Tag Archives | Stainless Steel

Single Skillet Pasta in Viking’s Stainless Steel Casserole Pan

Finished Skillet Dish Viking - Food in Jars

I’ve been cooking dinner on a near-nightly basis for the better part of the last two decades and over that time, I’ve come to understand a few essential things about myself. The most primary is that at my core, I’m a lazy cook. I’m not trading quality over convenience, but I am always making choices that I hope will make life just a little bit easier.

Viking Stainless Steel Casserole - Food in Jars

My inclination to reduce dishes and avoid unnecessary steps means that whenever possible, I opt for soups, stews, and other dishes that only require a single vessel. I will often cram things into a single pan when they might have been better off cooked separately. And any recipe that requires browning in batches is summarily discarded.

Skillet Pasta Ingredients - Food in Jars

Last month, a piece of cookware came into my life that has both encouraged my lazy ways and upped my nightly game. It’s a stainless steel casserole that holds just over six quarts. It is sturdy, has a low, wide profile that makes for quick evaporation, comes with a tight-fitting lid, cleans up beautifully, and it made by Viking (until they reached out about this pan, I didn’t realize they did more than large kitchen appliances). It’s the Viking 3-Ply 6.4 Quart Casserole Pan.

Sautéed Veg - Food in Jars

This pan has been on my stove top on a near-constant basis since it arrived. I’ve made a number of skillet chicken dishes in it (brown chicken in a single batch. Remove. Add onions and veg and cook until wilted. Return the chicken, add a little liquid, cover and braise until the chicken is cooked through). I’ve used it for pancakes, turkey bacon, and a large batch of eggs poached in tomato sauce.

Fire Roasted Tomatoes - Food in Jars

However, I think that the very highest calling for this pan is this skillet pasta dish. The original inspiration for this recipe is the single skillet pasta recipe from Martha Stewart that took the internet by storm a few years ago. This one isn’t quite as simple as just heaping all the ingredients in a pan and heating for nine minutes, but it’s pretty darn close.

Skillet Dish Without Pasta - Food in Jars

You start by heating a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. When it shimmers, add some chopped onion, garlic, red pepper, and kale and cook until all the veg is tender. Then you add some cubed chicken sausage (I used some that was already cooked through), a cup of liquid (white wine, chicken stock, or water) and a couple cans (or jars, if your pantry runs to such things) of fire roasted tomatoes and get it bubbling.

Adding Pasta - Food in Jars

Then you add eight ounces of uncooked pasta. I used whole wheat elbows, but any short cut variety you have in the pantry does the job. Cover the pan and cook until the pasta is tender. It will absorb the liquid in the pan, making for flavorful pasta and less clean-up for the cook.

Finished Skillet Pasta - Food in Jars

I’ve written the instructions out in an organized fashion for you, but this is more of a technique than a recipe that must be followed to the letter. You could do a version with braised fennel bulb and a pound of pork fennel sausage. A batch with artichoke would also be nice. The options are endless!

What would you make in a Viking casserole like this one?

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Sur La Table Stainless Steel Tri-Ply on Sale

sur la table stock pot

Whenever I teach canning classes, someone asks me to recommend a good jam pan. Here’s what I tell them. Every jam maker has their own favorite piece of cookware, so there’s never going to be a single, one-size-fits-all pan for me to name. Some people prefer copper confiture pans. Others like enameled cast iron. And yet, other folks like stainless steel.

I use all three materials, and choose depending on the size of the batch and which pan is clean and readily accessible. However, my default is stainless steel. The reasons for that are practical ones. Because stainless steel isn’t a reactive metal, I can combine my fruit and sugar in the pan directly (with copper, you have to dissolve the sugar into the fruit prior to putting it in the pan, otherwise you can wind up with some metallic flavor leaching).

The second reason is that if I get distracted and accidentally burn my preserve (it happens to the best of us), I can almost always scrub and soak the burnt spot off the bottom of the pan. I’ve learned the hard (painful, in fact) way that it’s much more challenging to recover from a burn on an enameled cast iron pan.

