This is an entirely unsolicited, unsubsidized review of the Crock Pot Express and a few cookbooks relating to the appliance. While there will be Amazon affiliate links, that’s as far as it goes.
Miss part 1? Start here.
Day 2–Is it really risotto?
The Crock Pot Express has a rice/risotto function but I am, to put it mildy, skeptical. Yes, the CPE was purchased, in part, to replace a flagging rice cooker, but risotto is another step.
Risotto is a method, a technique, that yields a very particular result when done correctly. I’ve heard of risotto-like-things being prepared in the microwave or on the stove with no stirring (blasphemy, I tell you) but I’ve yet to really be impressed by any.
So, of course, I had to give it a try in the electric pressure cooker, at least once.
Easiest Chicken Risotto (Stewart, 52) seemed like a good choice at first glance. Looking deeper, it didn’t specify the type of rice to use (strike one), said to use the Beans/Chili mode when there’s actually a button for “Rice/Risotto” (strike 2), and included no mantecarra–the finishing step of adding butter (and often Parmesan cheese) to gild the creamy texture that has been achieved through the slow incorporation of stock into the rice.
So I ignored several bits of the recipe as stated, going with what I knew to be better choices, and the result was… not bad. Was it the same as the risotto I would have gotten with 30 minutes or more at the stove? No. Was it a glorified chicken and rice? No, it was better than that. So it’s somewhere in the middle.
I will say it was nice to put everything together, set the timer, and go back to my office and send some emails while waiting for supper to cook in less than 20 minutes. That I didn’t mind one bit.
Day 3: I’m a believer!
As I was browning the pork shoulder (a step I’d routinely skip when using the slow-cooker, as dirtying another dish eliminated one of the big pros of a Crock Pot, for me) for the Perfect Moist and Tender Pulled Pork (Stewart, 128) tonight, I got a text from Todd saying he’d be home late.
This sounded like a good time to try out the Delay timer on the Crock Pot Express, which I set for 30 minutes, allowing plenty of time for it to achieve pressure and then cook the pork shoulder for 50 minutes and have supper more or less ready right around 7:30, when Todd would get home.
While I really wondered about whether not-quite-an-hour in the pressure cooker could really replicate fall-apart-tender pulled pork to rival a day in the slow cooker, at least this was a benchmark function of pressure cooking and I wasn’t so much skeptical as I was curious.
I set up the machine, checked at 30 minutes to make sure it had switched over to “heat” to build the necessary pressure, and went and read a book in my office. And promptly fell asleep until Todd’s boots hit the hallway at 7:45ish or so. Oh hell!
But Exie (my Crock Pot Express has a name, it is one of the family now) had my back, though, because it switched right over to Warm mode after the preset time and was ready to release the pressure and, yes, fall to pieces at the merest suggestion of the two forks.
Looks like I’ll get to use those boxes for doll rooms after all!