Open up whatever drawer you keep your trivets and hot pads in and count them up. Count your trivets. Count your hot pads. How many do you have? I have four. Usually that is enough.
Now count how many trivets and hot pads you have that would accommodate a very large, very heavy cooking vessel. I have none. In the past, I have often just set two trivets (or hot pads) side by side. But sometimes all four of my trivets/hot pads are in use. What’s a girl to do?
“Just use some kitchen towels,” you might say. That’s a good way to scorch a kitchen towel. Instead of reaching for fabric, reach for something sturdy, something elevated, something made of metal. Reach for a muffin tin (then flip it over).
An upside down muffin tin makes an excellent trivet. It is designed to go in the oven (where it’s hot), so you don’t have to worry about a hot casserole dish damaging it in any way. It’s also very sturdy, and can hold your heaviest enameled cast iron Dutch oven without warping. The inverted cups elevate your dish off the table while allowing air flow underneath, cooling the bottom of your very hot dish. (What about a wire rack? Those work well with large, light dishes, but can sag under cast iron, which may lead to the cast iron making contact with your table, which could lead to scorching and recriminations.)
The best part is, I bet you already have a muffin tin in your cupboard. I barely use mine for baking but I will never get rid of it, on the off chance that I will need to bake cupcakes, or back corn muffins, or—now—find myself in need of a big-ass trivet.