By Marla Walters
If you really enjoy cooking, you are probably like me in that you have lots of appliances and gadgets. However, until recently I avoided granite ware. I have a KitchenAid® that will pummel dough like a wrestler and then whip cream into airy clouds.
My mallet can pound paper-thin slices of chicken. I even bought one of those gadgets that enable you to turn zucchini into spaghetti. I love that stuff. Sure, I have purchased some duds, and probably some things I should (and could) do without, but I still had fun testing them.
GraniteWare Roasting Pans
Recently, I came into possession of a Granite Ware oval roasting pan. It was free, so I thought, “Why not take it home and try it out? I can always donate it or give it away if I don’t like it.”
Of course, Granite Ware roasting pans aren’t new to me. My mother had one collecting dust in the storage shed. My aunt had one. We kids used it as a swimming pool for Barbie dolls. My mother-in-law had one in the garage. As a newlywed, I was too smug to register for one of those boring old things— I wanted things like pasta makers, hot-air popcorn poppers, and slow cookers.
So, for 32 years, I never used one.
Back to my story. I took my treasure home, washed and dried it, and decided I would roast a chicken to start with. After spraying the graniteware pan, I plopped in the chicken, a lemon, some potatoes, carrots, and a leek. I sprayed a little more olive oil over everything, added some seasonings, and on went the lid. It went into a 400 degree oven for an hour, at which time I removed the lid and baked it for another 15 minutes. Then I let it rest for 15 minutes before carving.
What Granite Cookware Did for My Meals
Without being sacrilegious—it was heavenly. It was, truly, the best roasted chicken that I have ever made.
The chicken was fork-tender, moist, and infused with flavor.
My husband loves gravy, so I made that, too.
I wished that I had made two chickens (there was plenty of room); it would have been nice to have the leftovers to freeze for other meals.
My second experiment was with bread. For years, I have had a love/hate relationship with baking bread. I have a bread maker, which is a workhorse and makes lovely bread. However, there is something about kneading and shaping bread by hand that appeals to my inner-homesteader spirit.
Granite Ware for Baking Bread
Having just seen a video on YouTube.com about easy, rustic-style bread, I was eager to give it a try. Here is the the video that fascinated me.
Basically, the dough is very easy, but must rest for twelve hours. Once shaped, it goes into a very hot pan, which must have a lid. I decided to try out the roasting pan again. The trickiest part is getting the shaped loaf into the hot pan.
My technique is not great, and the bread comes out to be … well, let’s call it very rustic-peasant (it actually looks more like an amoeba.) The flavor and texture of the bread, though, were amazing—it was like something from a bakery; crispy and chewy, but tender inside. Another win for the roaster! As my garden continues to yield produce, I am looking forward to roasting eggplant, tomatoes, and squash in large quantities. I also am beginning to think about pork roasts with apples, potatoes, and carrots. The possibilities are endless.
Yes, I’ll agree, it is a little odd to be so enamored of a pan. However, if you are beginning to gather supplies for homesteading, you would find yourself well-served by a multipurpose, basic, inexpensive granite ware roasting pan.
Marla Walters and her husband live in Hilo, Hawaii, along with an active volcano. They have one grown daughter, several spoiled pets, and a yard full of exotic produce. Marla loves all things domestic and enjoys trying things out in order to write about them. She also writes for www.wisebread.com and www.cruelironing.com.