There was much excitement this week, when the lovely people at Sunbeam sent us a VersaCook Multi Cooker X5 to review. It is an all-in-one electronic multi cooker that can be used as a deep fryer, frypan, slow cooker, saucepan, and steamer. 5 Appliances in one – how is that for space saving! One of the best features is that there is no need for separate pans – so if you need to brown meat before popping it in the slow cooker, it can all be done in the same unit, thereby reducing the clean up time. It has an electronic display which makes it easy to select the function required.
To put it through its paces, we made up a big batch of Meatballs in Tomato Sauce.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 kg minced meat (you can use a combination of pork, veal or beef. We used premium beef mince.)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon oregano
400g crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper
parsley and basil to garnish (optional)
1. Using Brown function, heat half the oil on 190 deg C. When pre-heated add onion and garlic. Cook stirring until soft. Remove from pan.
2. Transfer half the onion mixture to a large bowl. Add mince, breadcrumbs, egg and herbs. Season with salt and pepper. mix to combine. Roll mixture into balls.
3. Using the Brown function, heat remaining oil on 210 deg C. Cook the meatballs in batches until browned. Return remaining onion to the pan with tomatoes, tomato paste, stock and passata.
4. Cover with lid. Using Slow Cooker function, cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3 hours. Garnish with chopped parsley and basil leaves. Serve with pasta.
(recipe courtesy of Sunbeam)
What we loved most about the VersaCook is:
- Compact unit – takes up less room in the kitchen that all 5 appliances. We don’t eat a lot of fried food so would not invest in a deep fryer but it will be handy to be able to deep fry occasionally.(Sarah is keen to make some doughnuts and churros!)
- Reduces the need for separate pans which means less washing up and cleaning.
- Easy to operate with electronic display, temperature control; and timer.
- Slow cooker will keep food warm for 4 hours. This is great for nights when the teens work and we all eat dinner at different times.
- Non stick pot is so much easier to clean than our existing slow cooker which has a heavy ceramic pot. It is also dishwasher safe.
- It comes complete with basket for deep fryer and two racks for the steamer.