A roasting pan is best made of metal to handle high temperatures and to give strength and durability. They also have high sides which serve two purposes. Firstly to redirect heat back to the items being roasted, and secondly to retain any juices that may come from the meat. Some roasting tins have a removable rack to keep the meat off the bottom of the pan, allowing air to circulate and give a more even roast, whilst some have a lid. Lidded roasting dishes can keep the items you are cooking more succulent and less prone to drying out. Some roasting pans have neither a lid or a tray but perform equally well dependant on your needs. They are perfect if you are short on space because those with lids and trays can be quite bulky and hard to fit in an oven, especially if you have other items cooking in there at the same time.
It’s not uncommon to only use a roasting pan once or twice a year at special occasions, which is a shame as they are very versatile. Cooking a large joint of meat on one day can allow you to prepare and freeze meals for the rest of the week, giving you more time for other things at busy times. They can also be used for meals such as lasagne and tray bakes.
If you are vegetarian then please don’t think that a roasting tin is just for meat – it can cook the most amazing vegetables too. Imagine honey-roasted parsnips, roasted potatoes with garlic and rosemary, and thyme roasted carrots – Yum! At the bottom of this article are a selection of books for roasting tin meals, including one dedicated to vegan and vegetarian dishes.
I was prompted to write this article as it is late October now and Christmas will be here soon. Perhaps you are thinking about what roast meals you may cook over the festive period, such as the classic turkey dinner, roast chicken, a tasty joint of ham, or perhaps goose or game. If your roasting pan is looking a bit tired then now is the perfect time to get a new one. Check out our favourites below!
All the roasting pans in this article are highly rated by their buyers, and I suspect that they have all made delicious roast dinners with them. It makes me hungry just thinking about it!
Roasting Tins Without Racks
Some roasting tins without racks have indentations at the base of the pan to allow a little air to flow underneath the items being cooked, thus giving a more even cook, however it is very easy to make your own clever and tasty ‘rack’. How? With vegetables of course! Place a layer of vegetables in a grid pattern under your joint and it will lift the meat a little to allow airflow. The upside of this is that you get the most amazing vegetables that have been cooked in the meat juices. A downside is that they may become too wet and dissolve into a mush – but a tasty mush none-the-less! A roasting pan without a rack is absolutely perfect for roasting vegetables on their own though.
Roasting Tins With Racks
As mentioned earlier, using a rack lifts the meat off the bottom of the pan which allows air to flow underneath and produce a more even cook. Using a rack does have some disadvantages though. Juices that drip onto the rack might be better dripping onto vegetables to add flavour, whilst some people say that cleaning racks after a roast can be very time consuming and tricky. Unless you put in the effort after each use, over time the rack will soon be almost impossible to clean enough to return it to its former glory. Some racks have lifting handles which make it easier to lift out the meat which is a great advantage.
Roasting Tins With Lids
Roasting tins with lids offer excellent heat circulation. Think of them as having an oven inside your oven! Your roasts will cook quicker and the end result will be more succulent. When the lid is on a roasting pan, the steam from your cooking items reaches the lid and turns into juices that drip back down, thus basting the meat as it cooks. This saves you a job and keeps items moist and juicy – and very tasty too! Be aware though that if you want crispy skin or crackling you will need to remove the lid at some point during the cooking process to achieve this.
Fantastic Roasting Pan Cookbooks
Now you’ve got your sparkly new roasting tin, what are you going to cook in it? It’s so easy to think about simply roasting a joint of meat, but there are so many wonderful dishes available to cook. The following recipe books offer a wide range of recipes to kick up your roasting skills, and there is also a very highly rated selection of cookbooks by Rukmini Iyer dedicated solely to making meals in a roasting pan, which goes to show just how versatile a roasting tin is!