Preparation and cooking time can be an obstacle when it comes to cooking fresh healthy meals unless you learn how to make good use of the tools in your oven. Nowadays we have ovens that have great features like the Convection Speed oven that allow us to combine convection with microwave power to speed up the cooking with spectacular results.
How to Use a Speed Oven
A Speed oven typically features five modes of cooking. Convection, broil, microwave, as well as convection + microwave and broil + microwave. Speed ovens feature inverter microwave technology that offers a choice of microwave power levels customized to different types of cooking. This customization is a great feature when you want to use microwave energy to speed up the cooking because you can add the exact level of microwave power suited to the food you are cooking.
When cooking in microwave mode, remove the wire oven rack and cover foods with a microwave-safe cover. Paper towels are not recommended as they may have synthetic fibers that can combust during cooking.
If your oven features a wire rack and an oven tray, food can be cooked on both the rack and the tray at the same time in the Convection mode. Either the rack or the oven tray can be used when broiling or toasting food. When you add microwave power to the convection or broil mode you can safely use the wire rack and also cook in metal pans without any cover
So let’s look at how to plan a simple meal making good use of these features.
How to Cook Chicken and Sweet Potatoes in the Convection Speed Mode
Since chicken thighs cook fairly quickly you might wonder what’s the point of cooking the chicken in speed mode. Well, putting a rub on chicken pieces and placing them in the oven only takes minutes so if you begin cooking the chicken with a combination of convection + microwaves for ten minutes by the time you have peeled and chopped the sweet potatoes the chicken is almost half cooked. If you cut the sweet potatoes into small cubes the entire meal will only need another 15 - 20 minutes to finish cooking.
If you are cooking a small quantity of food that will fit on one tray you could cook the entire meal in the speed mode, however, it would be best to cook the chicken for 10 minutes before adding the sweet potatoes.
If you are cooking larger quantities of food as I did in the video then cooking the sweet potatoes on a separate tray in Convection is a better option.
What is the Best Microwave Power Level to Use in the Speed Mode?
When using a new appliance, I always begin by following the recommendations outlined in the User Guide but I have found as with most things, it’s better, to begin with, less power and add more if needed rather than add too much power and end up with bad results.
Remember the benefit of speed cooking is that you are still cooking the food in the convection mode which gives better results overall. Adding in some low microwave power is just to help you get dinner on the table faster or to speed up the heating through of items such as casseroles that normally take up to 40 minutes to bake.
If you love baking quick-cooking flatbreads and pita bread, then please check out my next post and I will review the benefits of using convection vs regular bake for best results.
Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast