Choose your speed – tortoise or hare?
What was once a simple category, slow cookers, has become more complicated. There are still slow-cookers – fabulous appliances that can slowly produce a delicious meal with very little effort. They often have a large capacity (up to 8 quarts) and are great for feeding a crowd. Then there are the slow cookers with benefits – sometimes called multi cookers, but that category is getting crowded.
Slow cookers with benefits have removable cooking pots that can be used on the stove, or in the oven.
The 5-in-1 Cooking System by Ninja for $199.99 is an example. It comes with an “indoor electric countertop grill with 4-quart air fryer, roast, bake, dehydrate, and cyclonic grilling technology.”
and the 3-in-1 Cook Central Multicooker by Cusinart for $159.00.
The All-Clad 5 qt. Gourmet Slow Cooker With In-Pot Browning can steam, cook rice and brown. It can keep food warm for up to 6 hours after cooking. $249.95.
The Kitchen Aid Multi-Cooker (4 qt. capacity) can sauté, sear, boil, steam, simmer, keep warm, slow cook, make soup, yogurt and risotto (if you buy the separate stirring tower attachment), rice and all meals a slow cooker can make. $159.00.
Remember pressure cookers? I will admit I’ve always been afraid to use one for fear it would explode. Now, however, Multi-Cookers are a delightful combination of updated pressure cookers and slow cookers. They are electric, so do not jiggle around on top of the stove, and they have multiple sensors for self-regulating safety features to protect against any mishaps. You can turn it on and go do something else. Apparently, these multi-cookers are flying off the shelves. A bonus – they are energy efficient.
The Instant Pot is a combined electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, slow cooker and yogurt maker all in one. When using the pressure cooker, a pork shoulder takes 90 minutes, lamb shanks take 40 minutes, short ribs take 30 minutes, all highly rated for taste and consistency by New York Times reviewer Melissa Clark. Use the slow cooker setting for things like chicken, anything you want crisp or crunchy soups and stews. The Instant Pot comes in a 3 qt. pot for $59.95 and a 6 qt. size. $79.00.
Breville Fast Slo Pro is a 6 quart top of the line multi cooker. In addition to presets, it offers manual control over both pressure and timing. The pressure cooking functions are highly rated. It has a 3-way safety system locking lid with an automatic hands-free steam release safety valve. It also gets rave reviews for heating and searing. The slow cooking isn’t rated as highly as some others but it has high or low settings from 2 – 12 hours and a custom setting. $249.
If the slow cooker really isn’t your thing, maybe you need a cute kitchen timer;
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