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Is it worth spending 490 euros on a casserole?

22 mayo, 2021

Although the pots from the Swiss German house AMC have been in the market for more than half a century, since 1963, I admit that I had never heard of them. Perhaps it is due to his direct sales system, similar to the one that the Thermomix has brought to a good part of the upper-class houses in Spain, which only reaches those who can spend enough money.

In this case, however, we are not talking about a robot, but about a complete cooking system whose protagonist are some pots. Some pots that, at first glance, do not seem very different from those offered by any other kitchenware, but that completely change the way we are used to cooking. We talk, as he tells us David Lopez, Trainer of the company, of the “Ferrari of the kitchen”.

Ignacio Fernández-Simal, director of Thermomix:

All AMC pots and pans are made with 18/10 stainless steel (containing 18% chromium and 10% nickel in its alloy), produced in Europe by the company itself. This steel, which is usually sold under the claim of “surgical steel” –although it is not exactly the same as that used in medicine, as it also includes molybdenum–, withstands without problem up to 400º C temperature, it is very resistant and, most importantly, neutral in contact with food.

AMC pots are not the only ones on the market made from this material. In fact, AMC’s parent company has another brand, Fissler, which is sold in retail trade and is made with the same type of steel. But, as López points out, the great secret of the pots is not so much the material with which they are made, but the temperature control, which is what is truly distinctive about the product. This is achieved thanks to its base, which is almost two fingers thick and has a great capacity to accumulate heat, and the knobs of the pots – “visiotherm”, in AMC jargon -, the most distinguishable element of the brand, which have with an accurate thermometer. This is the reason why these casseroles are always used with a lid.

Pots1 The package we received from AMC for our test includes a 3.5L pot, with its standard lid and another for steaming, the Navigenio, the alarm, and all its manuals.

How to cook with AMC

The basic pot lid has a knob in which we see two logos: a cutlet and a carrot. The first indicates the ideal temperature to roast any food, the second is the right one to cook these.

Although the pots are used to make all kinds of elaborations (as in any normal casserole), the main claim of the AMC system is that can be cooked without adding water or fat. How does this work?

Vegetables can be cooked only with the excess water after rinsing them, simply by bringing the pot to the temperature indicated on the display with the carrot symbol, lowering the heat to keep it within that range, and following the appropriate times: 10 minutes for some artichokes or some peas, 25 for some potatoes or 30 for some green beans.

Pomoi The basic knob has two functions: “chop” (for roasting) and “carrot” (for cooking).

The company ensures that this method allows vegetables to retain up to 50% more vitamins, something that we are unable to verify. What is certain is that, following the instructions, the vegetables are very tasty (with a flavor more typical of roasted vegetables than cooked) and retain all their color. We have tried to make green beans and potatoes and both were wonderful.

The roasting method, ideal for meat and fish –although it can also be applied to vegetables– it is somewhat more complex. It consists of heating the pot until the temperature indicated by the cutlet symbol is reached. Then, we introduce the meat that we want to cook, cover, and lower the heat. The thermometer continues to rise and, when it reaches 90º, we must turn the piece over, cover the pot again and turn off the heat. The piece has just been cooked with residual heat.

This way of grilling is especially useful for lean meats, like chicken breast, which is golden on the outside, but juicy on the inside and very tasty.

Potatoes Potatoes cooked without water are very tasty and with a perfect texture.

A modular system

These are the cooking methods that can be done with the basic pot, which can be used on all types of heat sources, but one of the main characteristics of the AMC system is that it has all kinds of extras, which, by changing lids and knobs, transform the standard casserole into a pressure cooker or a steam cooking system.

Among the utensils loaned to Direct to the Palate by AMC to perform this analysis was the super-steam lid, which, as its name suggests, is used to steam all kinds of food, which are placed on a basket with holes – “softiera”, in AMC slang – over the pot with water.

We have made several preparations with this method: a fresh salmon and some stuffed mushrooms, and both were perfect. In this case we speak of a conventional steam cooker, only very comfortable (and fast), because thanks to the knob we can control temperatures and times very well.

