark rum
                                                    1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
                                                    2 tablespoons dark rum for sprinkling over cake

                                                    Special equipment: a well-seasoned 10-inch cast-iron skillet

                                                    Preparation
                                                    Preheat oven to 350°F.
                                                    Make topping:
                                                    Cut pineapple crosswise into 3/8-inch-thick pieces. Melt butter in skillet. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Arrange pineapple on top of sugar mixture in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly. Make batter:
                                                    Sift together flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.) Spoon batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand in skillet 5 minutes. Invert a plate over skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). Replace any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet. Sprinkle rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack. Serve cake just warm or at room temperature. Cooks' notes:
                                                    • Some of the food editors found 3 teaspoons of cardamom to be too much, but others loved the intense flavor.
                                                    • Cake may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

                                                    1. re: Joebob

                                                      Thank you.

                                                      Is there a brand of Yellow cake mix you prefer? The second one with rum sounds good...I'd still like to use the M. cherries since it makes the cake look so pretty.

                                                      1. re: walker

                                                        Duncan Hines preferred. I agree about the cherries: traditional.

                                                      2. re: Joebob

                                                        I made an upside down cake in a cast iron skillet this
                                                        past summer and it was a hit. There are a tonne of
                                                        dutch oven recipes on the net for cakes and such
                                                        and easy to find. Joebob has it covered. I used a
                                                        Betty Crocker yellow cake mix

                                                        Here is a link with pictures of how mine came out.

                                                        http://ricksrealpitbbq.freeforums.org...

                                                      3. re: walker

                                                        Funny. My MIL made a pineapple upside down cake at Thanksgiving. (Of course, that's what you need with several pies, pudding and other cakes on the table!)

                                                        I asked her for her recipe because I know it's my FIL's favorite and figured she'd have perfected it. (Plus, even after 20 years, brownie points with the MIL are critical.)

                                                        She hedged a bit. The next time we saw her, she gave me a box of Duncan Hines Pineapple Supreme cake mix and told me to follow the recipe on the side of the box! She just uses her skillet instead of a cake pan.

                                                        http://www.duncanhines.com/recipes/ca...

                                                        I'm still going to look for a homemade version. I'll post back if I get to try one.

                                                    2. It's great for broiling fish. Position the skillet on the oven rack so the top of the pan is ~8" below the broiler flame. Preheat the pan in under the broiler for ~10 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven and put in a piece of salmon, skin-side down (the fish should sizzle right away). Put it back under the broiler for ~10 min (depending on the thickness of the fish). If you want to add a glaze, brush it onto the almost-cooked fish and then return the pan to the broiler for 2-3 minutes.

                                                      I love cooking fish fillets like this - they cook really fast, since the bottom of the pan is so hot. It's easy to remove the fish from the skin b/c the skin sticks a bit to the bottom of the skillet; the fish slides right off.

                                                      1. We're heading out of town as I type this, doing two back to back home exchanges over Chirstmas and New Year's. In addition to the smaller items I normally carry with me, I have my big CI skillet. I was emailing with a Chow-buddy who's leaving the country for a couple of months and she's carrying one with her also.

                                                        1. Bacon. Thick cut, of course.

                                                          1. DH and I swear by our cast iron pans ... we started off with a small Lodge pan a year and a half ago and just recently bought a larger one. We both don't know how we cooked before the CI pans!

                                                            This past weekend, DH made an AWESOME meatloaf in the smaller CI pan ...but he used the pan to brown the onions first and then dumped the whole meatloaf mixture into the pan and slid the whole thing into the oven. I did not grow up eating meatlof but it was the best one I've tasted in my adult life!

                                                            1. cornbread, bacon, roast chicken ( won't cook it any other way), bacon, pancakes, paella, fritatta.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: magiesmom

                                                                I read that cooking bacon (you deliberately listed it twice, right?) is a great way to continue seasoning CI.

                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                  you give me too much credit! But yes, it is a great reseasoner. Though I have to say that since my iron skillets are over 30 years old they are seasoned enough , as long as they never see soap.

