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After years of cooking endless meals, I was fairly happy with my pan selection. I had the big beefy one for stews, the little cast iron one for the oven, several sizes of frying pans for omelettes, stir-fries and the like, and a whole stack of smaller ones for random foods like heating baked beans and boiling broccoli.
I have never, however, been able to find a pan to make a stew, risotto or paella in that doesn't end up with my carefully planned dish encrusted on the base like ancient rust. I never intend to burn the food, but you turn your back for one second to stroke the dog, and when you look again, your dinner is suddenly filling the kitchen with acrid smoke and your lovely risotto has turned into carbonised pellets.
Sister product to the Always Pan, which I tested earlier this year and loved dearly, it promises you can use this huge, lidded pot as a "stockpot, dutch oven, saucepot, roasting rack, steamer, strainer, braiser, spoon rest," and claims you can use it to "boil, crisp, bake, braise, roast, steam, strain, pour, serve, and store."
Some of those things are possible with any old pan, let's be honest. But with the capacity for an oven roast - it features a sleek little rack for meat, which slots inside - and the ability to fry onions or meat first then add liquid, it's certainly efficient.
The first thing is, however, it's vast. Lifting it out of its lovely, eco-friendly cardboard box, it could easily double as a Barbie swimming pool, or a tea-cup for giants. You could make at least eight portions of any meal in this, so it's ideal for dinner parties, and enormous families.
Unfortunately, I live with my partner and two dogs, and while I'm veg/pescatarian, he eats more meat than a pack of starving wolves. We generally cook separate meals, sharing a three-ring gas hob, so the moment I place the huge Perfect Pot on the stove, I've blocked off 90% of his cooking opportunities.
Even putting it in the oven requires a significant reshuffling of shelves to make space, particularly with its lid on.
Since it arrived last week, however, I've used it to cook several solo dinners, to give it a good run out in the wild. I tried risotto first; the scourge (and scour) of all pans. The Perfect Pot comes with a wooden spatula that fits neatly on the handle - and long as you don't use metal to stir, the eco-friendly ceramic coating remains shiny as the day it left the factory. The risotto cooked faster than the usual glacial stirring experience, with everything cooking at the same rate due to excellent conduction and the pot was gleamingly clean with a single speedy wash.
Next, I tried a vegetable stew, slow-cooking the onions in oil first, then adding all the vegetables, herbs and liquid. It was all done in an hour, and once again, the ceramic pot came up smiling. Steaming on the circular rack was easy, and when I gave it over to my carnivorous partner to try an oven roast, he reported back that it had been surprisingly easy, with the meat roasting gently on the rack while the fat dripped through.
The best thing about the Perfect Pot, though, is its weight. It's a third as heavy as a cast-iron oven dish of similar size, so I didn't sprain anything carrying it around. It's also very stylish, and comes in seven matt, muted kitchen- friendly shades, from Blue Salt to Sage to Lavender.
The main problem is where to store it. Its vast capacity is not going to slot into a drawer - but then again, it's so useful you might want to simply keep it on the stove and throw things in as you pass.
The Perfect Pot is currently reduced from £140 to £110 for Black Friday so now is the ideal time to snap it up.
Perfect Pot | £110 (Was £140) from Our Place
Always Pan | £85 (Was £125) from Our Place
Home Cook Duo | £185 (Was £265) from Our Place
Watch: How to find the best Black Friday deals