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7 Foods You Should Always Cook in a Cast-Iron Skillet

7 Foods You Should Always Cook in a Cast-Iron Skillet

We've shared with you 7 surprising ways to use your cast-iron skillet, but now it's time to make a bold, definitive statement. Let's talk about 7 foods you should always cook in a cast-iron skillet; just don't even try to use any other pan—because the results won't be nearly as good.

1. Corn breadYes, it's obvious, so it's a good place to start. Corn bread just isn't corn bread unless it has that wonderful crispy crust. And you don't get that crispy crust unless you pour the batter into a hot, hot preheated cast-iron skillet, so that it sizzles the moment it makes contact with the metal.

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2. BurgersThat's right. I'm encouraging you to skip the grill and put your burgers in a searing-hot cast-iron skillet. Why? Two words: The crust. As the meat cooks to a crispy outer crust, it picks up deeply savory, caramelized flavor—over the entire surface (unlike with a grill, where the meat just makes direct contact with a few lines on the rack).

3. Blackened FishOnce again, it's all about the crust. When properly preheated (for at least 5 minutes), cast-iron pans hold heat beautifully—meaning that once you add food to it, the temperature of the pan doesn't drop the way it might in a pan made of, say, stainless steel. And this high, constant heat is what gives you the blackened crust you want on your fish.

4. Smaller SteaksWhy do I specify smaller steaks? Well, because larger-surface-area steaks, such as flank and skirt steaks, fit better on on the grill—though if you want to cut them to fit in your cast-iron skillet, I know they'll be delicious cooked in it. Smaller steaks, though, cook to beautiful perfection with (you guessed it) a great crust when seared in cast iron.

5. ScallopsEver had disappointing scallops? You know, wan, pale scallops without a good crust? Prevent that from ever happening to you by cooking your scallops in a very hot cast-iron pan. And don't fuss with them; leave them for a few minutes to develop that crust. If you try to move them too early, you break the seal and disrupt crust-formation. But leave them till they release from the pan naturally, and you get the reward of beautifully, perfectly seared scallops.

6. Pommes AnnaOK, admittedly this recipe is rather specific. But it's so darn delicious that I want to make it an everyday kind of dish. Super-thin slices of potatoes get layered into a cast-iron skillet, then are lightly pressed (to compress them a bit) and baked till they're wonderfully crispy when you turn out them out.

7. Charred VegetablesRemember what I said earlier about cast-iron holding its heat, about it not dropping the temperature once you add food? That's super important when you're trying to char food. Here, I'm focusing on charred vegetables—because that layer of charred flavor takes them to a whole new dimension.

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Eggs are a tasty and affordable source of protein and healthy fats. If you're tired of boiled eggs or those weird rubbery "scrambled eggs" from your dining hall, try to find your ideal fried egg. Some people like them thoroughly cooked, while others, like me, like them runny. You can add fried eggs to sandwiches, burgers, salads, and of course, breakfast. It may take some trial and error depending on your own pans and stovetop, but this recipe is a MUST for any adult to know how to cook. Why not learn now?

My favorite way to fry: butter in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, salt and pepper, with a runny yolk that I can eat with toast or fried rice (see #7).

Msu Spoon


Cast iron skillet recipes you should try:

1. Skillet Cauliflower Crust Veggie Pizza

I bet you’d never guess that you could make a pizza in your cast iron skillet. This isn’t just any old pizza though.

So if you have a gluten allergy or are on a low carb diet, don’t put away that cast iron skillet. It can help you make a new kind of delicious pizza crust.

2. Irish Soda Bread

Did you know that you could bake bread in a cast iron skillet? Well, you can. You can also make this delicious Irish Soda Bread in two different ways.

So pull out this recipe the next time you’re craving some homemade bread. You might find this is your new favorite recipe.

3. Cast Iron Skillet Cheeseburger

I’m a cheeseburger girl. I just love them! Which is why I love my cast iron skillet that much more since I found this recipe.

So if you are a cheeseburger person too, then you’ll definitely be excited over the fact that you can build these delicious burgers in your cast iron skillet.

4. Skillet Cherry Cobbler

I love cherry cobbler. I think it is probably one of my favorite desserts on the planet.

So when I found out it could be made in my cast iron skillet, I was so excited. If you feel the same, then you’ll definitely want to check out this recipe.

5. Skillet Cinnamon Apples

One of my favorite ways to prepare apples is in a skillet. You haven’t tasted delicious apples until they have cinnamon on them and are fried.

So if you’d like to put your skillet to good use to help you create a tasty side dish, then you’ll want to check out this recipe.

6. Jalapeno Cheddar Skillet Cornbread

This is probably my favorite type of cornbread. My mom used to make it a lot when I was growing up. It is so delicious.

