Cast iron is a great cooking medium. Not only does it retain heat and heat evenly, in most cases it's a perfect canvas for one-pot meals. Best of all, you can serve right from the pan. Now who ever complained about fewer dishes?
Skillet Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya Recipe
Jambalaya is a Creole/Cajun dish designed to make use of whatever was on hand. If shrimp were in your fishing creel, in the pot they would go. If leftover ham was in the pantry, that ended up in the cooking pot as well. In fact, the name "jambalaya" comes from the French word for ham which is jambon. Because this dish contains tomatoes, some people prefer to cook it in an enameled cast iron pan so the acid in the tomatoes doesn't react with the iron producing a metallic taste. There are no ill effects from this so the choice is yours. Use a deep-dish skillet for this dish.
Yield: 6 servings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound smoked, fully cooked andouille or Polish sausage, sliced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 medium diced onion
- 1 rib diced celery
- 1 stemmed, seeded and diced green bell pepper
- 1 stemmed, seeded and diced red bell pepper
- 1 cup seeded and diced fresh tomatoes or 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 3 minced garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, more or less to taste
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups rinsed and drained long-grain rice
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 to 4 dashes hot sauce, optional
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions, divided
- 1 pound (20-24 count) deveined, rinsed, patted dry tail-on raw shrimp
- Heat skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the oil and sausage slices, sautéing to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
- If necessary, add butter to the pan and sauté the onion, celery and peppers until translucent, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add diced tomatoes, garlic, cayenne, oregano, thyme and tomato paste, mixing well. Add chicken stock and bring to a full boil. Stir in the rinsed and drained rice and return the sausage to the pan. Reduce heat.
- Add bay leaf, salt, black pepper and optional hot sauce, and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
- Add half of the green onions and the shrimp, stirring well. Cover pot, remove from heat and let the shrimp steam for about 15 minutes until pink and fully cooked.
- Serve garnished with remaining green onions. Pass hot sauce at table, if desired.
Skillet Chicken and Biscuits Recipe
Chicken and biscuits never had it so good. A cast iron skillet lets you nestle the biscuits close together so they sop up all that good gravy while they cook. Essentially, this is chicken stew with dumplings on top. A deli rotisserie chicken works well and a biscuit mix makes things a snap. Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits are awesome. Use a 10-inch skillet.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- 2 cups diced cooked chicken (white and dark or all white)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups hot chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper or more to taste
- 1/4 cup full-fat sour cream
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
- Biscuit dough from scratch or a mix to yield 8 to 9 biscuits
- 1 large egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
- Melt butter in a skillet set over medium-low heat and sauté onions until translucent and beginning to caramelize, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the flour, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes to make a roux. Pour the hot chicken stock into the onion-flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Simmer over low heat for about 1 minute, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the pan with a wooden spoon, until thick.
- Add salt, pepper, sour cream and milk. Add the diced cooked chicken, carrots and peas, and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer while you make the biscuits.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Make the biscuits from scratch or a mix and scoop 8 to 9 biscuits on top of the chicken mixture. Brush egg wash mixture on top of biscuits.
- If you are worried about messing your oven, place skillet on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips. But, for a better bake, the skillet should be in direct contact with the oven rack. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes until biscuits are brown or for the recommended time on the package mix. Chicken mixture should be bubbling.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes. Place the skillet on a trivet on the dining table accompanied by a green salad, if desired, and let everyone serve himself.
Skillet-Roasted Turkey Roulade Recipe
A cast iron skillet is the perfect medium if you want your turkey to have a crisp brown crust. The even heating (no hot spots) of cast iron means every part of the breast will cook at the same temperature. Just remember to heat your skillet before searing the roulade.
You will need a 12- to 14-inch cast iron skillet. After searing, this is finished in the oven. Don't save this recipe for the holidays. With the year-round availability of turkey, you can make this easy, delicious roast any time.
Yield: 6 servings
For the turkey:
- 1 (4 1/2- to 5-pound) whole boneless, skin-on, butterflied turkey breast (both sides) thawed, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- Butcher's twine
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil like canola or vegetable
For the stuffing:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small finely chopped onion
- 1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
- 2 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dark raisins or sweetened dried cranberries
- Zest of 1 orange
- Pinch ground cloves
- Salt and pepper
For the mirepoix:
- 1 large peeled and diced carrot
- 1 large peeled and diced onion
- 1 diced rib celery
For the herb butter:
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon sweet, spicy or smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon packed light-brown sugar
For the gravy:
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 1/4 cups room-temperature chicken broth
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet. Add 1 small finely chopped onion and sauté about 10 minutes or until soft.
- In a medium bowl, place breadcrumbs, finely chopped apples, raisins or dried cranberries, orange zest, and cloves. Add sautéed onion and mix thoroughly. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper. If the stuffing seems dry, moisten with a bit of orange juice or milk. If too loose, add more breadcrumbs. Set aside.
Herb Butter Directions
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 6 tablespoons butter and add sage, thyme, paprika, and sugar.
- Mix well and set aside.
Assemble the Turkey Roulade
- Place the thawed, rinsed and patted dry butterflied turkey breast skin side down on a piece of parchment paper or cutting board. If necessary, pound the meat very lightly so the meat is all of the same thickness. Season the entire surface of the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper.
- Evenly spread the stuffing 1/2-inch thick over the meat, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides. If you have leftover stuffing, place it in a greased baking pan and bake it for 30 minutes.
- Beginning at one long side end, roll the breast like a jellyroll, tucking in any stray stuffing. Using butcher's twine, firmly tie the roast into a compact cylinder every 2 inches down the length of the roll. Let the roll come to room temperature.
Sear the Turkey Roulade
- Heat a 12- to 14-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add 1 tablespoon oil. Carefully place turkey roulade seam side down in the oil.
- Brown on all sides until golden, carefully turning the roll, for about 12 minutes. Remove the turkey roll to a plate.
Add Mirepoix and Roast the Turkey Roulade
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the mirepoix vegetables (carrot, onion and celery) to the skillet. Place the seared turkey roll on top of the vegetables.
- Baste turkey roll liberally with some of the herb butter. Place skillet in the oven and roast, basting occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer registers 160 degrees. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board to rest and loosely cover with aluminum foil.
Make the Gravy
- Add wine to the same skillet the turkey was roasted in and set on the stovetop over high heat. Cook until wine has almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add 1 cup chicken broth and simmer until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Skim any fat from the surface.
- Place a small saucepan over high heat and strain the liquid from the skillet into it, discarding solids. In a measuring cup, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup room-temperature chicken broth and cornstarch. Then pour it into the saucepan and whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil, season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.
Serve the Turkey
Arrange slices of the rested and sliced turkey on a platter. Pass the gravy at table.
To Infinity and Beyond!
There really isn't much of anything that can't be cooked in one cast iron pan or another. Think outside the entrée box and try roasting veggies, making breakfast frittatas and dessert. Just think, if you can cook pancakes on a stovetop cast iron pan, you can cook a pie or cake in one. Try it!