I Inherited a Roasting Pan - What Do I Do With It?

As part of my inheritance from my recently deceased mother/my father unburdening himself of stuff before he moves in with my sister I have become the new owner of a roasting pan. You know, one of those big, enamel-over-steel things with a lid?

Looking for suggestions on what to do with this new marvel.

Keep in mind I normally cook just for two people, neither of us with huge appetites.

This is my favorite thing to use my roasting pan for lately.

Purchase 6 turkey drumsticks (about $6). Take some rosemary or thyme and put about 1 sprig under the skin of each.

Roast for about 90 minutes at 425. Check for doneness.

Strip meat from bones. Eat some of the crispy, crunchy bits of skin, because they are delicious. Shred meat into soup-sized pieces and freeze in approximately 1-cup servings.

Deglaze the pan and save the liquid to add to stock.

Take the bones and skin and pan drippings and make stock. Adding other stock ingredients like onions, carrots, bay leaves, etc. is optional.

You can probably get about 12 cups of broth and 6+ cups of shredded turkey from this, which makes great soup, about 12 servings worth. Add noodles, rice, veggies, dumplings, whatever else you would typically like in soup.

Interesting. How does one deglaze the pan?

I assume one could also use chicken drumstick as well?

Deglazing the pan is just putting some water in (or white wine if you’re feeling fancy or have some extra), putting the pan over the burner, and scraping off the flavorful crust. The result is kind of a slurry. It looks gross, but adds good flavor to the broth. Any type of meat you roast, you can deglaze and use the results to make gravy.

You could use chicken legs or thighs. Probably about twice as many. Chicken breasts are also good, and have the advantage of giving you white meat for the soup, but they are pricier. I like the turkey legs because they are a good balance of value + not having to pick too much meat off of a bunch of little legs. My grocery store sells roasted turkey breasts in the deli, so they usually have packs of turkey legs available in the meat department.

Any kind of slow-cooking stew will work well if the steel/iron is thick (spreads the heat more evenly).

Slowly cook some chopped onion and garlic in some oil in the enamel pan until the union is turning transparent. Meanwhile brown cubed slow-cooking beef on medium-hot to hot fire in a frying pan in a couple of spoons of fat (it’s important that each piece has some space or they won’t brown - when in doubt, fry smaller portions). Dump the browned beef cubes in the enamel pan. Add a bottle of (good, dark) beer and maybe a large chopped carrot. Stew for at least 3 hours on the lowest heat with the lid on (count on 4 hours) add mustard, sugar and salt to taste. Eat with mashed potatoes and some sweatish vegetables like red cabbage cooked with vinegar and sugar.

edit: tex-mex chilis work well too, in more-or-less the same way.

the recipe I posted probably works best if you cook fairly large amounts (I cook about a kilo of beef at least when I make it). It’ll keep for a couple of days in the fridge, and more if you freeze it. You can add less beer if you make small amounts, but you’d probably have to stir the beef occasionally to prevent it from burning.

You’ve seen some pretty good suggestions.

However, I want to say something. Cooking is not hard. It’s easy to follow a few simple steps to make a great meal that you will enjoy. Don’t worry about it.

Now that you have a good roasting pan, well, roast something in it.

If you don’t have meat thermometer, get one. That way, you won’t poison yourself or your loved ones. Most come with a cover that tells you how well the meat should be done to be safe.

To make it easy, go to the market and buy a whole chicken. Take the gross stuff out (I’m trying to be helpful here. I don’t mean that stuff is actually gross) that are usually in the cavity of the bird. Sprinkle it with salt, pepper and paprika. Take a hand full of onions, garlic and celery and stuff it in the cavity. The garlic can be whole or peeled. Put it breast side down into the pan and pop it in the oven.

Roast it for the recommended time and the correct temperature, and hey, you’re a cook. Make sure it has reached the right temperature for serving by inserting your thermometer into the breast or thigh to make sure it’s cooked through.

If you want a crisper skin, rub it down with butter before applying the spices. Also, I don’t know how deep your pan is, but you may want to turn it about 10 minutes before it’s done.