But what I love the most is the different flavor combinations, and it has an old fashioned feel to it as well.

7. Chocolate Chip Cookie Marbled Brownie

This is a great recipe for someone that wants something sweet but can’t decide exactly what they are looking for.

So if you’d like to have a cookie or a brownie, you can just combine the two in your skillet and have a satisfying dessert.

8. Loaded Smashed Potatoes Skillet

If this doesn’t make your mouth water I don’t know what will. It looks like a giant loaded mashed potato that is topped with scallions and sour cream.

But this dish is not only delicious in appearance, it would make a great side dish. Needless to say, your meal would be very filling.

9. Skillet Banana Nut Bread

Banana nut bread is probably one of my favorite dessert/quick bread. It is a frugal dessert and something my whole family loves.

So imagine my excitement when I discovered it can now be made in my cast iron skillet. It was a happy day for me, to say the least.

10. Sausage Gravy and Biscuit Skillet

If you live in the south, then you know that biscuits and gravy are practically a staple for any meal of the day. I know it is around my house.

Which is why I love this recipe. It is a homemade sausage gravy and biscuit meal that can be whipped up in your cast iron skillet in around 30 minutes.

11. Skillet Focaccia Bread

Some people just really love different types of bread. Focaccia is one of those that a lot of people draw to.

So when I saw that you could now make it in your cast iron skillet in around an hour, I knew a lot of people would want to be in the ‘know’ on it.

12. Beef Taco Skillet Casserole

I love meals like this, especially on busy nights of the week. It is a great one pot meal that fits my family’s taste buds.

So if your family loves Mexican food, and you need a quick one skillet meal, then you might really like this recipe.

13. Easy Skillet Beef and Broccoli

I love beef and broccoli dishes. They are healthy, tasty, and can be served over a quick plate of rice to make a whole meal.

Which is why I thought this recipe would be a hit. If you love quick meals like this as well, then you’ll want to check it out.

14. Skillet Chicken Pot Pie

You probably guessed that this southern girl loves chicken pot pie. I do! I grew up on it, and I think it is probably one of my most comforting meals.

So when I found out it could be whipped up in my cast iron skillet, I naturally just drew to the recipe.

15. Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Skillet

Whoever came up with the awesome flavor combination of chicken and broccoli mixed in with pasta and cheesy cream sauce should get a medal. It is a great dish.

But what takes it over the top is where I get to put it all together in my trusty cast iron skillet.

16. Cast Iron Flank Steak

I am not a person that uses a grill all that much. That is my husband’s department. I actually like to cook my steak in a cast iron pan.

So when I saw this recipe that called for cooking flank steak in a cast iron skillet, I knew it was a recipe for me.

17. Vanilla Sugar Skillet Cake

I’m crazy about the idea of being able to make dessert in my cast iron pan. I think it totally rocks!

So when I saw this delicious recipe that combines the flavors of vanilla and sugar, I knew it was for me.

18. Sausage and Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole

I make egg frittatas in my cast iron skillet pretty regularly. Which is what this casserole made me think of right away.

But the combination of sausage and hash browns is so good in any casserole. The fact that it can all come together in one cast iron dish makes it that much better.

19. Kentucky Apple Skillet Cake

This apple cake looks absolutely delicious. It also seems pretty simple to whip together.

So if you’d like a delicious cake that can be baked right in your cast iron pan, then this could be the cake for you.

20. Simple Cast Iron Ratatouille

This is a super simple recipe. It is vegetables and sauce put in a cast iron skillet and baked in an oven. It doesn’t get a whole lot easier.

So if you are looking for a simple dish to make in your cast iron skillet, then this could be it.

21. Grandma’s Iron Skillet Apple Pie

My mom recently gave me her cast iron pie pan. As she is getting older she prefers to cook with less heavy pans.

But I’m excited to find this recipe because I now have an apple pie recipe to try out in it.

22. 30 Minute Cast Iron Rolls

If you’ve ever made rolls from scratch, you know that they can be time-consuming.

But if you have this recipe, then you may now be able to save yourself a lot of time when making these rolls.

23. Skillet Blondie for 2

Are you having a special date night? Want to make something unique in your cast iron skillet?

Then you need to consider making this skillet blondie for 2. It would be a unique and tasty dessert meant just for the two of you.

24. Upside Down Peach Cake

You may be familiar with an upside down pineapple cake, but have you ever considered making an upside down peach cake?

Well, I hadn’t either until I saw this cake. What makes it even better is that it can be made and baked right in your cast iron pan.

25. Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Fried Steak

Again, I’m a southern girl. So bear with me as I drool over anything chicken fried. Chicken fried steak is no different.

Plus, it comes smothered in this delicious homemade gravy. If you are in the mood for something comforting and friend, then you might want to try this recipe.

