Yes! You can use your braiser as a roaster.

Last night, I roasted this easy recipe for Lamb Shoulder Roast. And guess what? I used my all-time favorite pan (the braiser) to roast it.

Who needs a roasting pan when you can roast this Lamb Shoulder Provençal in your braiser?

Who needs a roasting pan when you can roast this Lamb Shoulder Provençal in your braiser?

I’ve never been troubled by the fact that I have a small kitchen. After all, most French home kitchens I’ve seen are usually even smaller than mine.

The only trouble, of course, is countertop/cupboard real estate: having enough room for all the gadgets and pans you really want in your cooking life. Sometimes, you have to make tough decisions. And while I have both a roasting pan and a braiser, I’m thinking I could actually toss my roasting pan to make room for something else I love.

Because lately, I’ve been using my braiser as a roaster.

Lamb roast. Browned on the stovetop in the braiser, and ready to roast--in the braiser.

Lamb roast. Browned on the stovetop in the braiser, and ready to roast–in the braiser.

A few newbies to braising and roasting might be asking:

What’s the difference between a roasting pan and a braiser?

This is a roasting pan.

The short answer: A braiser has a lid; a roasting pan does not. In short, keep the lid off your braiser, and it’s a roasting pan.

The long answer: A braiser is a round, wide, shallow pan with a tight-fitting lid. Braising involves cooking meats with a small amount of liquid in a vessel with a tight-fitting lid. The moist heat, low temperatures, and long cooking time turns tough cuts of meat (such as pot roasts) into meltingly tender main dishes.

A roasting pan is generally an oblong pan with a rack. It has no lid. Roasting involves cooking meats, uncovered, a higher temperatures than braising. Generally, no liquid is added–it’s a “dry heat” method. Roasting is generally best for more tender cuts of meats (such as tenderloin), though some cuts (such as pork and lamb shoulder) can be roasted at low temperatures for great results.

This is a braiser. One of my favorites, in fact: The Le Creuset Braiser. Yummy colors!

Obviously, for large, long cuts of meat (a big pork shoulder, for instance), you’ll want an oblong roasting pan. But in many cases, a large braiser will do.

How to use a braiser as a roaster: For many, many cuts, a braiser will work beautifully. Better, in fact, than many roasting pans. You see, some roasting pans are not stove-top friendly. That means if you are browning the meat first, you have to brown it in another pan, then switch it to a roasting pan. Then, when you’re ready to make a gravy or pan sauce, you have to transfer the juices back to a clean stovetop-worthy pan. Grrrr.

The braiser lets you brown and roast and make a sauce all in one pan. That’s exactly the case with the luscious recipe for lamb shoulder roast, below.

But wait a minute. Do I need a rack for roasting?: If your recipe calls for a rack, use the rack; otherwise, don’t. In general, the whole idea of a rack is to raise the meat up, keeping the bottom of the roast from “stewing in its own juices” and getting flabby. With lean cuts (say, a pork tenderloin roast), you’re not going to have that many juices, so it won’t be a problem. With other cuts (such as this lamb recipe), we don’t mind a little melty softness on the bottom of the roast.

If you do need a rack, simply buy one that will fit into your braiser. I happen to own an oval rack that fits nicely, but I also found this inexpensive rack on Amazon. Measure the diameter of your braiser. If its 11.5 inches, like the Le Creuset 3 1/2-quart round braiser, then this rack, which is 9.75 inches in diameter, should fit nicely.

 

Here’s a great way to inaugurate your braising pan as a roaster—and this recipe doesn’t need a rack. Enjoy.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lamb Shoulder Roast Provençal
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 to 6
 
I adapted this recipe from a terrific Williams-Sonoma book called Everyday Roasting. That recipe called for a 5- to 6-pound leg butterflied and boned leg of lamb, which is great for holidays; I simplified the recipe a bit and called for a smaller cut, which is great for a more casual gathering of four to six diners. It's super easy, with few ingredients.
Ingredients
  • 1 3- to 4-pound boneless lamb shoulder roast
  • 6 large garlic cloves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 cups dry red wine
  • ½ cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
Instructions
  1. Using a sharp paring knife, make 10 slits at regular intervals into the lamb. Cut two of the large garlic cloves into slivers and push the slivers into the slits of lamb. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Place the lamb into a resealable plastic bag set in a bowl. Add 2 cups of the wine. Seal the bag. Marinate the lamb in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours.
  2. Before roasting: On a cutting board, mince the 4 remaining garlic cloves with the kalamata olives and the herbes de Provence with a little pepper until it forms a coarse paste. Drain the lamb; discard the marinade. Unroll the roast and evenly spread the olive paste in the inside of the meat. Roll up the lamb and tie securely with 100% cotton kitchen string at intervals of about 3 inches (see photo at the bottom of this post).
  3. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a braiser or roasting pan, heat the olive oil until it shimmers. Add the lamb and brown on all sides. Slide the braiser to the oven and roast until the meat registers 135°F (for medium-rare) or 150°F (for medium). It should take about 1½ to 2 hours for medium rare or 1¾ to 2¼ hours for medium.
  4. Remove the meat from the oven; transfer to a cutting board and cover with foil. Let it stand 15 minutes before carving (the meat's temperature should rise 10 degrees upon standing).
  5. For the sauce, while the meat is standing, place the braiser over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook briefly until softened, about 1 minute. Add the remaining 1 cup red wine and cook, stirring to loosen brown bits on the bottom of the pan, until the liquid is reduced by half. Whisk in 1 tablespoon butter, stirring until melted.
  6. Snip and discard the kitchen string; slice the lamb into thin slices. Arrange on a warmed platter and pass the sauce at the table.

image

Kitchen string is the ticket. As is Herbes de Provence. You can get both at well-stocked supermarkets.

Here’s what I always serve with just about any roast:

image

My recipe for French Scalloped Potatoes/Gratin Dauphinoise is the easiest.

For a side dish, you can’t go wrong with roasted asparagus or any beautiful, in-season green veggie. Haricot-verts, brussels sprouts, fresh peas…..mmmmmmm.

Update: The third printing of The Bonne Femme Cookbook: Simple, Splendid Food That French Women Cook Every Day is due in the warehouse on May 2nd….Finally! You can order it now on Amazon.com, and they’ll ship it to you as soon as they have it.

 

Disclaimer: As an Amazon affiliate, I receive a very small credit when you make a purchase through a link I provide (even if you don’t buy exactly what I’m writing about!). Purchasing through one of my links helps support my work on this blog. Keep in mind, I’d never recommend a product I didn’t love! 

 

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