The 10 Best slow cookers
With the warm weather still some way off, it's the perfect time to invest in a pot that makes easy work of stews and soups...
Thursday 11 April 2013
This makes delicious stews with rich, smooth sauces, on both the low and high settings, and it couldn't be easier to operate. But be warned, it's on the small side so it's not great for larger households, but ideal if you're cooking for two.
The divided cooking pot and different temperature settings mean you can make two meals at the same time and the 6-litre capacity makes it good for large families. Stews are particularly tasty, although downsides include a lack of timer and keep-warm functions.
You'll need to be patient since this takes a good couple of hours longer than other models to make a decent casserole. But it's worth the wait as meat is tender and sauces are smooth. It's dishwasher safe and roasts meat well, including chickens.
Sous vide cooking is the posh version of slow cooking and has been popular in top-notch restaurants for decades. Simply seal your seasoned food in a vacuum bag, submerge it in the 9-litre water bath, then walk away for anything from one to 72 hours, depending on the recipe. The results will blow you away.
At first glance, this doesn't have much going for it. There's no timer, it's not dishwasher-safe and the cool-touch handles don't really work. But it roasts meat beautifully and stews are great, too, as long as you use plenty of liquid. The keep-warm function is also effective.
Crock-Pots are synonymous with slow cooking in the States and with good reason – they are exceptional machines that also look the part. This family-sized one makes fantastic casseroles and roasts and includes a handy timer that stops the cooking when the food's ready.
This versatile machine does it all, acting as a slow cooker, rice cooker and steamer, as well as cooking everything from porridge to puddings. It's packed with nifty features, including a timer, lockable lid and cool-touch handles, although it's not so great at roasting.
This fries, steams and cooks rice as well as slow cooks, all with impressive results. Be warned: the slow cooking is considerably faster than many other models, though, with the ideal cooking time around five hours. Make sure you own a pair of oven gloves, since there are no proper handles.
Lakeland claims this is like having a buddy in the kitchen and such is the capability of this extraordinary machine that you can see what they mean. You just throw in the ingredients and select one of 11 cooking functions and press start. Bake, steam, stew, shallow fry, boil or slow cook and there's even a setting exclusively for rice and pasta.
You can remove the cooking pot from the base and put it in the fridge, freezer, oven or on the hob, not to mention the dishwasher when you've finished your slow-cooked feast. There's a brilliant recipe book in case you run out of ideas, although it's not much cop for roasting.
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