                                                                2. re: magiesmom

                                                                  We may be going in that direction with chicken at my home..., I fear! I love roasting chicken and it's easy, but we recently tried Mark Bittman's recipe for roast chicken on a skillet and it was perfect in 45 minutes?! Now I can't get my husband to roast a chicken any other way...

                                                                3. Wow thanks everyone....you've got me craving cornbread and bacon now!

                                                                  1. Blackened tuna
                                                                    and
                                                                    Skillet cornbread

                                                                    1. Cornbread. With a little sugar, please.

                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                      1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                                        Some will say sweet cornbreads are not cornbread at all.

                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                            And they would not know what they're talking about.

                                                                            1. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                                              Looks like I'm the only one that uses it for Irish soda bread. Mom mom's pan, and her receipe. Pan is approx sixty years old, and that's all it is used for. Superb soda bread!

                                                                              1. re: chefdaddyo

                                                                                Not the only one - forgot about that goodie :-)

                                                                                1. re: chefdaddyo

                                                                                  I make Irish Soda bread also in a skillet. Yum. And though i am from the north I dislike sugar in cornbread.

                                                                                2. re: eight_inch_pestle

                                                                                  I don't know. :)

                                                                                  Considered cornbread is a very important to Southern (or Southwestern) cuisine, you think Southers should have a bigger say on this. If I am correct, the sweet cornbread is called Yankee Cornbread in the South. In other words, sweet cornbread is not considered as the real cornbread.

                                                                                  So the big question: Are you a Yankee?

                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                      "So the big question: Are you a Yankee?"

                                                                                      Your question perfectly problematizes this whole discourse, which on "foodie" sites like chowhound rarely pauses to acknowledge the existence of soul food.

                                                                                      Like many African-Americans, much of my family moved north (from Mississippi) between the 1940s and 1960s. Cornbread has been a vital part of the cuisine they brought to (and modified in) Chicago, certainly as important as it is to the Southern cuisine to which you refer. It is dipped in collard green liquor, used to mop up brothy black-eyed peas, forked up with chitlins, eaten out-of-hand as a snack or for breakfast (with or without butter), sliced in half and filled with ham, even fried. It is a staple bread, baked in hot fat (altho often butter instead of bacon drippings or lard) in a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. And it is almost universally sweet.

                                                                                      Yes, I understand that a certain strain of southerner refuses to acknowledge sweet cornbread as "real" cornbread. They are wrong. It's just not *their* cornbread.

                                                                                      I s'pose any further discussion should probably be moved to the thread linked to below---err, above...

                                                                              2. I love cast iron skillets and use them for just about everything from omelets to pancakes to sauteing greens, to pineapple upside down cake, etc. In fact, I do not even bother using anything else. They can do just about whatever a regular aluminum or stainless steel pan can. However, I think my favorite thing to make in a cast iron skillet would have to be southern style cornbread. The skillet must be preheated, the corn meal must be stone ground and there should be absolutely no flour or sugar added. The best cast iron skillets, in my opinion, are a brand called Lodge. They are made in a little town in Southeastern Tennessee called South Pittsburg. They are available at lots of different stores, available in a variety of sizes, are pretty inexpensive and come already pre-seasoned. I am probably a little biased since my great great grandparents are buried in South Pittsburg, but the folks at Cook's Illustrated Magazine even recommend them compared to a bunch of others so that seems like a pretty good recommendation in my book. In terms of caring for them, it is not really too difficult. Just don't over scrub them as you do not want to scrape off any good seasoning built up. After you wash it, put it back on the stove to heat up just enough to dry it out. Then use a paper towel to put a very thin coating of oil all over the inside.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Khotso98

                                                                                  My pans are all Wagner and easily 50 years old

                                                                                2. Cornbread yet again. I do a lot in my skillet and love it. I love to cook filets in it - part on the stovetop and then finishing in a very hot oven. But cornbread ROCKS. I grew up in the south and we ate cornbread all the time. The best cornbread I have ever had/made, though, is from Suzanne Goin. Try this in your skillet, it is incredible. Sweet and rich and oh so good:

                                                                                  http://recipes.aarp.org/recipes/cornb...