26. Cast Iron Crispy Potato Wedges

When you think of cast iron, do you think of potato wedges? No. Me neither until I saw this recipe.

But now, I’ll think of potato wedges almost every time I see my skillet because of how crispy and delicious these potatoes look.

27. Super Fluffy Doughnuts with Sugar Glaze

These donuts are fried in a cast iron skillet. You could fry them in a different skillet I suppose, but the idea of frying in a cast iron skillet just makes it seem all the more old fashioned, homemade, and delicious.

So if you love homemade doughnuts, then give this recipe a try. They look absolutely wonderful.

28. Skillet Blueberry Cobbler

If you haven’t guessed already, I’m a pie and cobbler type of gal. I love the fresh taste of the berries, and I also love the delicious crust too.

So when I learned I could make this delicious cobbler in my cast iron skillet, I was super excited.

29. Skillet Green Beans and Bacon

Do you like green beans? What about green beans that have a slight crunch to them? Or green beans that have a nice bacon flavor?

Well, I love all of the above. That is why I think this recipe would be one that would absolutely delicious as a side dish to any meal.

30. Cast Iron Baked Ham and Swiss Sliders

Sliders are amazing little sandwiches. They have a way of giving you a savory bite without filling you to the brim, like a larger version of the sandwich might do.

So if you like sliders, then you might want to try these ham and swiss sliders. They can be easily made right in your cast iron skillet.

31. Cast Iron Maple Cinnamon Scones

When you think cast iron you may not immediately think scones. You may not even think scones when I say maple cinnamon.

But believe me, scones can actually be a rather simple breakfast. The fact that they can be made in your cast iron makes them that much easier.

32. Skillet Buttermilk Biscuits

This is a traditional recipe that is usually made in a cast iron skillet. I actually always cooks my homemade biscuits in my cast iron. I think they turn out better.

But if you’ve never tried it before, I recommend it because I think they come out a little fluffier and a little more golden.

33. Cast Iron Skillet Cinnamon Roll

Cinnamon rolls are a huge thing around my house. We have them every Saturday morning.

So imagine my delight when I saw that you can actually make a giant cinnamon roll right in your cast iron skillet. My life just got a little easier.

34. Cast Iron Sweet Blueberry Biscuits

I love these biscuits. I’ve never had them homemade before, but I can buy them quite easily from a local restaurant in my area.

And let me say, they are amazing. So the fact that I can make them in my home in my own cast iron makes this recipe an exciting one.

35. Skillet White Chicken Chili Dip

Do you like white chicken chili? If so, then you’ll probably love this dip. It is also really easy to serve because it is fixed and served in cast iron.

So if you’d like a simple appetizer to serve, then consider making this recipe.

36. S’mores Pudding Cake

Okay, if you are a chocoholic, then you’ll definitely want to check out this recipe. It looks chocolatey and delicious.

But to top it off, it is covered in marshmallows, which adds to the S’mores goodness. It would make quite a special dessert.

37. Peanut Butter Skillet Cookie

I love peanut butter. It is a huge staple in our house. It should come as no surprise that we all love peanut butter cookies too.

So the fact that this recipe shows you how to make a giant peanut butter cookie in your cast iron skillet, makes it a winner in my book.

38. Cast Iron Skillet Orange Chicken

Have you ever thought about making orange chicken in your cast iron skillet?

Well, if not, then you might want to start. This recipe will show you how to make a fresh dinner recipe that your guests are sure to love.

39. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie

I am a cookie fan. I love oatmeal cookies, and I love chocolate chip cookies. The fact that this one allows me to combine the two makes me happier.

Then to top it off, they add salted caramel to the mix. That sounds so good!

40. Skillet Roasted Red Potatoes

These potatoes would make an excellent dish for most any occasion. They would go great with a dinner recipe or with breakfast as well.

But their crunchy texture is sure to be a hit around most any table.

41. Sheepherder’s Breakfast

This breakfast is meant to fill you up for a hard day’s work. It is filled with protein with bacon, eggs, and cheese.

But it also has necessary carbs that come from the hash browns. It looks like a great way to start the day.

42. Texas Sheet Cake Skillet

This is another delicious and chocolate filled dessert. If you love chocolate then you’ll want to tune into this one.

So this is a gooey chocolate cake that has a sweet and nutty frosting. Then it is topped with ice cream.

43. Skillet Brownies

I make brownies a lot around my house for a snack. I know they aren’t the healthiest option, but in comparison to a lot of prepackaged food, I’ll take my chances.

So when I saw that I could make little personal brownies in smaller cast iron pans, I was on board.

44. Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs

My family and I love our carbs (though we try to not overdue it too badly.) But spaghetti-and-meatballs is one of our favorites.

But when you bake them with a lot of cheese on top, and then make clean-up a breeze by cooking it all in cast iron, that just really makes it a wonderful recipe.

