Many recipes call for covering a pan with foil before placing in the oven. Is this better than using the pan's lid, assuming it has one?
Generally we would use a tightly fitting pan lid for covering a pan or pot in the oven, as long as the lid and handle are oven safe. If the pan you are using does not come with a suitable lid then you may need to use a layer, or even a double layer, of foil to cover the pan.
In slow cooked recipes, such as stews and braises, the long cooking time means that the dish must be tightly covered so that the ingredients don't dry out. As the meat cooks the steam rising from the liquid in the pot is trapped, it then condenses on the lid and drips back into the sauce, making sure that all moisture is conserved. So the lid should fit tightly on the dish and if you use foil then you should make sure that the foil is sealed as tightly as possible over the pan.