Slow Cooker vs Dutch Oven – Is the Battle Real?
This is the time of the year, where we finally can find in our local food stores, meat from local farms. You may wonder why I am so excited about that, and here is why: in Norway, we don’t have access to fresh cut meat, as there are no butcheries, so we have to rely solely on the products we can buy in supermarkets. And you all know the quality of the supermarket brought food. Well, if you are a really into buying products from local farms, you can find here and there small farms, and get in contact directly with the farmer, but normally you need to know someone that knows someone, who knows a farmer. Or something like that.
My connections are not that wide, so that is why I like to take advantage whenever I see fresh products from local farms for sale. This week I found some lamb cuts from Roros, which is a very nice area, with some mining history, reindeer hunting, and dog sledge trips. The meat contains a lot of bones, so I decided to slow cook it, together with some root vegetables, cabbage, and potatoes.
However, my last slow cooker got “lost” while we moved from our last place, last year, so, this time, I will have to use my Dutch oven to slow cook the meat. I have dropped some hints to my husband that I would really like to have a slow cooker for Christmas this year, and most precisely the Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S-A 6-Quart Cook. Thus, the reason for writing this post as well (extra bonus points for me, if he reads it, and I’ll make sure he does). Why this model you may ask? Besides the premium features, I love the price. I think is very affordable, and not at all an expensive Christmas gift, and the quality/price ratio is quite high, in my opinion. If you want to read more about other slow cooker that we have reviewed, you can do so by going to our post on the best slow cookers.
- 6 quart Cook & Carry Slow Cooker serves 7+ people
- Digital countdown control lets you program cook times anywhere from 30...
- Easy to use locking lid featuring lid gasket provides extra seal for less...
- All Crock Pot Slow Cooker removable stone inserts (without lid) may be used...
- Works on 240 Watts at 120V A.C. and 60Hz
We are a family of 4, so it is big enough to serve us, and our guests if we have any, as it can prepare food for 7+ people (Adults). I personally like to cook more food than needed (at least double the quantity we would eat at one serving) and freeze the rest for another time, when we are busy, or not in the mood to cook. Yes, the freezer is my second-best friend! (the first one being the kitchen dishwasher machine).
When you have 2 small kids (5 and 2 years old) you will appreciate any electronic cooking device that lets you program the cooking time, put in on, and not worry about it until the food is ready, when, of course, it will inform you. I can’t remember how many times I forgot the food on stove, and we had a very burnt smelly food for dinner. As I am writing this post, the Dutch oven is on the stove, slowly cooking my lamb and vegetables stew, and I hope I will not forget about it in the next 2 hours.
The slow cooker dishwasher safe, stove safe, oven safe, and microwave safe, so it can be used for multiple purposes. Just remember to take the stone inserts out of the casing (do not put the electrical parts in the oven/microwave/dishwasher or on the stove).
Advantanges and Disadvantages of a Slow Cooker vs a Dutch Oven
Using a Dutch oven instead of a slow cooker can have its own advantages, I suppose. I sometimes like to control what I am doing, and I like to check the food from time to time, so I can see the beauty in cooking old style. Especially if you are outdoors and prepare a larger meal from friends or family. I am a big fan of using my Dutch oven, which is the Lodge 5 Quart Cast Iron Dutch Oven, by the way, but mostly when I am baking bread. I love the crust that the bread get because I take the lid off in the last 5 minutes of baking, but also the way the bread is steamed cooked, which gives the bread a fluffier texture.
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Although sometimes the fact that you need to constantly check on the food might be something that you enjoy, most of the time this is a disadvantage. I would rather have my lamb stew cooked in a slow cooker, for several hours, than constantly checking on the Dutch oven for 2 or 3 hours.
Does the Food Taste Better in A Dutch Oven Rather Than A Slow Cooker?
Some people argue that the food tastes better when you are cooking in a cast iron oven, but I am not sure that is completely true. It depends of course in each one’s taste, but I can’t see that I noticed a big difference in taste myself. If I were to cook the food on a open fire stove, then, yes, I would definitely pick the Dutch oven taste over the slow cooker, but since my stove is electric, I don’t taste the difference in the food.
How Long Does It Take to Cook with a Slow Cooker vs a Dutch Oven?
As when it comes to cooking times, a slow cooker will take more than 5 hours (even 10, depending on the meat cut you are using). A pressure cooker will do the same job in less time, around 1 hour and 30 minutes. With the Dutch oven, I am expecting the lamb meat to be done in around 2 hours or so. I also have to mention that the cuts are quite small, so it will not take that long before the meat will fall off the bones.
And yes, when you are cooking with a Dutch oven, you don’t really slow cook (although you can set your stove on really low power and wait for ages). But who has the time to wait for 3-5 hours, and check for it every 30 minutes or so? Not me at least, so that is why, instead of having the stove on 4-5 (maximum being 15), I keep it on 8, so I actually slow-fast cook the lamb stew.
In conclusion, I think the slow cooker wins over the Dutch oven when it comes to cooking meat and vegetables, however, the cast iron oven has its own advantages when baking bread. I would also use a Dutch oven when I am cooking rice, or making pasta sauces (as you need to evaporate the water out of the sauce, which you can’t do with a slow cooker). To sum it up, I would use the slow cooker for meet and vegetables, and the Dutch oven for rice, and pasta sauces.
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