by Aly Walansky
The reality of home kitchens often means creating an environment where limited space and a few carefully selected pieces of cookware are able to keep a whole family happy and well-fed. The best way to make this happen is to choose cookware that can get all sorts of different jobs done, yet isn’t too complicated or space-consuming.
A roasting pan can be one of those invaluable tools, whether roasting a chicken and some root vegetables for a Sunday dinner or even preparing a hearty lasagna or casserole. Ultimately, when thinking beyond the confines of traditional holiday roasts, the possibilities are truly limitless.
Made In’s Carbon Steel Roasting Pan has already gotten its share of awards. In fact, it was named as one of The Kitchn's most essential tools and is made of 2mm thick carbon steel by multi-generational craftspeople in France.
While this roasting pan was originally planned to be a seasonal product (so many people associate roasting pans with holiday turkeys!), it was the most requested item when it was sold out and has become a year-round favorite. This is a pan that can get a lot of work done in all sorts of kitchen situations, is oven safe up to 1200 degrees, and is induction compatible. It also has high walls, which can transmit heat across the food in a more effective way. It’s sturdy (it can hold as much as a 12-pound turkey), but can be limitless in its possibilities and needs it can meet, from searing those roasts on the stovetop to then finishing in the oven.
“Roasting pans are the closest piece of cookware similar to restaurant ‘hotel pans’, the deep, metal containers used for big batch cooking,” said Clare Langan, a chef, and culinary expert.
Keeping that in mind, they are endlessly versatile beyond your Thanksgiving turkey.
Baking and Desserts
If baking is your thing, chances are at some point you have stumbled across a recipe calling for a water bath. “A lot of custard, soufflé, and cheesecake preparations insist on this steamy cooking method,” said Langan. A roasting pan filled with water is the ideal place for your ramekins of crème brulee. Covered with foil and baked in a low oven, it works beautifully for those silky, smooth desserts.
When people think of braising, it’s usually in a Dutch Oven. But roasting pans are another great option. “They offer more space for your short ribs, beef shanks, and pork shoulder roasts. More space = faster, more even cooking,” said Langan.
The surface area of a roasting pan makes it ideal for double batches of just about anything you would bake in a 9x13” pan. That can work for enchiladas, baked pasta dishes, pot pies, or even bar cookies and brownies. Think of this as a new strategy for meal prep and planning: eat some now and freeze the rest for later.
One-pot cooking techniques have grown with popularity over the years, as it’s a great way to get more done with less time and less cleanup. That’s not just the case with big family dinners, but with any meal of the day - including breakfast! “One of my favorite breakfast dishes is potato hash with sunny side up eggs,” said Justin Diglia, Divisional Executive Chef at Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab“Simply dice some of your favorite potatoes. Toss the potatoes, onions, and garlic in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and some of your favorite herbs. Arrange the potatoes in your roasting pan and cook until tender. Remove from the oven and crack fresh eggs over the hot potatoes. Return to the oven and cook until the desired doneness of your eggs,” said Diglia. Simply garnish with some chopped bacon, scallions, and fresh tomatoes.
It's very easy to forget about our large roasting pans at home especially if they're tucked away and normally don't get used until certain times of the year. But one great way to utilize this pan is roasting some of the larger squashes that come into season during the fall. “From butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash or even pumpkin for pies, these roasting pans are perfect,” said Diglia. They all fit and cook evenly without the need to use several sheet trays, which take up all your oven racks.
The roasting pan is a valuable kitchen asset year-round, especially for prime rib or for slow-roasted pork butts. “I usually do everything in the pan, so I’ll put my potatoes or other veggies, seasonal herbs, etc. in there and time everything accordingly,” said Adam Rosenblum, Executive Chef and Managing Partner of Causwells in San Francisco. Doing it this way makes cleanup a lot easier and it gives everything a bit more flavor
For the prime rib, Rosenblum makes a rub of Dijon mustard, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, chopped fresh rosemary, salt & pepper. “I make a sort of paste and rub it all over the outside of the meat, and then roast it in the pan,” said Rosenblum.
Roasted meats are best when supplemented with the addition of seasonal sides such as grilled or fresh stone fruit, or charred corn on the cob. Heartier options like potatoes, carrots, or other roasted root vegetables are great for fall, as well.
Take the Plunge
When space is at a premium, a lot of thought has to go into which kitchen items are really needed. But roasting pans don’t take up a lot of room and can be a beautiful addition to a home cook’s repertoire. Whether roasting, braising, or making a casserole, it’s time to fall in love. And, yes, it’ll also be great come Thanksgiving turkey time!