January, the month after December when holiday festivities had you running every which way but loose. Party over here, party over there, everywhere a party. So, now things have settled down a bit except Super Bowl weekend in a few weeks, let’s talk about a pan you probably have used in one way or another. Maybe you used one similar during Thanksgiving or Christmas. I’m talking about the infamous Roasting Pans. You probably remember running up in the attic, the basement, maybe the pantry for a pan made of dark-speckled enamel, deep with a domed lid. I’m talking about the kitchen essential, every kitchen should have one, Roasting Pan.
When describing dark-speckled enamel roasting pans, you probably saw you grandmother use one like this. So, first of all, let’s talk about choosing the right roasting pans to fit your needs.
Seems like most cooks only think about roasting pans around Thanksgiving and that’s probably why yu bought one in the first place. But now I will tell you why you need good roasting pans throughout the year especially since the Super Bowl is coming up.
Buy a high quality pan you’ll use for more than a turkey and to make cooking a better experience with good equipment. Yes, it’s a big decision and investment to put out big money but once you cook in high quality, you’ll see the difference in one costing $20.00 compared to one costing $100.00. Cleanup alone in a quality pan is payback enough.
A roasting pans size does matter. Food should fit in your pan comfortably without contact with sides of pan. There should be ample air circulation around food to allow browning during cooking. Using too large a pan will cause juices to burn because too much surface is exposed. Juices should pool up which allows you to add vegetables and herbs to fill empty space in your pan.
Roasting Pans should be no more than three to four inches in-depth, therefore avoiding hot splashes or being able to do water baths. And let’s not forget about shape because it’s important, too. Rectangle roasting pans are my favorite and I find most often effective at meeting my cooking needs. I do own a dark-speckled oval pan like my granny owned. This pan is ideal for roast pork and sauerkraut or other casserole type dishes. look for rectangle shapes with rounded corners not square. It makes for easy cleanup and gives you the ability to whisk gravies and sauces in your pan.
Measure your oven’s dimensions to ensure the pan you purchased will fit in your oven properly. Do this first! Labels on pans can be misleading and the handles being the biggest issue. Make sure holding the pan is comfortable.
Choose heavy roasting pans made of stainless steel or copper. Aluminum warps easily and enamel cast iron is heavy and hard to handle for some.Anodized aluminum is dark and can be hard to determine doneness by sight. Racks are optional so you be the judge. I own a Calphalon Anodized Aluminum pan and it’s my favorite. It depends what I’m roasting should I use my rack or not. I actually use vegetables or citrus as abed for roasting meats. Once you purchase good quality roasting pans, use them more than at Thanksgiving. Well designed and crafted pans will allow you to roast and braise meats, poultry, fish, make gravy and sauces, roast vegetables, large batches of lasagna, enchiladas, cobblers and water baths for puddings, custards, and souffles.
In conclusion, think about how you cook and what specific features your roasting pans should have. I suggest purchasing two different size pans for versatility. Remember non-stick is not an advantage as you will not have the ability to deglaze a pan for sauces. Visit your local cookware stores to see the many versions of Roasting Pans. I know you’ll make a great purchase and use your pans for years to come, preparing a variety of delicious meals for your family and friends.