I bought the Crock-Pot Saute Countdown Slow Cooker three months ago and since then it has been working hard. Stews, soups, large joints of meat, sponge desserts and a poached whole chicken have been slow cooked. The black pot has been used separately and used to sauté onions and meat on my gas cooker top. It has cooked meals in the oven. I have prepped meals ready for slow cooking in the next morning and stored the pot in the fridge overnight ready for the slow cooker in the morning. All this cooking yet the cleaning-up was a doodle as the pot can be put into a dishwasher.
I ordered the slow cooker from Amazon and it arrived within a couple of days with the usual confirmation of order and dispatch you would expect of Amazon.
Packaging and Contents
The slow cooker came well packaged with a good protection around the ceramic pot using cardboard inners and polystyrene. Thus the slow cooker came in excellent condition.
The label they had stuck inside the pot was a little too sticky and required a little soaking in some warm water to remove but wasn’t really an issue.
Included in the box is an instruction manual, a detachable electric cord, a recipe book/pamphlet and the metal heated slow cooker surround.
The 5.7 litre pot is the biggest slow cooker I have cooked with. There is no getting away from the fact it is big and heavy as you would expect from a large ceramic pot. It quite happily cooks a meal for 6 adults. My family consists of 2 adults and 3 children so I am always guaranteed some leftovers.
The external measurements for the black cooking pot are
- Length – 39.5cm
- Width – 30cm
- Depth with lid on – 22cm
The countdown timer is a lovely new feature for me. You can set your slow cooker up. Turn it to the temperature you need it at and then set the timer to cook from 30 minutes to 20 hours! Once the timer has finished the slow cooker will turn the cooker off and switch to warm mode. The beauty of this is that it can prevent your dinner over cooking. Say for example you go out to work and turn the cooker on for 8 hours but for some reason you are delayed. You can’t get home to turn your slow cooker off. However if you have set the timer you know that your dinner isn’t stewing away and it is instead being kept warm for when you return.
An ‘On’ Light
Having a power ‘on’ green light is useful for me. I have mentioned before that my previous slow cooker hadn’t got a light to show when it was on. This concerned me as you could easily not realise it was on and burn yourself. This slow cooker however has a very bright, green light (don’t look straight into it it’s very bright). No mistaking when this is on.
One of the biggest reasons I chose this slow cooker apart from it’s size and the countdown timer was the ability to use the cooking pot to sauté vegetables or meat. With this slow cooker I am able to brown or sear meats prior to adding any more
In addition to being able to sauté in it I also find the ability to use it on the cooker top really useful if you need your dinner a little quicker than you previously thought. I have done this with bolognese before when I have needed to go out in the evening. No need to decant into a suitable saucepan. Just move the pot from the slow cooker unit and place on top of your gas or electric cooker top and stir away until it is ready to serve.
Now for the really important part..the slow cooking. Getting a big slow cooker which was oval instead of round like my previous one meant the very first thing I wanted to cook in it was a whole chicken. I decided upon the Chicken Noodle Soup recipe and I managed to get lots of vegetables, stock and a whole chicken into the pot without any trouble and it cooked it to perfection. Really tender and fell off the bones.
I have since then cooked Balsamic beef stew, many different casseroles, vegetable soups, Prawn Chowder, and a few desserts. All absolutely delicious. The meats were tender, the vegetables soft, the flavours were richly developed and the food cooked evenly.
When doing my research I had found a few reviews commented that it cooks too fast or too hot. I have found it does cook hot if you don’t put enough liquid in or if you try to cook with the pot half full. Whenever I use this slow cooker I always make sure there is enough liquid in it and that the ingredients in the pot come to above half way. If they are lower I reduce the cooking time.
As with any new appliance you need to get used to it. Find out how it works and what works best. But really I have had some great results with it and I am happy to recommend to anyone with the proviso that they use the right amount of liquid and adjust according to the quantity of food in it.
I just have to have slow cookers that can go in the dishwasher. The ease of being able to cook in one pot can surely only be teamed with satisfaction of being able to place it in the dishwasher after you have eaten. Because of its size the lid and pot do take up one rack of the dishwasher at the bottom but clean very well.
I have noticed that because this is a ceramic pot and not a non-stick one food can occasionally stick around the sides. When this happens I just let the pot cool for a bit then add some warm soapy water inside the pot and let it sit there until I can gently wash with a soft sponge. I would caution against leaving the pot immersed in water as the base can be porous and long soaking may damage it. You may like to look at my advice on How To Look After Your Slow Cooker.
The detachable electric cord is a simple idea which means a lot when it comes to storage. The amount of space it saves because it does not have something sticking out the back is noticeable. No more extra cord twirling around the back of the cooker. I simple detach it, place it in a plastic bag (to prevent scratching) and store it inside the slow cooker pot. Easy and tidy.
The instructions also say you are able to reheat food in the microwave using this pot. I unfortunately have not been able to try this as my microwave is too small and cannot accommodate the roomy cooking pot.
How useful it is now for me to know I have an extra cooking pot should I even need one for the oven. I have even increased by cupboard space by giving away a big ceramic pot I had. No need for two pots when the slow cooker pot can do it just as well.
From reading the above it will come as no surprise to you that I am very, very pleased with my Crock-Pot Slow Cooker. It really has provided us with some delicious meals. Here is a quick analysis of the positives and negatives of this slow cooker from my point-of-view:
Positives would be:
- Ability to sauté
- Countdown timer
- Ceramic pot
- Cooks food perfectly
- Perfect size for cooking for 6 or a family of 5 (with leftovers)
- Can be used in the oven
- Goes in the dishwasher
- Well packaged
Negatives would have to be:
- Doesn’t have a timer for switching itself on
- Quite heavy
- Doesn’t have a glass lid to look at meal while cooking
- Needs to be cooked at least 3/4 full
- Ceramic Pots can break if you drop them
- Average recipe book
Interested in buying this slow cooker? Have a look at Amazon for more details, reviews and prices.