                                                                                  1. Loaded home fries.
                                                                                    Chop up some bacon into bite size pieces, cook until crispy and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Sweat some onions and a minced jalapeño (I take out the ribs and seeds), then dump in cubed potatoes. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Once the potatoes are tender inside and crispy outside, add in the bacon, sprinkle with some shredded cheddar. I like these with scrambled eggs, and sometimes I just add the eggs right into the same pan like a frittata.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. All this talk about how well cast iron browns...I got out my never used, new, preseasoned Lodge dutch oven to brown chuck cubes for chili. I like the way it browned the meat but I had to transfer everything to another pot later because I've read you cannot use tomatoes in cast iron. What happens?

                                                                                      On the cooking show, Alex's Day Off, she charred fresh tomatoes in cast iron for a roasted tomato soup.

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                                        Tomatoes are acidic, so it makes the iron leaches out from the cast iron cookware. Nothing toxic or anything. Some people find the metalic taste offensive, while others (like me) don't care. It really is up to you. I would suggest you try it once and see for yourself.

                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                          It doesnt bother me either. Plus you actually get absorption of iron which a lot of women can use.

                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                            I used my new Lodge skillet to roast an acid-based dish (tomatoes and wine) and large black peels came off the surface of pan -- I assume it was the factory seasoning.

                                                                                            We scrubbed the pan well to remove the flakes and re-seasoned the pan, but I won't be using it for high-acid dishes again until it's got a better season on it -- anyway, that was my experience.

                                                                                            1. re: cfretty

                                                                                              Thanks both c oliver and cfretty. For some reasons, I missed both of your messages. Yes, I have also noticed that the Lodge original preseason can come off pretty easily, but interestingly I have not had that happen to me when I apply my own seasoning surface.

                                                                                              For my own seasoning surface, the layer can get "thinner" (wear off slowly) when I cook a lot of watery and acidic food, but it does not peel off like paint on a wall. Thanks.

                                                                                        2. More appropriate question--what else CAN'T it do?? Cast iron is literally the only skillet I own--I had a non-stick but it wore out and I threw it out a year or so ago and I've not felt the loss since. A properly seasoned cast iron skillet can do anything--scrambled, fried or poached eggs, steaks, burgers, bacon, red beans and rice, jambalaya, frittatas (sp), (spanish) tortillas, quiche and omelets. I cook cornbread in it, make fried potatoes, toasted nuts for breads and muffins, caramelized onions--again, I've been cooking fairly intensely for about 5 years now and I've never found anything that doesn't work as well or better in cast iron. Larger items such as roasts, beef stews, pots of mussels, soups and stocks I use a dutch oven rather than a skillet but it's still cast iron. Go for it and buy one (even two)! They're dirt cheap, nearly impossible to ruin provided you dry them thoroughly and wipe them down with oil after each use, and as has been mentioned in this thread, the longer you own one and the better the seasoning on it gets the more things you'll find to use it for.

                                                                                          1. Bacon, Blackened fish, and Cornbread. If your asking for a favorite(s). I have a dutch oven ,and nine skilletts. They get tons of use with everthing i cook. Top of stove, in oven, and on the grill. I work out of town quite frequently , 2 skillets and a coleman stove.and a small gas grill , Are always in tow. I also have a c.1930 Silverseal cast aluminum pot very simular to a dutch oven about 10 inches in dia. that gets a lot of use. .
                                                                                            Has anyone come accross one of these?

                                                                                            1. Anything with brown crunchy bits.

                                                                                              1. Most things. In fact, mine are my go-to pans so often, even over my gorgeous All-Clad. Not always, but often. But as most say my favourite would be cornbread. And upside down cakes, especially pineapple, of course, but pear is my other favourite. Meats do so well, too, and I often roast in them - I hate those high-side roasters.

                                                                                                Big pots of chili as well.

                                                                                                1. I'm going to have get on the crowd favorite and say cornbread. But steak on a cast iron grill pan is pretty darn tasty too. I found the cutest little cast iron individual muffin skillet. Just made sausage grit cakes this morning. I love giving these as a hostess gift.