Once I get through those basics, I then name two pots that make really good jam pans. The reasons I like these two are that they are both stainless steel, hold eight quarts and are relatively low and wide (the more surface area, the better your jam will cook).

sur la table mark

The high end pot I recommend is the All-Clad Tri-Ply 8 Quart Stainless Steel Stockpot. It’s a great pot but constitutes a serious investment of funds. Depending on where you buy it and what grade you get, you’ll pay between $230 and $600.

On the more affordable end is the Sur La Table-brand Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 8 Quart Stock Pot (it also comes with a strainer insert that I use mostly for steaming). It’s not quite as low and wide as the All-Clad pot, but it is far more affordable and still does a really good job.

And here we get to the reason I’m writing this post. Currently, Sur La Table is having their Once a Year Sale and their tri-ply cookware is heavily discounted. Normally, this pot goes for $169.95. Currently, it is on sale for $101.96. That is a great price for a heavy, durable, workhorse pot. It can even double as a Dutch oven, so you can use it for no-knead bread and any other thing you might want to braise low and slow.

So, if you’re in the market for an affordable, really awesome stainless steel pot, consider yourself duly informed that this is a screaming deal on that very item.

Disclosure: Sur La Table did not ask me to write this post and I am receiving nothing for having done so. I wrote it as a service, because I always appreciate it when people clue me in to useful things at a good price.  

One more thing: The reason that there is such a price differential is that All-Clad is made in the U.S. and the Sur La Table pots are made in China. Global dynamics at work! 

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Giveaway: Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 4-Quart Casserole

Anolon Nouvelle Cuisine 4-Quart Casserole

I’m always on the hunt for the perfect small batch jam pot. Something sturdy (but not enormous), non-reactive and with a low, wide profile for quick evaporation. It needs to function on an induction cooktop, conduct heat evenly and be nice to look at. I have a couple vintage enameled cast iron pots that checks most of my boxes, but they are so heavy that I’m always reluctant to wrestle one off the shelf for a quick preserve.

plums and book

However, a new pot came into my life a couple months ago and we’ve been making sweet, sweet jam (as well as sauces, chutneys and braises) together ever since. My small batch pot quest may indeed be over. The object of my cookware affection? The Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel 4-Quart Casserole.

braised pork butt with leeks and cranberries

The stainless steel interior means that it will never leach a metallic flavor into my preserves and if I happen to burn something (it happens to the best of us), I can scrub away without worrying that I’m doing damage to the surface (a concern with the enameled pots). It’s got a thick copper disc at the bottom, which makes for good heat conduction and a pretty patina to boot.

Anolon casserole

I’m also a big fan of the shape of this pot (you don’t realize how hard it is to find affordable, good quality pots that are low and wide until you start shopping). The shallow depth means you get lots of surface area, which in turns promotes evaporation. Cooking the water out of the fruit effectively is a vital part of making jams, fruit butters, chutneys and jellies. Having a pot that aids that effort instead of fighting it makes for a better product every time.

Marisa with 4-quart casserole

The nice folks at Anolon sent me this pot to try out and now, they want to give one to one of my readers as well. I’m certain that whichever one of you end up with it will be so happy to have it in your kitchen! If you want to enter the giveaway, here’s what you do.

  1. Leave a comment on this post and tell me about your own cookware quest. Whether you’ve been looking for the perfect sauté pan or you’re on the search for a cast iron skillet like the one your grandma had, I want to hear your story.
  2. Comments will close at 11:59 pm east coast time on Friday, October 19, 2012. Winner will be chosen at random and will be posted to the blog over the weekend.
  3. Giveaway is open to US residents (apologies to my more far-flung readers).
  4. One comment per person, please. Entries must be left via the comment form on the blog at the bottom of this post. I do not accept submissions via email.
Disclosure: Anolon have provided both my review unit of the 4-Quart casserole and the giveaway unit at no cost to me. What’s more, they’ve compensated me for the time invested in this review with a 10-piece set of Anolon Nouvelle Copper Stainless Steel Cookware. However, my opinions remain my own and have not been influenced by the review unit or the cookware set.