45. Skillet Scalloped Potatoes

Growing up, one of my favorite dishes that my mother made was scalloped potatoes. There is something about them that makes you feel comfortable.

So when I saw this recipe for skillet scalloped potatoes, I knew I wanted to give them a try.

46. Whiskey BBQ Campfire Chicken

Cast iron is so great because you can cook with it over an open fire or on a stove top. Which makes it a great tool for when you are camping.

So if you like to eat really well when camping, then you’ll want to pack the cast iron and try this whiskey BBQ chicken.

47. Campfire Pizza Nachos

Don’t let the fact that you are roughing it in the woods deter you from eating an amazing and delicious meal.

Well, if you put your cast iron to work on this meal, you won’t be disappointed.

48. 20 Minute Cast Iron Chicken Fajitas

Don’t let a busy weeknight stop you from having a great home cooked meal. How can I say that?

Well, with this fabulous recipe that takes only 20 minutes to whip up and one pan, you could eat well and quickly too.

49. Simple Southern Cornbread

Do you like basic cornbread? It is simple and delicious without a lot of ingredients. It makes it a frugal part of any dinner that can be thoroughly enjoyed.

Well, if you feel that way about your basic southern cornbread, then you need to try this delicious recipe.

50. French Toast Casserole

I love French toast. When I had food poisoning a few weeks ago and was trying to recover, I lived on French toast for a few days because it was all I could handle.

So it shouldn’t surprise you that I’m over the moon about this French toast casserole. It looks delicious, and the flavors are definitely something to write home about.

51. Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Remember on cartoons how they use to make it out that Brussel sprouts were just the worst thing to eat?

Well, I think this recipe might change your mind. I love Brussel sprouts, but I’ve also learned it is all in how you fix them.

52. Old Fashioned Skillet Meatloaf

I make a mean meatloaf. Most people’s mother-in-law’s don’t like their cooking. Mine actually loved mine and my meat loaf was her absolute favorite.

So when I saw this old fashioned recipe that included cast iron, I knew I had to share and put it on my list of things to make.

53. Favorite Fried Chicken

I love homemade fried chicken, but I think my husband makes the absolute best. The reason is he fries his in cast iron.

Now, as soon as I saw this recipe that included frying chicken in cast iron, I knew that others might love this method as much as I do.

54. Baked Mac-n-Cheese

I love homemade mac-n-cheese. This recipe seems really simple and really delicious.

Plus, it lets you in on the secret of cast iron. Items usually cook faster in it which means you can eat faster.

Well, now you have over 50 different choices of recipes that you can use your cast iron skillet for. Hopefully, you will enjoy many great meals.

But I’d like to know what you use your cast iron skillet for? What is your go-to recipe?

We love hearing from you so please leave us your thought in the space provided below.


5 Foods You Should Never, Ever Cook in a Cast Iron Skillet

If you're looking to whip up a deliciously juicy seared steak, no other type of pan will give you better results than a cast iron skillet. And it's not just for steak: You can sauté, roast, sear, bake, braise, and more in these multi-functional pans, but they're also extremely durable and affordable to meet all of your cooking needs.

Their ability to get&mdashand then stay&mdashreally hot makes them ideal for cooking meats and stir-fries. And the fact that they can go from the stovetop to the oven means you can cook perfect baked goods like cornbread and even pie. Another bonus: While you have to scrub your other pots and pans to get them clean, all you have to do to clean a cast iron skillet is rinse it with warm water post-cooking. Talk about a low-maintenance piece of kitchen equipment!

Though you may be excited to order a cast iron skillet and start cooking away, the trick to achieving great results is knowing when to use them&mdashand when another pan might be better for the type of food you're making. Here are five things you should avoid cooking in a cast-iron skillet. Then keep reading for a few ideas of what cooks up really well in these pans.

1. Tomato Sauce

Acidic foods like tomatoes can damage the seasoning, or the nonstick coating, of your skillet. What's worse, the end result will taste metallic, especially if it's something&mdashlike a slow-simmered pasta sauce&mdashthat requires a long cooking time. Skip the cast iron for your bolognese and use stainless steel instead.

2. Wine-Braised Meats

It's not the greatest idea to cook foods that require deglazing with wine or vinegar in a cast iron skillet. Unless your skillet is perfectly seasoned, the acid in the foods can leach small amounts of metal into your food, giving it an off-taste and potentially harming your health.

3. Desserts

Some of your favorite desserts like pie and cornbread can be baked to perfection in a cast iron pan, it's true. It also adds an appealing crisp edge to cakes and quick breads, and it can go straight from the stovetop to the oven. But here's something to consider: If you mainly cook savory foods in your skillet, those residual flavors can transfer into whatever you're baking, giving your dessert an unexpected flavor. The best solution: two skillets! Then you can designate one for garlicky stir-fries and another for the sweet stuff.

