Q & A with cookbook author Jackie Freeman
What recipe would you recommend as a first to try for a cast iron skillet novice?
I wrote this book with the intention that almost every recipe is easy — and delicious — for every skill level. Whether you're a cast-iron novice or pro, I wanted accessible recipes for every cook.
That being said, if you're just dipping your culinary toes in the cast-iron waters, I recommend low-prep meals like Pan-Seared Gnocchi With Spinach and White Beans; Baked Cod With Artichokes, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Olives; Easy Chicken Enchilada Skillet; and Reuben Dutch Baby.
Do you have a go-to recipe in this book?
Ooh, that's like picking a favorite child! They are all special and delicious in their own way. But, I will say, my go-to comfort food on a weeknight is the Pasta e Ceci — Italian Pasta and Chickpea Stew — or the Meatballs With Caramelized Onions and Pine Nut Lemon Rice.
What is your family’s favorite recipe?
The kids are big fans of the Pork Ramen With Bamboo and Mushrooms, though, they *do* pick around both the bamboo and mushrooms, and the Cheeseburger Macaroni.
What is a common mistake people make when learning to cook with a cast iron skillet?
The biggest mistake is that folks think cooking with cast iron is scary or you need specialized knowledge or skills to use your skillet! It is actually a very forgiving cookware to work with, especially when it is well-seasoned.
The second biggest mistake is not taking the time to dry out your clean skillet over low heat and give it a little dab of oil before storing.
What is your No. 1 tip for cooking with cast iron?
Have fun and don't be intimidated! This is one of those kitchen items that will literally last a lifetime — and then some! — so use your cast iron often for all kinds of dishes. So, build a good relationship with your skillet and it will treat you well for a lifetime of meals to come.
And, at the risk of repeating myself: Don't forget to properly dry and season your skillet each and every time after use, before storing it until you are ready to cook with it again.
Now to the recipes: Easy Chicken Enchilada Skillet