I was watching Rick Bayless' "Mexico, One Plate At a Time" and saw him using something like this so I tracked it down on Amazon. What a great idea -- the removable pot is made of cast aluminum and can go onto a stove top. I can saute vegetables, brown a roast and then lift the pot (using oven mitts) into the slow cooker to finish while I'm at work.
The aluminum pot's walls and bottom are about half an inch think and distribute heat evenly. I expected to find hot spots because it's oblong and my burners are round. That wasn't a problem. I've simmered marinara sauce directly on the stove top and haven't noticed any difference in temperature between the center of the pot and either end. I've also used it on the stove top to cook lasagna noodles. It's large enough to roast a whole chicken.
Sometimes slow cookers finish their cycles with everything done well, but with too much liquid left in the pot. With this one, I can just set the pot on a burner and quickly thicken the sauce.
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