                                                                                                   
                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: waitress

                                                                                                    That sounds delicious. Mind sharing a recipe?

                                                                                                    1. re: mdzehnder

                                                                                                      I just saw this, so sorry, so late- almost a year, jeez.. anyway.... contact me, I can give you my recipe.

                                                                                                  2. I am in the minority of folks that have little use for a cast iron skillet.
                                                                                                    Steak is at the top of the dilemma. My brother and fellow CH swears by steak seared in an IC skillet and then transferred to the oven. Me? I get better results under my high powered broiler or on the grill.
                                                                                                    Fried Chicken? I use my aluminum vintage wagnerware dutch oven (and I have yet to discover the need for a staub or a le cruset dutch oven).

                                                                                                    I know there is value there, I just seem to use alternate techniques more often. I do have a cast iron sukiyaki pan/pot that gets some use though.

                                                                                                    1. I cook just about everything in my lodge skillet. I never tailgate without it.

                                                                                                      Most common: bacon, hashbrowns, french toast, grilled cheese, steak, burgers. Pan roasted potatoes are dynamite as well. I made Michael Symon's duck fat roasted potatoes a few weeks back and they were incredible.

                                                                                                      I still use a non-stick sauce pan for scrambled eggs, unless I already have sausage fried in the cast, then everything goes in there.

                                                                                                      1. My wife also bakes bread in a 3 qt cast iron dutch over. Delicious crust.

                                                                                                        1. Broccoli is divine in an iron skillet! Heat a little olive oil, add thin slices of garlic. Let that sizzle. Slice the broccoli lengthwise and place in the skillet. Smash (yes smash) it with a spatula. When it turns bright green, flip, and smash a again. I like to let the broccoli just begin to brown. Serve hot with soy sauce.

                                                                                                          1. The BEST and only bread I ever made was using my cast iron skillet and it's cover. The recipe is in Jim Lahey's "My Bread" book. It's a no-knead recipe and it suggested to use a cast iron Dutch oven. Well, I improvised and used my #9 Griswold skillet and cover. What a success!!!!

                                                                                                            1. Broccoli!! Just slice up the whole head and mince some garlic clove. Put a little olive oil in the skillet and get it hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Throw in the garlic and press the broccoli slices into the garlic and olive oil. It's done when both sides have browned a little. Yummy.

                                                                                                              1. Nothing beats a cast iron skillet for cooking a good steak. Skillet must be very hot using a hunk of butter. You can use olive oil, but the butter contributes to the flavor of the steak. Grilling or broiling just do not give you the best flavor.......

                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: janet2012

                                                                                                                  +1 on the steak. I just trim a little fat from the edge of the steak and melt it in place of butter. But butter is great, too. However, NOTHING beats a good well-seasoned cast iron skillet for grilling up some nice thick BACON, so I am also in agreement with JoeyJoeJoe1 below.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                                    +2 on steak. Even though I already mentioned it in this thread, I made steak last night in the cast skillet...just awesome. I start with peanut oil, get it screaming hot, S&P on the steak and let it go for about 4 minutes, flip, throw in a nice hunk of butter along with a few garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. Baste with that goodness while cooking for another 3 minutes. The result is medium rare, full flavored awesomeness.

                                                                                                                  2. re: janet2012

                                                                                                                    Completely disagree that grilling doesn't give the best flavor. If it doesn't, you're not doing it right. Of course I mean grilling outside, over a wood fire. Not a grill pan.

                                                                                                                  3. Eggs. Fried Potatoes. Pizza. Bread. Everything else.

                                                                                                                        1. CI skillet: garlic chicken. Simply chicken, 15-20 cloves of garlic (d'oh) and butter. Shove in the oven at 350 ish until brown, crispy bits on the bottom, and gorgeous roasted garlic bits.

                                                                                                                          CI dutch oven: 2 favorites--sourdough bread and biryani (well, not in the same pot).

