(Disclosure: I was provided with a Fast Slow Pro for the purposes of this review. All opinions are honest and my own, as always!)
Slow cookers seem to have become a bit of a thing lately…
I don’t know if it’s just because I became a mom and now it’s like: “how can I be as effortlessly efficient as humanly possible?” Or if it’s because there’s more awareness around being healthier and cooking at home at least lets you control everything that goes in your food.
Whatever it is, I’ve entered more “slow cooker groups” and “challenges” than I can remember.
What I’ve never tried, however, is a pressure cooker.
A pressure cooker has actually never been on my radar, because every time they bust one out on Masterchef or any other cooking competition show – the judges are all: “Oooh, are you sure you want to use a pressure cooker? Do you know what you’re doing? Do you really think that’s a good idea?”
Nope, nope, nope.
But when I was asked to review the Breville Fast Slow Pro – I actually did a little research and got more acquainted with what a pressure cooker actually does. After all the Fast Slow Pro is a slow cooker, and a pressure cooker in one. The more I read about it, the more envisioned all the possibilities.
Roasts done in less than an hour as opposed to 6 in the oven? You’re joking, right? But look at the user menu below and all the different features:
This is bonkers. Because this is a pressure cooker, it’s able to get up to really high temperatures which means searing, sautéing and reducing are part of the package. Because it has a closing lid and a floating basket, it can also steam your fish or veggies.
I think the most convenient “beginner” feature (if you don’t know your way around a pressure cooker) is the fact that you can sear inside the slow cooker.
Truth be told I’m kinda lazy and anytime I make anything in the slow cooker, I, well… I just skip the searing step. Because *enhhhh* with the extra pan and the extra mess when I’m supposedly making a one pot meal.
With the Fast Slow Pro, you can sear, press a button, and it switches to slow cooker mode. Kind of a game changer, people.
For this review I grabbed a recipe online for Slow Cooker Beef Roast except changed a few things – namely using beer instead of water, adding celery, and using 4.5 onions instead of 1. (What. We like onions.)
I was able to start caramelizing the onions in the same pot right after taking out the beef!
Afterwards, I put everything back into the Fast Slow Pro and poured my mushroom soup/beer/Worcestershire mixture all over it.
Then, I just fiddled with the settings and set it to slow cook for just a bit over 5 hours. (Because it was noon and I have had some previous mishaps with overestimating the weight of the meat.)
My guess paid off! 5 hours 15 mins worked perfectly because the meat was sooo incredibly tender and was falling apart with a spoon. I used a tough cut as well – a round roast – so overcooking was not even an option. The beer might have also played a part in tenderizing the meat, so I guess I’ll just have to experiment and play around with the recipe.
As tasty as it was, I may have used a little too much beer because instead of sauce, I got soup. No freaking fear: I just had to set the Fast Slow Pro to reduce and there it went, reducing all the liquid. As you do, right? Didn’t have to lift a finger.
Pressure Cooker Function
I tried the pressure cooker function three times before actually reviewing it just to get myself acquainted with the process of pressure cooking in general. Here is what I’ve learned:
Weigh the meat, weigh the meat, weigh the meat.
I’m really bad at sight measuring. Ask me to estimate how many people are in a stadium and I’ll be like: “ummm, 8,000?”
No. More like 25,000, but thanks for coming out.
So imagine I knew what 2 lbs, or 4 lbs of meat looked like. Forget it. It’s just not in my skill set. I was constantly overestimating how much time was needed to cook.
For this part of the review, I decided to make something that was different than the beef roast – so I made a chili instead. I looked up a recipe for “pressure cooker chili” just to see what the suggested times were.
“8 Minute Pressure Cooker Chili” seemed to be the answer, which required browning the ground beef in the Fast Slow Pro before starting the pressure cooking process. Here are my results:
Why did the “8 Minute Pressure Cooker Chili” take me 30 minutes?
- Preheating the sauté function: 2 minutes
- Browning the beef: 5 minutes
- Draining the beef: 2 minutes (I did it with a ladle)
- Adding rest of ingredients and mixing: 1 minute
- Closing the lid and bringing Fast Slow Pro to pressure: 10 minutes
- Actual pressure cooker time: 8 minutes
- Depressurizing (auto-quick setting): 2 minutes
So it’s not actually “8 minutes,” and prepping all the ingredients is on top of all of that.
BUT: does the pressure cooker save time regardless of this math?
I would absolutely say yes. When I made the other pressure cooker roasts, I cooked it for 40 minutes (under pressure) and the whole thing took about an hour – keep in mind, this was overcooked. So I could have easily changed the cook time to 30 or even 25 mins.
A roast in UNDER an hour.
This is revolutionary. I can’t believe this isn’t more popular. Why have I not paid attention to pressure cooking until now?? This means you can come home from work, pop in your ingredients, and in about the same amount of time it takes to watch an episode of Greys Anatomy, have a delicious hot meal that looks like it took you hours to prepare.
This is also awesome for people who yearn to use a slow cooker while they are away, but are afraid of pets at home getting into it during the day and causing a massive disaster.
And the different settings that the Fast Slow Pro offers means that you don’t have to be a carnivore to use it, either:
On the right hand menu, choose the type of food you want to cook. Then, the Fast Slow Pro gives you a suggested duration, pressure level, and depressurization style to suit your dish best. Of course these are only guidelines and are completely adjustable, but it gives you a ballpark idea of where you need to end up. Really handy for pressure cooker newbies like me.
I’ve realized that this is also such a valuable tool for parties or entertaining where you:
- don’t want to be tied to the stove the whole time
- NEED to be tied to the stove but are running out of burners, pots and pans, or oven space.
(Oh my gosh: I just realized this means you can cook a roast in the Fast Slow Pro AND a cake in the oven at the same time without having to tend to anything. They could even start at the same time if the recipe allows. Mind blown!!!)
I’m incredibly impressed by the Fast Slow Pro’s multipurpose capabilities and all the time, energy, mess, money and effort it can save. I would even go as far as saying ditch your slow cookers, your rice cookers, your steamers, and your dutch ovens because this one does it all.
This seriously is the one kitchen appliance that every busy, time-starved mama needs in her life. The less time you have, the more you need this if you want hearty home cooked meals in a fraction of the time.