A forged iron skillet is among the most versatile and dependable items of cooking gear for any cook dinner, and in contrast to most digital must-haves within the kitchen, it could possibly final for generations. (I am taking a look at you, air fryer.)
As a result of it could possibly stand up to excessive temperatures and retains warmth properly, I really like that forged iron can go from stovetop to oven. It is simply pretty much as good for browning steaks or rooster breasts as it’s for scrambled eggs, sautéing greens, cooking home made omelettes, and even baking a fruitcake.
It is also an inexpensive cookware, so amassing forged iron can change into an obsession. I really like restoring previous cast-iron skillets I discover in vintage shops, 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’ll have heard, I can guarantee you that forged iron skillets are extremely simple to take care of. All you want is scorching water to scrub them, together with a bit kosher salt to take away any cussed bits. How is that sustainable?
Pissed off cooks usually ask me what they will do with their scratched nonstick pans, and I wholeheartedly advocate forged iron as a sturdy substitute. Not like coated nonstick pans, the end on a forged iron skillet would not degrade over time. In reality, the nonstick properties of forged iron enhance with repeated use, because the oils used for cooking change into a part of the pan itself.
There’s additionally no want to fret about utilizing metallic cookware on forged iron. In case you by accident scratch the end, you possibly can simply re-season forged iron skillets with warmth and vegetable oil.
One be aware: Till you’ve got constructed up the pan’s seasoning, keep away from cooking extremely acidic meals like 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 short simmer with these components. (Use enameled forged iron items, like a Dutch oven, for dishes that require longer cooking, like tomato sauce.)
What to do in your forged iron skillet
For many meals, a 10-inch high-sided forged iron skillet is the pan you will need to seize repeatedly. When you begin utilizing it, you will discover it makes its manner onto the stovetop (or oven) for a lot of meals, however listed here are just a few ideas to get you began.
No want to interrupt out a saucepan to arrange this hearty, rustic dish. Saute and simmer the bottom beef (or lentils, for a vegetarian choice) and greens within the pan with wine and broth, then prime with mashed potatoes and switch the pan to the oven.
And whereas the names are sometimes 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 often known as Cumberland pie, prime your mashed potatoes with grated cheese and breadcrumbs.
macaroni and cheese
Though many recipes name for boiling and cooking the pasta individually from the creamy cheese sauce, you are able to do all of it in a cast-iron skillet for a creamy one-pot meal with crispy grilled bits. Who wants boxed mac and cheese when you have got this stovetop choice?
When your longing for macaroni and cheese strikes in the midst of summer season, there isn’t any have to warmth up the oven. Use your forged iron skillet to make a bubbly plate of macaroni and cheese proper in your grill.
roast rooster and greens
Whereas roasting an entire rooster is at all times a consolation meals, bone-in rooster breasts and thighs are perfect for a meal in a forged iron skillet as a result of it is easy to get a crispy end on the cuts.
The only technique is that this: Brown the rooster skin-side down in oil or butter over medium-high warmth (takes about three or 4 minutes), then put aside and briefly sauté the greens within the pan fats. Return the rooster to the pan, pores and skin facet up, and bake at 400 levels Fahrenheit till the rooster reaches 165 levels on a meat thermometer.
The variations on this meal template are almost limitless, however you can begin with wild rooster and mushrooms, Greek-style rooster thighs with olives and lemon, or roast rooster and potatoes with pan gravy.
While you desire a thick, chewy crust for household pizza evening, ditch the baking stone and use the forged iron skillet as a substitute. Preheating the pan within the oven offers the dough a scorching floor that helps the pizza rise to cushiony heights.
When utilizing store-bought pizza dough, deliver the dough to room temperature earlier than stretching. Doing so helps forestall the dreaded bouncing response that forestalls the batter from utterly filling the pan.
Or for a pizza that can take you again to the times of red-checkered tablecloths, Tiffany-style lamps (and E book It! for millennials), make your personal pizza dough in a pan.
For a weekend breakfast, or weeknight breakfast for dinner, escape the forged iron skillet to make an superior trying Dutch child. This family-size pancake puffs up within the oven after which deflates to create a bowl-shaped batter that is excellent for topping with candy or savory toppings.
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 recent corn or jalapeno peppers, or unfold with butter, cornbread baked in a forged iron skillet is made even higher due to the crispy, golden crust.
Preheat the pan within the oven, then add sufficient oil or fats (akin to bacon fats) to cowl the underside of the pan earlier than pouring within the batter. Any cornbread recipe the scale of a 9-inch baking dish may even work in a skillet. Do that additional crispy model made with polenta and millet.
This conventional Persian rice dish is known for its crispy, golden underside, and that is a feat you possibly can simply accomplish in a cast-iron skillet. As a result of it retains warmth, the pan helps the rice cook dinner to a crisp with out burning or burning in locations.
Put together the rice as a facet dish or serve it as a meal of its personal topped with turmeric chickpeas and greens or spiced rooster.
Skillet Brownies and Cookies
In case you make a big brownie with Oreos or a chocolate chip cookie in a forged iron skillet, is that thought of a single serving? Whether or not you like crisp, chewy edges or a wealthy, gooey middle, or a little bit of each, these desserts are excellent. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on prime.