As I mentioned in another thread, I'm looking for a new something or other for my kitchen. I think that I like the idea of a slow cooker since I work full time and have 2 small children.
During lunch today, I went to Williams-Sonoma (to get a gift for my sister) and I saw this All-Clad slow cooker:
There is another model that is less expensive as well. The sales person was very informative and she told me that the Deluxe model has a cast-aluminum insert, which is good because you can brown the meat on the stove and then just stick the insert back into the unit without dirtying another pot or pan. Sounded logical to me.
I have never used a slow cooker before (although I do many oven braises), and I never thought about the need to brown meat prior to slow cooking in this machine.
So I have a few questions:
-- Is it an advantage to have the cast-aluminum insert for browning? Is browning necessary for most slow cooking?
-- While this is a gift for me, is it necessary to spend so much money on the All-Clad model? If not, what are some that are good?
-- What is the difference between a slow cooker and a pressure cooker? Is one "better" or more versatile than the other?
Thanks for any and all answers!