Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Culinary IQ: Wednesday, November 30, 2011; Pan Roasting and Sauté

Pan Roasting and Sauté

Of these two methods of cooking, sauté is definitely the more common method. Pan roasting is probably used more often the one would think but probably not correctly. Many cooks mistake pan-roasting for roasting, the difference being the use of a cover in the pan roasting process. If done correctly pan-roasting will result in an attractive, moist and flavorful product, if not done properly the result can be flavorful but not necessarily attractive.


Pan-roasting is considered a variation of roasting, but differs from the traditional roasting process in that after searing, the product is roasted covered, creating a moist cooking environment. Aromatics are added near the end of the cooking process to add flavor and additional moisture. During the cooking process, there is an exchange of flavors between the different elements. which are then fixed by the fat present in the meat. Cooking with a cover prevents the steam from escaping, thus creating a flavorful, humid atmosphere. A glaze is applied at the end of the cooking process to replace the crust that would have resulted from straight roasting.

The pan-roasting process is categorized as follows:

Type: mixed
Humidity: humid
Color: brown

The Pan-Roasting Process

  • Prepare the piece by trimming and, if needed, tying with butcher's twine.
  • Season.
  • Sear in a small amount of fat or oil.
  • Cook covered in a medium oven (375°F.), turning and basting the piece.
  • Add aromatic garnish.
  • Finish cooking.
  • Leave to rest covered.
  • Make a sauce.
  • Glaze.

Pan-roasted items are traditionally served with the sauce on the side and accompanied by an elaborate garnish.


Pan-roasting is applied to large pieces of meat that are too tough for roasting but to tender for braising, such as a large lamb leg or game foul.


Sauté or pan-fry is used to cook small, tender pieces in a small amount of fat. The goal of sauté is to create a crust that will maintain the natural juices of the piece.

The sautéing process is categorized as follows:

Type: concentration
Humidity: dry
Color: brown

The Sautéing Process

  • Prepare the piece by trimming and drying.
  • Season.
  • Sear in a small amount of fat, usually clarified butter.
  • Cook the piece by turning and basting.
  • Allow to rest.
  • Prepare the garnish.
  • Make the sauce.

Sautéed items are traditionally served uncovered, with all the elements together. 


Sautéing can be applied to small, tender cuts of meat:
  • Poultry
  • Offal
  • Game
  • Fish
  • Vegetables
Tomorrow I will discuss Braising, a method that seems to be growing in popularity and Deep-Frying.

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