4. Omelets

Omelets and other egg dishes can stick to the surface when you try to remove them from a cast iron skillet. That means, in addition to serving up an ugly omelet, you may be tempted to soak your pan to get it clean, which will definitely remove the seasoning. Go for an enamel pan instead, and those perfectly folded omelets will slide out with ease.

5. Other Foods that Stick

Like with omelettes above, you may have trouble with foods like pancakes or fried rice, especially when the pan is new and not well-seasoned yet. When the pan is nicely seasoned, these foods should do just fine &mdash but until then, you may need to, say, scrape the pancakes off the bottom, and then scrub the residue off while you're cleaning it.

6. Delicate Fish

Like eggs, flaky fish fillets can stick to a cast iron pan, making them difficult to remove. The hard scraping to remove your delicate fishes can damage the seasoning on your skillet. While cast iron is great for searing a steak, thanks to how hot it gets (and stays), enamel is better for fish like tilapia, cod, and flounder. Salmon and tuna steaks will cook perfectly in your cast iron pan, though, so feel free to try those out.

Now, how about a few ideas of what works really well in a cast-iron skillet? Try these three:

Fried Chicken

A cast iron pan is ideal for fried chicken, because it holds in the heat well, even when you drop the chicken into the hot oil. You can cook up tender and juicy breasts and legs in no time.

Pan Pizza

The pan is just the right shape, and here's where the whole "put it right in the oven" thing really works well! You can turn out apizza that the whole family will love in no time.

Fruity Upside-Down Cake

This recipe uses cranberries, but you could use any type of frozen berries to turn out a splendid cake that serves a whole bunch of people! You start the recipe on top of the stove, and end up with it in the oven, turning the top a delicious toasty brown.

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Best Uses for Cast Iron

  • Searing – Cast iron is perhaps best at searing foods because it conducts heat well and disperses it evenly across its surface, making it perfect for getting a golden brown crust on whatever food you’re cooking. My favorite foods to sear in cast iron are chicken, peanut tofu, and veggie burgers.
  • Roasting/Baking – Perhaps my favorite cast iron use is roasting (and baking) because of how easy it is to sear foods on the stovetop and then throw them right into the oven to get golden and crispy (mmmm, yum). This is possible because cast iron cookware is oven-safe (take that non-stick!). You can roast and bake not only using a cast iron skillet (hello, skillet cornbread!), but also pots, Dutch ovens, baking sheets, pizza pans, and more. My favorite foods to roast using cast iron are our Beet Falafel, Miso-Glazed Brussels Sprouts, and Socca.
  • Stir-Frying – Yet another fabulous use for cast iron due to its ability to get really hot and distribute that heat evenly is stir frying. This cooking method benefits from a bit of oil, in my experience, to help the food brown and prevent sticking. My favorite foods to stir fry in cast iron are Tofu Stir-Fry, Tempeh Stir-Fry, and Quinoa “Fried Rice. But it’s also great for stir-frying just about any vegetable, grain, or meat (if not vegetarian or vegan).

How to Fix a Rusty Cast Iron

If your cast iron is rusting, no worries. These things happen, especially when cast iron is exposed to moisture over a prolonged period of time or if the seasoning has worn off.

If your cast iron rusts, simply repeat the seasoning process, giving special attention to the scrubbing and cleaning process at the beginning, ensuring all rust gets removed by using a stainless steel brush pad as needed.

Health Benefits & Risks of Cast Iron

Last but not least, the health benefits and risks of cooking with cast iron. I found Andrew Weil to have a great explanation of both sides of this debate.

“Cast iron cookware does ‘leach’ iron into food and that can be an advantage, not a disadvantage, particularly for pre-menopausal women who don’t get the 18 mg of iron they need daily,” according to Weil.

He went on to cite a study published in the 1986 Journal of the American Dietetic Association that showed “cooking in cast iron skillets added significant amounts of iron to 20 foods tested,” including increasing the iron content of 3 oz of applesauce from 0.35 mg to 7.3 mg and scrambled eggs from 1.49 mg to 4.76 mg.

On the other hand, this can be a disadvantage for people who already get an overabundance of iron in their diets. Weil explains, “There’s plenty of iron in red meat, beans, lentils, millet, chickpeas, dark leafy greens, molasses, dried apricots, dried peaches, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts, almonds, scallops, clams, oysters, soybeans, and many other foods.”

He also states that cast iron cookware should not be used for deep frying as iron can accelerate the oxidation of fat and cause it to become rancid.

That concludes our guide to cast irons! As you can tell, we’re avid cast iron enthusiasts and use them as our go-to every day.

