Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook – Review

By Wendythomas @wendyenthomas

Book Review – Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook – recipes for the best pan in your kitchen by Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne.

cast iron cookbook
As a chicken owner (even though I don’t eat our chickens) I have always had this nagging feeling that I should be proficient with a cast iron pan. Cooking with such a pan seems … so very right.

Alas, it was my lack of knowledge that has always kept me from trying. How does it work? I’ve heard the pan needs treatment, how do I do this? Can you really put it in a modern oven?

So when I was sent a copy of Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook – recipes for the best pan in your kitchen by Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne to review, I was actually very excited to try out a “real” cast iron skillet recipe.

First things first, our pan was rusty (I had kept it -although not in good care- hoping that someday it might be used.) Following the directions in the book, my husband, Marc (who had taken over this project because *he* had always wanted to cook with a cast iron skillet) scrubbed the pan with a nylon scrubber and soap, repeated until clean, coated with olive oil and then let it cook in the oven.

Note: I appreciate the author’s warning that the pan would smoke. That it did and if I hadn’t been aware of that, I might have been tempted to stop our little experiment.

For the recipe, Marc chose “Fennel-seared Pork Tenderloin with Blackberry Sauce.” All right, I thought, although I do eat pork, I’m not the biggest fan of tenderloin, too often it turns out to be nothing more than dry, white hockey pucks on the plate, but I was willing to suspend my prejudices in the name of experimentation and review.

This pork tenderloin turned out the be anything but a dry hockey puck. Between the roasted fennel seeds (sounds like a lot of work but it really wasn’t) searing the pork *before* baking it, and then making the blackberry sauce on the side, this dish was absolute heaven.


Without trying to be cliché-ish, it pretty much melted in your mouth and the flavor was so rich, that a few small pieces were more than enough to satiate.

At the dinner table the statement “It tastes like it would be fancy restaurant food” was heard again and again, which, I’m afraid,  says as much about the recipe as it does about how I feed my children.

Without reservation, I can say that if this is typical of how cast iron food tastes, then these authors have made a believer out of me.

Cast Iron Cooking (and this is actually the 2nd Edition) features 95 recipes including all-time favorites (like cornbread, beans, and fried chicken, as well as more enticing recipes like Chicken with Calvados (apple brandy) and cream, and Mussels, prawn, and halibut in coconut curry sauce.

It’s an amazing book which has made me a bona fide Cast Iron skillet user.  Our copy, already marked from ingredients – the sign of a great cookbook – is going right on the shelf in our kitchen near our cast iron pan where it belongs.


If you go over to the amazon link you can preview the first 15 pages of this cookbook and can try out a few recipes, yourself. If you do, let me know how it goes.

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at [email protected]

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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