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© 2015 Shanna Lea
It’s easy to love cast iron skillets, especially those inherited from a beloved grandmother or found at a bustling flea market. Even when purchased new, the origin of these durable and dependable skillets doesn’t matter because once one makes its way into your home, it becomes a treasured kitchen staple for cooking.
The beauty of cast iron doesn’t end there, as there are many affordable cast iron pieces that are just as functional and necessary as your favorite skillet.
Here are 4 other great cast iron cookware pieces:
One of my favorite pieces of cast iron cookware is the Dutch Oven. There are many choices available in a wide range of sizes, colors and prices. My favorite is still the rustic ‘campfire’ type that I can use on top of the stove, in the oven or nestled in the coals of a fire pit. It’s rugged and durable and I like to have several sizes to work with. Choose the flat bottom type for stove and oven cooking. But if you are going to do a lot of campfire cooking, I recommend the type with legs (and a flanged lid to hold coals) , so you can better distribute the heat of the coals under and on top of the Dutch oven.
There are also designer styles made of enamel that come in a wide range of beautiful colors available. The quality is in the cast iron, not the color, so choose a piece that works best for what you are going to use it for.
Choose a Dutch oven that is heavy, with sturdy handles and a tight fitting cast iron or heavy glass lid. If you are going to use it in a fire pit or campfire, be sure the lid is also cast iron. Some of the most delicious meals I’ve made were stews, soups and roasts in the Dutch oven over campfire coals. This will be one of your most used cookware pieces once you get started using it.
Reversible Grill/Griddle Combo
Another versatile piece of cast iron is the grill/griddle combo. This piece is easy and fun to cook with, just heat up your cast iron griddle and fry up crispy bacon, golden brown pancakes and perfectly done eggs without having to wash several pans or mess around with a bunch of specialty appliances. Plus, the grill side makes those nice grill marks that makes food look so delicious and makes it seem to taste better, too.
Muffin and Loaf Pans
The best cornbread is made in a cast iron muffin pan or skillet where the gold crust forms around the outside of the pan. In addition to cornbread, you can use the cast iron muffin pans for all sorts of muffins and other individual serving size dishes. Even bread tastes better baked in the cast iron loaf pan and comes out with consistently golden brown crust with no scorched bottoms.
Fajita Serving Platters
This is my most used cast iron—the fajita platter. I use mine for eggs, bacon and even quick toast slices of bread on it with just a little butter.
To re-create that restaurant-style sizzle when your fajita or steak comes to the table, just heat the platters in a hot oven and when your meal is ready to serve, carefully pull the platters from the oven and plate them up for that mouth-watering sizzle everyone loves.
You can also find fajita platters with heat-resistant carriers, so all you have to worry about is making enough food for everyone! Besides the appealing presentation of the food you get from these platters, they keep your food warmer longer. This is really nice when you are cooking and eating outdoors. No more chilled plates on the picnic table! Fajita skillets make picnics fun and practical.
Cast Iron Sets Complete Your Kitchen
A good set of cast iron skillets is a great start for every kitchen, and once your basic skillets are seasoned just right, you’ll want to expand into other cast iron cookware. And don’t forget to add a stainless steel chainmail scrubber to help clean your cast iron.
These four versatile pieces will open a new world of cast iron cooking to your cooking skills. From roasts to soups to the lazy weekend morning breakfast extravaganza, cast iron cookware does it all!