Salmon collage With the super-steam lid and the basket it is possible to cook vegetables (without adding water) and a fish with steam at the same time. In just 5 min.

The advertiser and the Navigenio

It is even more comfortable to cook with AMC if we have some of the most cutting-edge add-ons in the system, the advertiser and the Navigenio.

The buzzer is a small device that it is placed on the knobs of the pots and, once aligned to the temperature at which you want to cook, it emits a sound when it is reached. In addition, it alerts you if the temperature is too high or too low. When we use the grilling function, it also beeps when it reaches 90º, which is the point at which we must turn the piece and turn off the fire.

Timer The chime can be used in conjunction with the Navigenio to schedule meals.

The truth is that, taking into account that the device is priced at 100 euros, it does not seem particularly useful either. Yes it is, however, if we use it in conjunction with the Navigenio, another of AMC’s inventions: a ceramic hob portable that is synchronized with the buzzer to control times and temperatures.

The Navigenio can be used as a normal glass ceramic hob, with a temperature graduation ranging from 1 to 6, but also in automatic mode, synchronized with the buzzer, which in turn it is coupled to the different functions of each knob. Thus, for example, if we are going to cook vegetables without water, we indicate the cooking time on the timer and place the knob on the “carrot” function: the plate automatically begins to heat until it reaches the right temperature, and remains at this until the end of cooking.

Gratinator The Navigenio can be used on the pots to gratin any food.

But perhaps the most interesting function of the Navigenio is the possibility of using them on the pots, which allows to turn them into an oven. Thanks to this, we can, for example, gratinate the stuffed mushrooms that we had steamed with cheese, without having to turn on the oven or change utensils, simply by placing the plate on the “softiera”.

We have also tried making pizzas, as they explained to us in a virtual demo about the device. Personally, I don’t see the point in trying to make pizzas on any device. It is true that, by correctly heating the base of the pots, and then placing Navigenio on top, pretty decent pizzas can be made and in a matter of minutes, but they are too small and always look better in a conventional oven with a pizza stone. It is a functionality that does not go beyond curiosity and I do not think anyone is seriously making bread in these pots.

Pizza The pizza cooked with the pot and the navigenio turned out fine, but no better than in the oven. And to fit it, you have to make very small pieces, which forces you to repeat the operation many times if you are going to eat several.

Very good pots, also very expensive

After testing the AMC system for three weeks we have understood why it has so many advocates. The pots are well designed down to the last detail: the lid can be attached to the handles, which never burn; they are easy to clean (also in the dishwasher); the edge is designed so that liquids do not drip; the lids can be used as trivets, as they are designed to place the pot on top; And they look tremendously solid – they do, in fact, have a 30-year warranty.

Even if the cooking system is counterintuitive For upstarts, you get the hang of it fast. The manuals included with each accessory are very complete, and the company has a lot of its own information on the internet, where there is also a complete repository of recipes designed expressly for its pots.

Iron, pressure or slow cooker: advantages and disadvantages (and which one to use for each type of stew)

The big stumbling block in deciding to buy an AMC pot is the price. This varies greatly depending on the product packages that we want to purchase, but in no case are we dealing with cheap utensils.

The package we have tested includes the basic 24 cm and 3.5 L pot (€ 490), the super-steam lid (€ 390) and its basket (€ 180), the alarm (€ 100) and the Navigenio (€ 870). €). Purchased separately, the pack would be priced at € 2,030, but It is sold at a price of € 1,490.

One option to enter this world is start by acquiring the basic pot –Which is what really makes the difference–, which has an approximate price of € 490. And we say “indicative” because the company does not usually sell individual pieces separately, whose price, as we have seen, is reduced depending on each package.

In our opinion, if you like to cook, what is truly interesting are the pots and their lidsNot the pager or the Navigenio, which, while comfortable, do not provide any truly significant benefits.

Cap Pressure The same pot can be used with different lids, also with pressure functions.

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