lets talk about Roasting Pans . . . again
I have looked at some old threads and since this is America and something new and shiny comes out every 5 minutes I wanted to raise up a discussion about Roasting Pans. I have a beat up one from Surfas(LA restaurant supply store) that does the job though I find it burns my aromatics(mire poixe) more than I like, even though I add stock like a good cook should.
I ponder replacing this and yet I hesitate on dropping $200 for an All Clad(even though I love All Clad). Also, for everyday roasting, not that I roast everyday, I love love love love using my iron skillet, man it so does the job and make a fine pan sauce. I wonder if some sort of enameled roasting pan would be the "roasting pan of my dreams".
So here is the deal, should and everyone else who can, pull the trigger on the All Clad? Is the Calphalon a better bang for your buck? Any non stick fans out there? Whats the deal with tri ply? Here is hoping this will become a definitive thread on this subject.
I like my All-Clad pots and pans, but I can't imagine springing for a shiny A-C roasting pan. For that matter, I don't want any stainless steel or multi-ply roasting pan. Nor do I want a nonstick lining. I looked at and rejected all those and bought the de Buyer, which is just plain steel, and quite heavy. It's the best as far as I am concerned, but it may not be available in the US anymore.
An enameled roasting pan such as a LeCreuset is going to cost about as much as the All-Clad.
I have the All-Clad though one of the reasons was that I got it for $120 or so with the insert rack and the turkey lifter forks to boot (one of the few good things about that last trip to Gainesville). It works very well and it doesn't burn things unless you intentionally set it up to burn (or forget to watch over things). The turkey things are handy to have when one makes porchetta.
I have used a similar Kitchen-Aid and the results are slightly difference because the walls of the pan are slightly taller than the All-Clad. It sells for about $50.
I know people who like their Calphalon but I have never roasted with one.
Well, you didn't say what you want to roast in your roasting pan, so it's hard to recommend one. I have an All-Clad roasting pan - a really huge one. It's so big, it is really only good if you are roasting a 20-lb turkey, which I never, ever do. For everyday roasting, I have a Staub enameled cast iron pan, which is great. I also have a slightly smaller La Crueset enameled CI pan that is just a tad smaller and will fit in my Breville countertop convection/toaster oven. That is my preferred pan (and oven) for roasting a chicken, but if I'm going to roast in a normal oven, I prefer the Staub.
I think the thing is to figure out what you are going to be roasting, and how big a pan you need. Generally, I've found you don't need a really big pan, and in fact, too big a pan just makes the juices evaporate and burn. Heck, as you probably know, you can roast a chicken in a cast iron skillet.
I would say given your experience with cast iron, you would love a Staub or LC roasting pan. If you need to go for a really big pan, then you can switch to All-Clad or another brand. I don't really think the brand matters that much with a roasting pan, but I would say that non-stick is unnecessary.
Sounds to me like your iron skillet IS the roasting pan of your dreams. What's wrong with that?
I often roast chickens in a stainless tri-ply skillet, or in a ceramic baking pan, or on an aluminum quarter sheet pan. And if I do a beef roast, I'll use a skillet or an appropriately sized Calphalon saute pan. My experience is that a roaster that is too big or has a dark or black surface is what causes the pan juices to scorch, more than the material.
I see no need to have a dedicated roasting pan, except for the huge Thanksgiving turkey. Since that must be larger and used only once a year, I use an inexpensive roaster bought for that purpose.
I think roasters are sort of counterintuitive. You only really need conductive metal *out* of the oven, but the *surface* makes a difference, and correct sizing makes a huge difference.
Cast iron works fine, but neither the barenaked surface nor enameled is very good. Bare loses its seasoning when you deglaze with wine, vinegar or tomato, and enameled the fat runs right through the jus (as James Peterson so ably points out in his classic, "Sauces") I have a large LC roaster and know this to be true. Nonstick is a total disaster for roasting IMO.
If you make a lot of gravies or integral sauces, I would pick either a SS lining or tinned copper. SS-lined copper may be the ideal construction for a roaster, and would be the only bimetal vessel I would pick over tinned. I don't have issues with aluminum, either bare or anodized, so that would be my second choice.
It's only on the stovetop that highly conductive roasters shine, so if you don't do much in the way sauces/gravies (or sweat your mirrepoix before roasting), I'd go with a relatively cheap SS pan. For the cost of a single A-C, you can probably find 3 cheaper pans, which allows you to size your pan to the cut/joint and not burn the good stuff.