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5 Comfort-Food Dishes to Make in Your Cast Iron Skillet

Yes, your cast iron skillet is genius for the crispiest fried chicken and baking fluff-tastic biscuits, but don't pigeonhole it. This old-school cooking vessel also works wonders for so many other comfort-food dishes, from pot pie to pizza, adding an extra crispy texture because of the pan's power to conduct heat evenly. Here are 5 brilliant ways to use your cast iron to warm up your winter nights. Pro tip: The new generation of cast iron skillets from made-in-the-USA Lodge do not require seasoning or extra care when washing up.

1) Puff Pastry Roast Beef Pot Pie

Tough stew meat turns fork-tender when milk-braised in the skillet. That's right, milk. It's been used as a natural tenderizer for meats for many years in Italy, and those cooks know about how to make some pretty delicious food. Puff pastry as a crust is a brilliant shortcut instead of rolling your own, especially if you follow these easy tips for using this amazing product.

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Photo by RusticJoyfylFood

2) Deep Dish Cast Iron Pizza

Move over, Chicago! We've got a massively satisfying pie that's at home from coast-to-coast. This preparation is loaded with meat, but the crust is substantial enough to hold it all. You might never go back to baking on the pizza stone again! Pro tip: If serving straight from the pan, be sure and slip an oven mitt over the handle so nobody accidentally gets a searing sensation with supper.

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Photo via Meredith Publishing

3) Cheesy Bacon Jalapeno Cornbread

Know what makes cornbread even more satisfying? When you add in the wicked good combo of cheese, crispy bacon and fiery bits of jalapeno, all showing up like superstars against the contrasting crunchy crust created by the cast iron. Serve alongside your favorite chili or dunk a slice in a bowl of Southern collard greens for a truly memorable meal. Good to know: A cast iron skillet requires very little oil to make its surface non-stick.

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Photo by ReneePaj

4) Cast Iron Skillet-braised Brussels Sprouts

Don't let the oven have all the fun when it comes to creating cast iron cooking magic. This recipe turns the crazy popular cruciferous veggie into sweet bites because the skillet caramelizes the sugars in those sprouts that look like mini cabbages. If you're a vegetarian, skipping the bacon is not a deal breaker for creating a side your family's going to make disappear.

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Photo by LilSnoo

5) Chef John's Tamale Pie

A lot like a shepherd's pie, this one-pan meal — great for brunch as well as a crowd pleasing dinner — this offers a wham-bam dose of spicy meat topped by a soothing cornmeal crust. Serve this easy casserole with a Michelada, the coolest beer cocktail around, no matter what the season.

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Photo via Meredith Publishing

More Fun with Cast Iron

About Leslie Kelly

Always hungry to learn, never had my fill of oysters, Memphis dry rub ribs, wild salmon, chocolate chip cookies or a well-rolled lumpia. Washington state wine lover, bourbon fan. Totally obsessed with brunch!