Combining Sautéing with Roasting (Pan-Roasting)

By Marie Rama, Bryan Miller

Thin cuts of meat, 1 to 1-1/4 inches thick, are best grilled or pan-seared on top of the stove. If you try to sauté thick meat, there’s a good chance you’ll burn the surface before the center is cooked. So thicker steaks and pork chops benefit from a combination of pan-searing and roasting, called pan-roasting.

Pan-roasting involves searing meat or poultry in a very hot pan on both sides to give it some crispiness and then finishing the meat by putting the pan in the oven.

To create a good sear, let the steaks cook without moving them around in the hot pan, unless it’s to turn them over.

The advantage to pan-roasting over basic sautéing is that sautéing draws out moisture. The longer the food is in the pan, the dryer it gets. With pan-roasting, you limit the length of time the food is in the pan, preventing it from drying out. It’s particularly good for lean cuts of meat like pork and chicken; the outside gets nicely browned but more moisture is retained.

When you pan-roast meat, you can’t use a nonstick skillet because nonstick skillets can’t go in the oven. You must use a cast-iron or stainless steel skillet that can withstand the high temperatures needed to pan-roast meat in the oven. The coating on a nonstick skillet will melt in the oven.

Pan-Roasted Steaks with Simple Herb-Butter Sauce

Preparation time: About 5 minutes

Cook time: About 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Two 12- to 14-ounce boneless New York strip steaks, 1-1/2 inches thick

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for coating steaks

Salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme

2 teaspoons fresh finely chopped rosemary leaves

1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (optional)

  1. If necessary, let the steaks set out of the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to bring to room temperature.

  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with a rack in the middle position.

  3. Use paper towels to pat the steaks dry on both sides. Rub them generously with oil and season with salt and black pepper to taste.

  4. Place a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet (not a nonstick!) over medium-high heat for 1 to 3 minutes or until very hot.

    Add the vegetable oil and heat until just smoking. (When the oil begins to smoke, you know it’s reached a temperature of about 450 degrees, which is perfect for searing.)

  5. Lay the steaks in the skillet without them touching and cook about 3 minutes, or until the steak releases easily from the pan and its bottom side has a dark brown crust.

    Use tongs to turn and cook another 1 to 2 minutes to lightly brown the other side.

  6. Place the skillet in the oven, and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of each steak registers 125 to 130 degrees F for medium rare or 135 to 140 degrees for medium.

  7. Transfer the steaks to a cutting board, cover with foil, and let rest 5 to 10 minutes while making the pan herb-butter sauce.

  8. Allow the hot skillet to cool about 3 to 4 minutes, and then remove and discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.

    Place the skillet over medium heat; add the butter and herbs, and stir until the butter melts, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan and incorporating them into the sauce. Stir in the Worcestershire sauce (if desired).

  9. Slice the steak against the grain and transfer the slices to a serving platter.

    Add any juices on the carving board to the pan sauce and stir to combine. Drizzle the sliced steak with the pan sauce and serve immediately.

Per serving: Calories 299 (From Fat 126); Fat 14g (Saturated 6g); Cholesterol 117mg; Sodium 233mg; Carbohydrate 0g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 43g.

Pan-Seared and Roasted Turkey Burgers

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cook time: About 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

1-1/4 pounds ground turkey meat (93% lean)

2 slices bacon, ends trimmed of fat, cut into 1/4 -inch pieces

1⁄3 cup diced onion

1⁄3 cup diced celery

1 teaspoon finely chopped jalapeño pepper, seeded

2 teaspoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger (optional)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley or thyme

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon ketchup

Salt and black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

4 burger buns, lightly toasted

Lettuce, ripe tomato slices, ketchup, and mustard for garnishing each burger (optional)

  1. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Mix together the ground turkey, bacon, onion, celery, jalapeño, ginger (if desired), parsley or thyme, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl.

    (Note: The diced bacon adds salt, so salt lightly or not at all.)

  3. Shape the mixture into four patties, each about 1 inch thick. Heat the olive oil in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet (not a nonstick!) over medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer.

    Add the patties to the skillet and cook without moving them, until the bottom is seared brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Use a wide spatula to turn the burgers over and cook 4 to 5 minutes longer. (Adjust the heat as necessary so the burgers brown without burning.)

  4. Place the skillet in the preheated oven and cook 12 to 18 minutes.

    After 10 minutes, insert an instant-read thermometer through the side and into the center of the burgers to check for doneness. The burgers are ready to eat when the internal temperature reads 165 degrees.

  5. Serve on toasted buns with lettuce, tomato slices, ketchup, and mustard (if desired).

Per serving: Calories 375 (From Fat 153); Fat 17g (Saturated 6g); Cholesterol 104mg; Sodium 547mg; Carbohydrate 26g (Dietary Fiber 1g); Protein 33g.

Skip the buns and serve the burgers over a bed of arugula tossed lightly with a dressing of extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, and salt and black pepper to taste.

In most households, where dinner is often a last-minute thought, turkey burgers are a go-to choice. Ground turkey meat is much leaner than ground beef, making it a healthy alternative. However, that same leanness, and the fact that you must cook a turkey burger to 165 degrees F or until the juices run clear, can result in a dry patty.

A little raw, diced bacon added to the patty mix overcomes this problem. The bacon releases its fat as the burger cooks, adding just the right touch of moisture and a subtle smoky flavor.