We hope this guide was helpful. But if you have more questions about cast iron, let us know in the comments!


Gallery

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup bacon drippings
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped celery
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound andouille sausage, sliced
  • 3 quarts water
  • 6 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (such as Tabasco®), or to taste
  • ½ teaspoon Cajun seasoning blend (such as Tony Chachere's®), or to taste
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 4 teaspoons file powder, divided
  • 2 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 2 (10 ounce) packages frozen cut okra, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
  • 1 pound lump crabmeat
  • 3 pounds uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Make a roux by whisking the flour and 3/4 cup bacon drippings together in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat to form a smooth mixture. Cook the roux, whisking constantly, until it turns a rich mahogany brown color. This can take 20 to 30 minutes watch heat carefully and whisk constantly or roux will burn. Remove from heat continue whisking until mixture stops cooking.

Place the celery, onion, green bell pepper, and garlic into the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until the vegetables are very finely chopped. Stir the vegetables into the roux, and mix in the sausage. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, and cook until vegetables are tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside.

Bring the water and beef bouillon cubes to a boil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. Stir until the bouillon cubes dissolve, and whisk the roux mixture into the boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer, and mix in the sugar, salt, hot pepper sauce, Cajun seasoning, bay leaves, thyme, stewed tomatoes, and tomato sauce. Simmer the soup over low heat for 1 hour mix in 2 teaspoons of file gumbo powder at the 45-minute mark.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings in a skillet, and cook the okra with vinegar over medium heat for 15 minutes remove okra with slotted spoon, and stir into the simmering gumbo. Mix in crabmeat, shrimp, and Worcestershire sauce, and simmer until flavors have blended, 45 more minutes. Just before serving, stir in 2 more teaspoons of file gumbo powder.


2. Be Aware that a Cast-Iron Surface Takes on Flavors

A cast-iron pan, especially when it's straight out of the box and hasn't been through several rounds of seasoning, has a porous surface that will take on flavor. Even a really well-seasoned pan is more apt to take on flavor than a stainless steel or nonstick pan, especially since we don't recommend cleaning a nonstick skillet with soap for risk of stripping the seasoning. For this reason, you'll want to think twice about making that skillet cookie directly after the salmon from last night's dinner. If you plan on making a lot of desserts in your cast-iron skillet, it might be smart to buy a separate skillet for them. After all, cast-iron skillets are cheap!


Your First 4 Things To Cook In Your Cast Iron Skillet

Everyone loves cooking and relishing the flavor of their dishes. There are plenty of ways to make your recipes flavorsome, and one of the ideal means is to use the right utensil and cook it in the right direction. You must try different styles of cooking and use various utensils to try out your cooking experiments. Cast iron skillet is one such efficient cooking vessel that can add a unique flavor and texture to your dishes. These are better known for their sturdy design and heat holding capacity. There are several benefits of cooking in an iron skillet, such as they are incredibly non-sticky and really easy to clean.

You must have a cast-iron skillet in your kitchen that you can use to make different dishes. If you are new to using an iron skillet, then you must not hurry with things and take ample time to cook in it. There are plenty of things that you can try in a cast iron skillet as a starter and gradually move to other complicated recipes. So if you are also planning to buy a new skillet for your kitchen, here are four food items that you can try in it.

Fry A Few Eggs

You would not want to make your special recipe by making it in an iron skillet for the first time. It is always better to take it slow and make things pretty simple. Try to fry eggs in your iron skillet and learn how to manage the heat and adjust the flame. Frying eggs in the iron skillet will work as a litmus paper test for your iron skillet. You need to preheat the skillet for at least five minutes don’t use any oil. After preheating, add butter or oil to fry the eggs. Give eggs a little time to set into the pan before you flip it. To cook the white, reduce the heat and prevent the burning.

Smear Pork Chops

Once you are pretty confident with frying eggs and mastered the art of managing the heat, you can increase the difficulty level. You can move forward with something meaty. One of the easiest ways to handle meat is to smear pork chops or steak. These two are the best things to highlight the features of a cast-iron skillet. When you cook meat in an iron skillet, you need to put in a little extra effort to clean it. Just like frying eggs, make it slow and give ample time to cook the meat. After cooking the meat, pour some wine into the skillet to make the pan sauce. You don’t have to worry about deglazing when making pan sauce in an iron skillet.

Fry Some Crispy Schnitzel

The best thing about iron skillet is that they can provide your dishes with the required crispiness. After making eggs and pork chops in the skillet, you will become quite a pro. You can move further with frying some chicken or pork schnitzel. You would need enough oil seasoning to make schnitzel. It would need plenty of oil for the meat to get a crispy crunch. The key to crispy schnitzel is to remain patient and give it more time. Using butter is also a great alternative to give your schnitzel with an iron skillet. You can surprise everyone at dinner by serving crispy and crunchy schnitzel don’t forget to mention the magic of iron skillet. All you need is to remain patient with the cooking time.

