I’ve had a long love affair with cast-iron pans — from the vintage to the modern. And naturally, every time the temperature drops here on the East Coast my mind immediately turns to slow-cooked food, comfort foods, cast iron dishes and stews. These cooking daydreams were taken one step further when I found a company that combines my love for slow-cooked food, pizza and cast-iron pans by making a cast-iron casserole dish with a capacity of 3.2 liters! I was immediately inspired to make a Moroccan Chicken Tagine, which bubbled beautifully in my pizza oven for hours until the meat was falling off the bone.
Once you get past the sheer weight of these babies, you can truly begin to appreciate their essence. Cast-iron pans are steeped in history and date all the way back to China in the fourth century B.C, although before it was used as a cooking material, the primary use for cast-iron was to make weapons. Cast-iron pans have been the tool of choice for chefs for decades, due to their durability and excellent heat retention — not to mention that they are one of the only pans that add nutritional benefit to a dish. When you cook, these pans release small amounts of iron into the food, which can help combat iron deficiencies. So if you’re feeling a little bit of the winter chill and looking for some cooking inspiration, check out some of these cast iron dishes to inspire you!