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When the weather turns chilly and grilling season is all but a distant memory, turn to the cast-iron pan to keep things hot! We’ve gathered up eight of our favorite recipes for your treasured heirloom (or new kitchen addition) that will prove beyond doubt why this tool is one of the best in your culinary arsenal.

Recipe: Cast-Iron Pork Tenderloin With Blackberry Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

This is one of my go-to dishes whenever blackberries are in season. This recipe always takes me back to those times, with its sweet, tangy barbecue sauce paired with this juicy, tender pork tenderloin.

Photo: Helene DuJardin
Swap out the crab in your cakes for hearty trout. (Photo: Helene DuJardin.)

Recipe: Trout Cakes With Basil Vinaigrette Recipe

You can trust a cookbook from the Lodge Company as much as its beautifully seasoned and totally indestructible cast-iron cookware. This hefty book holds 200 Dutch oven, skillet and grill pan recipes from chefs across the country. Renew your dedication to the sturdiest pan in the kitchen with a few of these curated dishes, like these crispy, savory fried trout cakes.

These mushrooms could give that steak a run for its money. (Photo: Evan Sung.)
These mushrooms could give that steak a run for its money. (Photo: Evan Sung.)

Recipe: Crispy-Bottomed Oyster Mushroom Steaks With Chimichurri Sauce

The best steak you’ll ever have may just be a mushroom. But not just any mushroom: An oversize cluster of the oyster variety that crisps up in the pan, developing a deep brown crust and undeniable meatiness that just might have you convinced, if only for a moment, that you’re eating a hunk of meat instead of a mycological miracle.

Add some tanginess to your chicken breast with some feta.
Add some tanginess to your chicken breast with feta.

Recipe: Lemon-Oregano Roasted Chicken With Broiled Feta

My sister Ashley and I were fanatics for feta cheese — a by-product of Mama’s nightly Greek salads — so this dish, inspired by one of my Uncle Al’s, was always a useful way to get us out of the same ole chicken dinner routine. Roasting chicken breasts with the skin on and bone in yields a moist, delicious result every time. The keys to success are using a heavy-bottomed cast-iron pan and allowing the heat to crisp up the skin without moving the chicken about during the searing process.

Photo: Peter Frank Edwards
Cornbread, like barbecue, can be the subject of great debate among Southerners. (Photo: Peter Frank Edwards.)

Recipe: Sean Brock’s Cast Iron Cornbread

My cornbread has no flour and no sugar. It has the tang of good buttermilk and a little smoke from Allan Benton’s smokehouse bacon. You’ve got to cook the cornbread just before you want to eat it, in a black skillet, with plenty of smoking-hot grease. That is the secret to a golden, crunchy exterior. Use very high heat, so hot that the batter screeches as it hits the pan. It’s a deceptively simple process, but practice makes perfect, which may be why many Southerners make cornbread every single day.

Photo: Helene DuJardin
Meat and potatoes never looked so good. (Photo: Helene DuJardin.)

Recipe: Lamb Chops With Garlic-Mint Sauce And Cauliflower Mash

You can trust a cookbook from the Lodge Company as much as its beautifully seasoned and totally indestructible cast-iron cookware. This hefty book holds 200 Dutch oven, skillet and grill pan recipes from chefs across the country. Renew your dedication to the sturdiest pan in the kitchen with a few of these dishes, like these juicy lamb chops with cauliflower mash.

provoleta recipe
Ooey gooey cheese that you can’t say no to.

Recipe: Provoleta

If you’re looking for traditional Argentine food, odds are you’ll find steak and provoleta on the menu. Provoleta is an appetizer or side dish of simple seared and melted provolone cheese, seasoned with herbs and spiced and served with plenty of bread for dipping. It’s fondue at its least pretentious, and it’s a great reason to break out the cast-iron skillet (which helps keep the cheese warm and melty). We borrowed this recipe from chef Victor Albisu of Washington, D.C.’s South American grill, Del Campo.

crispchicken
Achieving perfect crispy skin on cast-iron skillet chicken is easier than you think. You’ll just need another skillet.

Recipe: Crisp Chicken With Potato Salad And Anchovy Vinaigrette

Only Septime chef Bertrand Grébaut can make chicken salad taste like a groovy improvisation instead of a safe dish. The boneless thigh meat is moist, crunchy — it develops crackling skin in a cast-iron pan — and rousing when tumbled with anchovy-spiked potatoes. The kicker: a dollop of fromage blanc (or yogurt), plus a mix of raw and sautéed greens on the plate.