Fancy Frittata

Frying eggs in a skillet are for beginners, scrambling them would take some time, but you can always try frittatas for the starter. Frittatas are nothing but baked eggs that are seasoned with sautéed veggies before putting it into the oven. You can use different vegetables and sauté in a pan you can also use the crispy schnitzel. Once the veggies are ready, you can create the baseline for the egg. Brush the iron skillet with butter or oil and place the base of the veggies before adding the eggs. Don’t forget to preheat the iron skillet before adding the ingredients. As always, patience is the key to a successful iron skillet recipe.

The Bottom Line

If you love cooking and experimenting with different dishes, then you must always be open to new things. It is not just trying new recipes and experimenting with ingredients you must also try cooking with different utensils as well. It is true that each utensil offers a different cooking experience that will be completely distinctive. Hence, you must try different utensils, and if you haven’t given cast iron skillet a try, now is the time. You would be surprised to know the variance in your dishes while cooking in an iron skillet and you will definitely love the smell and flavor of everything that you will cook in it.


7 Mistakes You&rsquore Making When You Cook Steak

Unless you're a cowgirl or rancher, steak night at home is probably a special, once-in-a-while occasion. So you definitely don't want to screw it up.

Cooking a great steak seems like it should be easy. After all, you only need a few ingredients. And the basic steps couldn't be simpler: Just toss the meat in the pan, flip it once, cook it until it reaches your desired doneness, and viola! Your tender, juicy, succulent dinner is served. (Stop dieting and enjoy that meal. Here's how you can naturally retrain your fat cells to lose weight for good, from the publisher of Prevention.)

That's what's supposed to happen, anyway. In reality, home-cooked steak often ends up tough, bland, or both. But it doesn&rsquot have to be that way. Steer clear of these common mishaps, and you'll be rewarded with a delicious steak every time.

There's a time and a place for tough, lean cuts of meat like chuck roast or top or bottom round. (We're looking at you, beef stew.) But when steak is the shining star of the meal, it's worth splurging on tender cuts with a good amount of fat marbling, like filet mignon, New York strip, T-bone, or rib eye. That way, your steak will be moist and flavorful, not tough or dry.

Adding a generous sprinkle of salt and fresh cracked pepper to both sides of your steak 30 to 40 minutes before cooking gives the seasoning a chance to get absorbed into the meat, resulting in juicier, more flavorful meat. But if you wait until the end to add salt or pepper, all you&rsquoll taste is, well, salt and pepper.

The wetter the surface of your steak, the more likely it is to steam when it hits the hot pan. (Uh, yuck.) So take a paper towel and give both sides a quick pat before tossing it in the pan. That&rsquoll get rid of any residual moisture, ensuring that the outside of your steak gets crisp and caramelized. (You also need to pat fish dry before cooking. Avoid these 7 mistakes that will ruin your fillets.)

Save the lightweight, nonstick skillet for your scrambled eggs. Steak needs a heavy-duty pan that will retain plenty of heat and help the meat form a deliciously crisp outer crust. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is the best tool for the job.

We said the pan needs to retain plenty of heat, and we weren't kidding. A screaming hot cook surface is non-negotiable in order to achieve a crisp, caramelized crust&mdashanything cooler means the steak will steam instead of sear. You'll know you've reached the magic temperature when the pan just starts to smoke.

Unless you're a seasoned pro, it can be tough to tell whether a steak is done just by looking at it. So forego the visual cues in favor of a simple meat thermometer. (Cook your steak to 140°F for medium-rare, 155°F for medium, and 165°F for well done. It'll continue cooking and reach its recommended final cook temperature while it rests.) It's quick, easy, and always accurate. (Burger night? Here's how to build the burger of your dreams.)

Muster all your self-control here, people. Tearing into your meat the minute you pull it off the pan will result in all of those flavorful juices spilling out of your steak and onto the plate&mdashleaving you with a sad, dry piece of meat. But when you let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes, those juices will make their way back to the center of the meat. And you'll be rewarded with a moist, mouthwatering steak. (Here are 4 things that happened when one woman tripled her protein intake for a month following the Whole30 plan.)


5 Mistakes You Might Be Making With Your Cast Iron Skillet

Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, you probably have a favorite cast iron skillet that’s your go-to pan for everything from eggs on the stovetop to cornbread in the oven. Some skillets have even been in families for generations. The benefits of cooking in cast iron are many, but the primary one is temperature control. Because cast iron is heavy, it retains heat well, and at higher temperatures, it can sear and brown food, or heat it gently and keep things warm at lower temps. Despite all the benefits, there are some key mistakes people make when caring for their cast iron cookware that results in sticking food or rust. Are you guilty of any of these?