OK, this may be an entirely dumb question, but I’ve never used a roasting pan before. Does one simply put the meat down onto the bottom, or is there some kind of preparation involved to make sure it doesn’t burn to the bottom? Does one grease the pan, or add broth, or what?

Also, any ideas for roasting vegetables? We frequently eat meatless meals, I’m wondering if I can use this for vegees, too.

Yes, I know :slight_smile:

You seem to have the impression I’m new to cooking. I’m not. It’s just that I’ve never owned a roasting pan before. Most of my cooking is on the stove top as stir fries or sautes, or soup/stew, or involves baking bread.

For meats, particularly poultry, I like using a rack in the bottom of the pan. My roasting pan came with one that fit in it - I suspect that you should be able to find an oval rack at Bed, Bath and Beyond or someplace like that. The rack keeps the bird off the bottom of the pan so the skin on the bottom side of the bird doesn’t get fatty and mushy.

If you don’t have a rack, place quartered onions, carrots, celery, or other hearty root or root-like vegetables on the bottom of the pan, and then place the item to be roasted on top. Depending on the vegetables you then have either a yummy roasted side dish, or at least flavoring to the juices in the pan, which will then become gravy/sauce.

As for roasting vegetables, I put a light coating of oil in the bottom of the pan, and also toss the vegetables with oil to make sure they don’t stick. Starchy vegetables are easiest - potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips, carrots and the like. I have also roasted Brussels sprouts, but they’re a little trickier. Winter squashes roast very nicely, too.

Mostly you stack other stuff in it until the one or two times a year you want the pan. Cooking for only two people I would think you have no real need for it.

There is something to be said for cooking large quantities, eating some, and freezing the rest.

Make this (ignore the brand names). I make this soup several times a year and it’s always good (unless the tomatoes aren’t ripe enough, in which case it can be a little bland).

I also roast the occasional chicken in my roasting pan. A good meat thermometer is a godsend.

I’ve seen recommendations from Alton Brown, Cook’s Illustrated, and the like, that a v-shaped roasting rack is the best for your pan - something about supporting the bird pretty well both breast-side up and breast-side down (if you like to do the flipping thing during roasting; supposedly keeps the breast moist) as well as giving the best air flow around the pan during roasting. You can find them at any kitchen gadget store, or places like BBB. Something like this(tho’ mine isn’t that steeply angled, I don’t think.)

I’m surprised your pan didn’t just come with one - it might be worth asking your dad if there’s a rack somewhere.

Apparently I have a small roasting pan - if you put a rack in there there wouldn’t be room for a chicken if you want to put the lid on, too.

I’m thinking chicken parts over vegetables might be the way to go.

Roasted Veggies,
That roasted Broccoli recipe someone posted here with the lemon peel/juice is damn good stuff too.

I admit it, I mostly use my roasting pan as a giant cookie sheet.

I use my roasting pan most often for bread. You see, it is cold here and trying to get an even temperature is difficult outside of the oven, which is really small. So when I bake bread/make german pretzels/make worstenbroodjes (which are a kind of Dutch sausage roll like thingie) I do it all in the roasting pan.

First I fill it with hot water from the tap while I assemble my ingredients. Then I pour out the water and sprinkle the yeast+a little sugar into the resulting warm, damp roasting pan. Then I put in the liquids and mix them. Then I add the flour and dry ingredients one at a time until I get dough. Then I knead it right in the pan. Then I take it out and wrap it in a towel to rest, while I wash out the pan. Then I butter it, put the dough back in and put the top on to let it rise.

Usually I do not bake in it as I am not making that much bread at once. I generally do the shaping part outside the pan. But the results have been very good.

I use a rack for roasting a whole bird, but when I roast parts for soup I intentionally want the crust to form on the bottom, so no rack.

If you want the rack effect but don’t have a rack, you can rig something up with aluminum foil to keep the meat a little bit elevated.

Along these lines - I love using my roasting pan for lasagne. The high sides allow me to make one with lots of layers. It makes a huge quantity that can be subdivided into several meals worth.

I am a roasting newbie but I am pretty sure you don’t need (or perhaps even want) the lid while roasting a bird. My roasting pan doesn’t even have a lid.