|Breville Fast Slow Cooker
Some of the most successful electronic consumer products in history were born by combining two or more functions into one appliance. Think clock radio, or toaster oven.
Users of the latter give up a little something in exchange for the advantages of having a convenient, energy efficient countertop alternative to their full size oven: toaster ovens don’t toast sliced bread as well as most toasters do. There is no such performance trade-off with an electric pressure cooker that doubles as a slow cooker, in spite of the opposite nature of the two cooking methods.
European manufacturer Fagor, a market leader in the stovetop pressure cooker category, realized this five years ago when it released its 3-in-1 6-quart multi-cooker, which triples as a rice cooker, and which is still available for $90. Since then, several manufacturers have released programmable countertop multi-function cookers. While these appliances can use only one cooking mode at a time — limitation if you own a single appliance to pressure-cook, slow cook, cook rice, steam or warm — the obvious advantage is that you needn’t own several specialty devices to accomplish those individual tasks.
Breville’s new entry into the multi-cooking electric category, the Fast Slow Cooker, sells for $150, and seems to embody the high design standards the Australian manufacturer is known for. As with most pressure cookers, the pot and lid are round, to best provide for the seal necessary to raise the pressure in the pot; high pressure raises the boiling point of the cooking fluids, which raises the cooking temperature (up to 250 F*), allowing the food to cook more quickly. A by-product of this approach is that the food retains more flavor and nutrients.
At the other end of the cooking-time spectrum is slow cooking, typically a 6–10-hour process done in an oval-shaped countertop crock pot with a lid. Well-made slow cookers have accurate internal thermostats that maintain consistent temperatures, particularly important when tenderizing large cuts of tough meat. While many slow cookers are oval-shaped to better accommodate whole chickens, pot roasts, pork shoulders, and other large, oblong food, the 6-quart Breville Fast Slow Cooker is cylindrical, a possible limitation for large cuts of the aforementioned cuts of meat.
The Breville provides full programmability needed for controlled pressure cooking, slow cooking, steaming, and warming. The brushed stainless steel Breville Fast Slow Cooker includes a stainless steel steaming tray/trivet, heat-resistant spatula, serving spoon, and measuring cup.
Breville Fast Slow Cooker