Mistake 1: You’re Not Using Enough Fat When Cooking

While it’s true that a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is a joy to cook with, it is never going to be quite as non-stick as a nonstick skillet, unless you use an ample amount of your preferred cooking fat. First, it’s important to always heat up the pan prior to adding any oil, butter, or fat. When cooking on cast iron, when it comes to fat, less is not always more. It’s better to err on the side of too much fat, and then simply drain any excess after cooking. Any southern cook will tell you that the morning after frying chicken is when the skillet is at its most perfect nonstick for breakfast, with the eggs sliding right off the pan. Your cast-iron skillet loves fat it’s actually what the seasoning (the black color of the metal) on its surface is composed of—fat that’s been exposed to heat, leaving a smooth coating of carbon.

Mistake 2: You’re Not Cleaning It Properly

One of the most effective ways to clean a cast-iron skillet is to use a bit of water and a stiff brush, while the pan is still hot. Brush off any cooked-on food, which softens from the water, then rinse, and dry. Avoid metal brushes that can scratch through the seasoning and expose raw metal. The only time you should use metal scourers to clean a cast-iron pan is when there is a lot of food build-up on the outside of the skillet. Some cooks are proud of that build-up, but it’s really due to neglect from improper cleaning. For that, use a specialized cast iron cleaner, which is a square of woven round stainless steel “chainmail” scrubber for removing thick build-up on the outside of your skillet.

Can you use “soap”? Go with dish detergent. Soap tends to leave a residue, while dish detergents, composed of synthetic compounds, are “free-rinsing.” Using a mild dish detergent breaks some of the bonds in the fat on the pan’s surface, and strips away a bit of the seasoning, but tends to rinse off, and really won’t cause irreparable harm. Still, using detergent is not necessary.

Mistake 3: You’re Not Heat Drying

One of the biggest mistakes people make is not heat-drying their cast iron skillets. Letting them drip dry, or wiping them with a towel is not enough. Just dry the pan on a burner set to low heat until all the water has evaporated (just don’t forget it’s on the stove!). This also sterilizes the surface. Leaving water in the skillet can lead to rust. And while rust isn’t the end of the world (if you catch it in time, you can clean it off with cooking oil and a cloth), you don’t want to leave the pan to rust to the point where you have to strip it and totally re-season.

Mistake 4: You’re Not Maintaining The Surface

Taking the time to coat the pan with oil after heat drying is essential in maintaining the seasoning layer and keeping your skillet non-stick. To keep the surface working for you, rather than against you, it’s important to do the maintenance. Remember, cast iron loves fat, and keeping the surface clean, smooth, and well-oiled is like moisturizing your skin.

If you need to restore the surface, sometimes the best option is to heat the pan to very hot— in your self-cleaning oven or outside on the grill—and burn off all the build-up.

  • Clean the pan of any excess buildup on the outside using a stiff wire brush.
  • Remove all oven racks except one for the pan positioned in the center of the rack on the bottom rung.
  • Turn on the exhaust fan or have a window open as it can get rather smelly (a self-cleaning oven uses high heat to combat last Thanksgiving’s gravy spills and other nasty build-ups).
  • Turn the skillet upside down. If doing more than one, the pans shouldn’t touch.
  • Close it, lock it, and set the timer. 3-4 hours. Keep in mind most self-cleaning cycles are about 5 hours so you’ll have to set another timer.
  • Let both oven and pan cool before handling.
  • All that will be left is some black ash on the bottom of the oven that can be swept up.

This will remove the beneficial seasoning layers too, so you’ll need to re-season from scratch. To do this, let the pan cool until you can handle it, coat with oil, and bake it upside down in the center of a 400ºF oven for an hour. It helps to place some aluminum foil underneath to catch any drips.

Mistake 5: You’re Using It For The Wrong Foods

Cast iron is a reactive metal, and acids like vinegar, lemon juice, or wine will leach iron ions into your food. Cooks are divided on whether iron from a skillet has health benefits, but regardless of which camp you’re in, know that it will alter the flavor of foods. And while a well-maintained, well-seasoned skillet can usually handle some acidic foods, you should be careful of anything that strips off your seasoning. Boiling water in your skillet, for example, lifts much of the seasoning out of the pores in the metal and leaves it susceptible to rust. So if you plan on deglazing your pan with wine, just be sure you start cooking with a nice shiny heavily-seasoned skillet. The only foods that you should be dry-roasting in your skillet without adding that extra layer of fat, are things like nuts, and tortillas or flatbreads.

Cast iron is economical, versatile, and nearly indestructible. With some easy care and maintenance in cleaning and use, your skillet will last a lifetime so you can pass it along as a keepsake to the future generation of cooks in your family.