wynw: oven-proof your life

To continue with the gadget from last week, I’m here today to talk about one of my favorite items in my kitchen. Another not-very-exciting choice but seriously useful addition to any novice cook is the oven proof pan. Somewhere between a skillet and a dutch oven, you have a sauteuse [or I guess I actually have it]. It’s a smaller, squat pan that is a bit more manageable to go from the stovetop to the oven.

My pan is almost identical, it does not have the extended handle. I wish it did! The pan I own along with this one is from the Cooks line at JC Penney. My original purchase was no more than $40 and I use it 2 or 3 times a week.

But why would you need one? Well, unless you’re feeding a large family, it’s the perfect size for sauces. An awesome soup-for-two size, great for a serving or two of pasta. And I can’t tell you how many small batches of jam, chutney or simple syrup I’ve made in mine. Not usually such a fan of nonstick, it’s perfect in this pan. Seriously, I have not once struggled to clean it. Even when I make a steak or burger in it, searing it on the stove and finishing in a hot oven, the meaty bits never give me clean-up trouble. Yup, indoor steak cooking is great for ovenproof pans.

Basically, think of this pan as a great first purchase. Want a cast-iron (or other heavy skillet)? Want a big Le Creuset dutch oven? Need something that can handle both set of tasks at once? This is for you. A lower cost investment while you tinker your way into the kitchen.

My favorite no recipe-recipe for this pan? It’s a braise, of course.

  • Throw some thrifty stew beef in the pan on high and brown. [Or short ribs. Or oxtail. Or most any fatty cut of meat.]
  • Add diced veggies of your choice. Onions and carrots are a must. Brown.
  • A bottle of two buck chuck [or whatever red wine of your choosing], a few sprigs of herbs, salt and pepper.
  • Bring to a boil and put in the oven. Let cook on low temp, maybe 300° until the meat falls apart.
  • Strain liquid, throw liquid back into pan and put on stovetop. Boil, turn to low and reduce.
  • Serve on top of carbohydrate of choice – mashed potatoes, rice, egg noodles, polenta.

And really, on this upcoming chilly weekend, what doesn’t sound better than warming up the apartment with a low-effort, slow cooked meal?


About nomnivorous

A food enthusiast who cooks, bakes and eats it all... And if it happens to be cute, it's even more likely to be eaten by this nomnivore!
This entry was posted in cooking, nablopomo, recipes, what you need wednesday. Bookmark the permalink.

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