The Crockpot Slow Cooker is a special electric pot used for low temperature cookingin fact, it never exceeds 90°C inside the pot. We chose the Crockpot brand model to test this kind of cooking, which is very special and offers advantages in terms of taste and nutrition.
The Crockpot (CSC052X) is a 4.7-quart slow cooker allows you to prepare food using the slow cooking method. Meat (chicken and beef), vegetables, sauces, as well as soups and minestrone, even pasta and desserts: this model allows you to prepare meals for 4/5 people.
Using the Crockpot is quite simple: has a digital timer to set the cooking time, two heat settings (HIGH and LOW), L’AutoKeepWarm indicator If we are not there when the cooking cycle ends, it is automatically activated at the end of cooking and a hold button stop cooking.
The 4.7-liter container is made of lithoceramics, can be used in the oven if you need to form a crust on the surface, not on gas stoves, electric plates or grills; the the lid is made of tempered glass being able to observe the food during cooking; it is advisable to keep it closed during cooking, and in any case for at least the first two hours, so that the heat accumulates.
Both the bowl and lid are dishwasher safe; the heating base should never be immersed in water, so you need a soft cloth soaked in warm water with a little soap to clean the outside.
What are the benefits of slow cooking?
Why it takes 6 or 8 hours to cook a meal, it can be less with a cooking machine or traditional cooking. First of all, convenience: once you start cooking, you can forget about the pot. With an electric slow cooker, you can safely cook food and spend time doing other thingsbecause there is no need to cook and stir.
During slow cooking at a low temperature (remember that the casserole does not exceed 90 °) there is no risk of food burning and vitamins and minerals are better preserved for healthier and tastier food.; In fact, the controlled and maintained temperature does not distort the organoleptic properties and the food retains its natural color.
Besides, cooking takes place evenly and there is no risk of the food remaining raw on the inside and burning on the outside. On the contrary, at high temperatures, liquids are released and meats tend to harden, losing their tenderness and flavor.
The moisture created inside is enough to cook food, so no need for copious amounts of butter or oil not to burn the food and to cook hermetically so that the flavors do not spill and even the use of salt is moderate.
With the slow cooker you can prepare different recipes that you can keep in the fridge or freezer and use when needed, for example if we have to make lasagna and if we need a ragù or soup to freeze and use in the cold winter. evenings.
This is the only reserve some recipes require a roasting step first, which the Crockpot doesn’t provide.
What can you cook with a crockpot?
A slow cooker is mainly used for cooking meat dishes, chicken cacciatore, beef stew with stewed meat or pork shank with beer, preparing ribs for barbecue. A slow cooker allows you to do it even sauces like ragù vegetables like caponata, soup or minestrone barleyfish like octopus with tomatoes or cuttlefish with peas, even First courses like Milanese risotto or dessert too crème caramel or crème brûlee with orange.
There are many recipes to prepare, some are listed in the included instruction manual, and others can be found on the Crockpot website; The main thing is to follow the recommended cooking times or adjust the times of our recipes according to the table below:
|COOKING WITH THE CROCKPOT
|COOKING WITH THE CROCKPOT
|15 to 30 minutes||4-6 hours||1 ½ to 2 hours|
|30 to 45 minutes||6-10 hours||3-4 hours|
|From 50 minutes to 3 hours||8-10 hours||4-6 hours|
Obviously, it is necessary according to the needs Consider prep times even if you have at least 4 hours of keep warm (it is recommended not to exceed this time in the instruction manual) or save in any case some food in the refrigerator or freezer once made, such as soups or sauces.
It is good to remember this the liquid called for in the slow cooker recipe doubles during cooking therefore, in the case of adapting a “traditional” recipe, it is necessary to reduce the amount of liquid before starting to cook.
We wanted to test if the benefits of the crockpot were real, and we tried to make three dishes: braised in red wine, caponata, and lentil soup. There all the dishes were very simple to prepare and the results were really great: only the times should be calculated according to the needs. For the dishes we made, the instructions in the recipe were followed exactly, including the recommendation not to overfill the pot (no more than three-quarters full), because, as mentioned, the liquid doubles during cooking.
Braised in red wine, it’s soft and delicious
To prepare braised meat in red wine, you first had to place the meat in a pan over high heat to sear it before cooking it in the pan. Then the piece of meat was put in the pot along with vegetables, salt and a glass of red wine. We set the LOW mode to 10 hours (5 hours can be expected in the high mode). The the result was very tender and tasty cooked meat.
Lentil soup, delicious legumes
The procedure for making the lentil soup was really simple: it was fried in a pan with carrots and onions and then transferred to the Crockpot with well-washed lentils, potatoes, tomatoes and vegetable broth. Everything was cooked on LOW for 8 hours. Finally, for those who prefer more creaminess, stir in about a third of the soup. Again the result was one good and tasty soup at the right point.
Caponata, good and beautiful
After cutting the vegetables, they are put in a pot with oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar and tomato sauce, then cooked at a low temperature for 4 hours. Later, basil, olives and capers were added. Very tasty food and also “beautiful” to look at.
Without a doubt, the biggest advantage of using a CrockPot is the ability to get good, tasty meals and leave it running while you go out for errands or meetings; thus it is possible to optimize times and not staying home to cook for fear the food might stick to the pan.
The tip is to put the fork in while cooking, because of course the Crockpot heats up when it’s running and has to stay for many hours even if we’re not there, it’s good to protect the shelves it’s placed on.
How Much Does the CrockPot Really Consume?
We measured CrockPot consumption during our preparations. In practice, the system has only one operating level – this can be detected by analyzing the consumption – switching on / off according to the temperature to be achieved. The boiler uses about 190 watts of power when “pushed” but is not always “on” in normal operation.
To be practical, cooking at a lower temperature for 4 hours used about 0.55 kWh for an average of 135 watts. And cooking for 4 hours at the highest temperature uses all available power and consumes about 0.76 kWh of energy. With the current costs of electricity, particularly high, the costs on the account, depending on the operating mode, are about 22 and 30 euro cents respectively for the entire 4 hours of cooking.
Obviously, if longer cooking times are set, consumption and costs will be recalculated proportionally.
A “minor” pain point is the length of the power cord: it’s very short, so you need an extension cord to reach most power outlets. In addition, it is necessary to take into account the size of the pot, of course, it is not compact, so it is necessary to carefully evaluate the available space in the kitchen.
The model reviewed does not offer the ability to program the cooking start time, but simply has a simple smart socket to “plug it in”.. Simply press the standby button to stop cooking the CrockPot CSC052X, and to turn it off, simply unplug it.
Bottom line, slow cook for slow cooking
A slow cooker is not a suitable device for those who want quick meals ready in a short time, it takes hours to get the final result. it’s best to calculate the necessary cooking times and plan accordingly. It is advisable to first follow the suggested recipes with the correct dosages of ingredients, then with experience you can adapt your recipes to Crockpot use. The tested 4.7 liter Crockpot CSC052X has a list price 104.90 euros.