Common sense says that anytime you start using a new tool, it takes a while to get the feel of it. You have to learn what it’s tolerances are and how it performs. You have a learning curve to get over before you can feel like you can use it with your eyes closed. That’s where I am right now with the Advantium. In just a short period of time, I’ve learned a few things.
My half size sheet pans (which are a little larger than a typical cookie sheet) fit perfectly in the over the range model. This was a huge surprise to me, since I had assumed that they wouldn’t fit. I had even gone out and bought a couple of quarter sheet pans, before it even occurred to me to see if the sheet pans I already had would fit. I don’t mind having the extra sheet pans though, those quarter sized pans make great prep pans.
You can use aluminum foil in the convection cook mode. I wasn’t sure and had to go to the source and ask the folks at GE. This means that the next time I roast beets, I can wrap them in foil and cut down on the amount of time they need to perfectly roast.
Having the appropriate cookware is essential. In my cooking, I primarily use my enamel over cast iron dutch ovens for stews and braises. But the Advantium literature didn’t mention whether they were safe to use. So again, I reached out to the GE specialists who informed me that it was not advisable. I’m glad I asked because I’ve grown quite attached to my two workhorse pieces of Le Creuset and I would hate to damage them, or the Advantium. Instead of enamel on cast iron, GE recommends using glass or ceramic cookware in the Convection and Quickcook modes. Metal pans can also be used in the Convection mode for baking.
Not only do you need the proper type of cookware, it is also important that they be able to rotate freely during Quickcook mode. Take my first attempt at preparing a whole chicken using Quickcook (shown above). The chicken was too large for my only round casserole dish, so I used a rectangular one. If I had been using the Convection setting, it wouldn’t have posed any challenges. I could have simply put in one of the two wire racks that comes with the Advantium and set the dish on the rack. But since I was in Quickcook, that wire shelf was a no no. Because the baking dish wasn’t able to freely rotate during the cooking time, the chicken didn’t cook as evenly as it would have otherwise. Those areas that were directly under the intense halogen lamp came out a bit overcooked.
Your cookware also, and I can’t stress this enough, needs to have some kind of handles. The technology utilized in the Advantium means that everything gets rocket hot…the turntable, the metal interior, AND your cookware. Imagine you’re making a stew and you have a couple of quarts of hot food and liquid in your dish. Not only is that dish extremely hot but it also weighs a ton….ok, maybe not a ton but a good couple of pounds at least. Maneuvering that hot dish in and out of the Advantium to stir or check for doneness can be pretty tricky if it doesn’t have handles. I know, because I’ve tried it. And I don’t advise it.
Lastly, you need to clean the inside of the Advantium more than you would a microwave or regular oven. Depending on what you are cooking, and the cooking mode you are using, you could get a lot of splattering and moisture in the oven. I find that the inside of the Advantium cleans up easily.
So what was the verdict on the Chicken a la Advantium? Despite the challenges I encountered by not having the proper dish to allow the chicken to rotate during cooking, my 4ish pound bird was completely done in the 45 minutes preprogrammed into the Advantium. If anything, I probably should have checked it before the 45 minutes was up and checked the temperature on an instant read thermometer because it might not have needed that much time. After I let it rest for about 10 minutes, I introduced the chicken to some lovely sweet potato and Brussells sprout hash. Start to finish, this meal probably took just under an hour to get on the table, but didn’t require a lot of fussing over. This makes it as likely to make a return appearance on a weeknight as it might on a weekend.
Disclaimer: As part of my partnership with GE, I received an Advantium oven. All opinions posted about my Advantium experience are my own.