                                                                                                                          1. Indoor Smores

                                                                                                                            10 inch CI skillet
                                                                                                                            2 c chocolate chips
                                                                                                                            2 c mini marshmallows
                                                                                                                            1 box graham crackers

                                                                                                                            Preheat oven 375, make sure the rack is in the middle slot. Layer the chocolate chips in the skillet, then top with the marshmallows. Bake for approx 20 minutes or until marshmallows are browned. Remove and cool for several minutes. Use the graham crackers for dipping.

                                                                                                                            1. I've found that nothing makes better fried or scrambled eggs, French Toast, pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, fritattas, or hash than a cast iron skillet.

                                                                                                                              It's also the _only_ way I cook steak anymore.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: The Professor

                                                                                                                                We do still grill steaks, but we cast iron them almost as often.

                                                                                                                                Iron skillets are GREAT for smashburgers. We make smashsausage in cast iron, too.

                                                                                                                              2. Strip loin steak in ghee.
                                                                                                                                Heston's method:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhOV8... not using cast iron but I do.

                                                                                                                                1. Everything. We have two CI skillets that live on the stove, and very rarely drag out any other pans.

                                                                                                                                  I tend not to make soup in mine, but I use them for almost everything else.

                                                                                                                                  Searing scallops and steak.
                                                                                                                                  Fried apples, apple crisp, dutch baby, clafoutis.
                                                                                                                                  Any veggie, stirfried, roasted, "blackened"
                                                                                                                                  Almost anything for breakfast (homefries, eggs, BACON, sausage, pancakes, migas, cinnamon rolls, ...)
                                                                                                                                  Potatoes Anna -- so simple, so pretty
                                                                                                                                  Various breads, especially cornbread
                                                                                                                                  Shakshuka (tomatoes are OK, in my experience, as long as you don't leave them in all day)
                                                                                                                                  Pork chops!

                                                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: DebinIndiana

                                                                                                                                    I made the absolute best apple pie filling in my CI skillet recently, but wholely by mistake: had roasted a ton of red peppers in it the day before (for the Rubio's hot sauce recipe online here at CH somewhere)--washed the pan well, but enough of the heat carried over the next day into the apple, butter & sugar mixture to make a *highly* spiced apple pie. Delicious, but doubt I could ever duplicate it.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                      Yum -- maybe throw a slice of pepper into the apples while sauteing, then remove?

                                                                                                                                  2. Everything that cooks best in a skillet or frying pan and doesn't contain reactive ingredients. I use bare cast iron for most of my cooking. I do have other pans, enameled cast iron, clad stainless, clay pots ect for reactive things.

                                                                                                                                    It's the only thing I cook breakfast foods in like eggs, omelets, bacon ect.

                                                                                                                                    1. Fried breakfast potatoes - basically agree it's good for anything breakfast. I made a great fritata in it as well.

                                                                                                                                      We pulled off a deep dish pizza in our larger skillet and loved it.

                                                                                                                                      Grilled cheese, actually any grilled sandwich

                                                                                                                                      Peach Cobbler, Pineapple upside down cake, Apple Crisp, "Piezookie" which is a big cookie and then ice cream served on top.

                                                                                                                                      Beer Brats in sauerkraut.

                                                                                                                                      Fajitas, Heuvos Rancheros,

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Sandwich_Sister

                                                                                                                                        Yes, when I don't feel like firing up the wood oven outside for pizza I'll use cast iron in the house, it's a decent substitute even though my home oven gets no where near as hot as the one outside.

                                                                                                                                      2. I cooked kielbasa in mine tonight. I have three of them.

                                                                                                                                        To clean them I do it while they are hot. Pour off excess grease straight down the kitchen sink drain hole without letting the grease hit anything else. Then wad up a few newspapers and rub clean until cast iron is dry of any water and grease. No water is used to clean it.

                                                                                                                                        I theorize that this rubbing clean w newspapers helps season it some more. I only use the ones with black ink. No color sections used.

                                                                                                                                        If some burned item is stuck to it I dislodge it with a plastic or metal spatula. You can use metal, just don't dig in hard. And for really removing rust on an old neglected one. Go at it with a cut off wheel on a circular saw. This grinds it out the best. The spots that cannot be reached you use a smaller cut off wheel that goes onto an electric drill. Put your guy to work on this.