It’s no secret that I recently tried to get on the electric pressure cooker bandwagon–and surprisingly I was not a fan (I was expecting to love it)! So, I have to say that I was a little skeptical when I was asked if I would try the new Crock-Pot® Express Crock Multi-Cooker (which we are giving away below!) and share my honest opinion for today’s sponsored post*. I absolutely LOVE my Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker, so I decided it was worth giving the pressure cooker one more try using a different brand.
For this experiment, I decided to make a recipe that could be made in a slow cooker, but would require some stove top prep cooking first. Cutting out extra dirty dishes is definitely one of the advantages I did see with the electric pressure cooker when I tried it; you can do any sautéing that is required right in the appliance. I also picked a recipe that’s typically best cooked for a long period, Bolognese Sauce.
Based on my previous experience with pressure cookers, surprisingly, the Crock-Pot® Express Crock was easy to use. I guess a little practice is what it takes with these appliances, but I have to say (and I promise no one is paying me to say this!) half the problems I had before with pressure cookers were a non-issue with this one. And, in addition to being a pressure cooker, it can also steam, slow cook, and brown/sauté foods as well.
There were some differences I noticed right away. First of all the insert stayed put instead of spinning all around when I was using the sauté function. Secondly, the recipes that came with the machine were very straightforward. I feel that when you are using a new appliance with a variety of buttons it’s nice when the directions tell you exactly what to push and when with no assumptions! And lastly, I was pleased to see there was a “start button.” Much like you feel the need to hit “save” on a document or “exit” before closing a program, this was something I felt was missing on similar appliances in the past.
In the end, the Bolognese Sauce tasted great and only took a fraction of the time. Here’s the recipe for you!
Bolognese Sauce (Pressure Cooked)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 4 carrots peeled and diced
- 4 ribs celery diced
- 4 ounces diced pancetta
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt plus extra for taste
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper red or black, plus extra for taste
- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
- Press BROWN/SAUTE, set the temperature to HIGH and then press START/STOP. Add the olive oil and cook the onions, carrots and celery while stirring until they begin to soften, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add the pancetta, beef and pork, season with a few shakes of salt and pepper and cook while stirring until brown all the way through, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Add the wine and cook until reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper along with both cans of tomatoes. Press START/STOP to turn off the saute function.
- Secure the lid. Press MEAT/STEW, set pressure to HIGH and adjust the time to 15 minutes. Make sure the STEAM RELEASE VALVE is in the "SEAL" (closed position). Press START/STOP.
- Once cooking is complete and the pressure is released (either manually or automatically), open the lid.
- Optional, but recommended: Spoon off some of the liquid and/or turn back on to the BROWN/SAUTE setting to boil off the liquid for a thicker sauce (as pictured).
- Serve on a bed of cooked whole-wheat noodles topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
- We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
- Gluten-free if served over gluten-free noodles.
- Dairy-free if parmesan cheese topping is omitted.
About the Crock-Pot® Express Crock + a Meal Plan
With it’s multi-functionality, the Crock-Pot® Express Crock can be used to make many other recipes as well. Not only does it work as a pressure cooker, but it also can make all of your slow cooker meals, too. This one appliance can actually slow cook, pressure cook, steam, and brown and saute. Having so many ways to use it, the meal ideas are endless. Here is a weekly plan for some inspiration to get you started!
Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken
Easy Steak Chili
Gluten-free, Dairy-free Carrot Soup
Flank Steak Fajitas
Now it’s time to give away a Crock-Pot® Express Crock so you can try it yourself! Enter below and one lucky winner will be chosen and notified by January 5th, 2018 via email (so make sure you use a good email address).
*This post is sponsored by the Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker brand, however all opinions are mine alone.