Thursday, July 14, 2011

Extravagance = Economy: All-Clad Slow Cooker

Image courtesy of Williams-Sonoma


Slow cookers aren't very glamorous.  If you're like me, you might have memories from the 70's of pallid chickens in watery sauce, or grayish beef...  but this baby is nothing like what you remember.

It's biggest advantage is that it takes the place of a Dutch oven, because the insert is usable on both the stove-top and in the oven.  So you can brown something and then put it on to simmer for about a million years - no more flaccid, creepy beige chicken!

And they're good for lots of other things too - you can start oatmeal before you go to bed and have oatmeal for breakfast.  This alone has revolutionized breakfast in our home; the difference between a bowl of cold cereal and a bowl of oatmeal is vast.

We also bake sweet potatoes in this.  Just wash them, put them in the cooker without drying them, and after 6 to 8 hours on low, you have SWEET POTATOES.  In the summer, without heating your oven.  Brilliant.

Now this baby is far from cheap, but we figured that we would spend this much on three or four meals in a decent restaurant.  (we live in a big city, remember)  If owning this gizmo would improve our eating habits and keep us home more often, it would more than pay for itself.  So far, I think we're moving rapidly into the "economy" part of my equation.

6 comments:

  1. My husband recently brought home a Hamilton Beach slow cooker for $34. I hadn't used one in 25 years so I was perplexed as to what to do with it. Looked up a few recipes on the web and tried them and they turned out nicely. I'm a very good cook so I was skeptical but, having read the accompanying literature and some other tips on the web, I find I like it alot. It doesn't save prep time but it does cook a nice meal.

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  2. We use ours for beans and polenta. A helpful cookbook: Not Your Mother's Slowcooker ((or something like that).

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  3. I use our rice cooker in much of a similar fashion, for oatmeal and other breakfast porridges.

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  4. I ordered the Cuisinart model this weekend precisely because you can brown directly in the unit. It changes everything. I can't wait to start using it.

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  5. My experience of a slow cooker wasn't a good one, the meat tasted strange, so I've gone back to using a pressure cooker. I never tried cooking oatmeal (porridge in the uk) or baked potatoes, but a friend has told me they're good for a rice pudding.

    The slow cooker I had was an inexpensive one where you couldn't use the crock pot for browning or in a conventional oven, I gave it away as I didn't use it.

    From what you say, you are making good use of your new cooker, and saving money in the long run.

    Bon Apetite

    Mme UK

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  6. I try to use my slow cooker once weekly. I have never tried to brown meat in it. Not sure mine can, actually. It may not save on prep time but it can be done early in the day and the serving time is very flexible. It does give me a nice change from the late afternoon dinner scurry. I use mine on Thursdays when I run all my errands. After that I am usually too pooped to start dinner.

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