Tefal / SEB give conflicting advice about using sauces in Actifry™ machines.
In some places, they say outright not to do it; in other places, they direct you to do it.
I’m going to look briefly at some of the mixed messages.
Actifry Classic / Standard Model and Sauces
The Actifry Classic / Standard manual has always said, “This appliance is not suitable for recipes with a high-liquid content (e.g. soups, cook-in sauces….)1
Perhaps that is not surprising. They made the central “funnel” or “hole” quite low in the pan of this model.
Still, when in use, the hole is surrounded by a paddle with a very tall spindle that is locked in place.
And, in the 2007 Actifry Standard cookbook (UK edition), some recipes call for a high amount of cooking liquids to be added to the pan. The Chile con Carne recipe (page 41) calls for 3 cups (26 oz / 750 ml) of liquid ingredients, and the Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce recipe (page 51), calls for 4 cups (33 oz / 1 litre) of liquid ingredients. If those recipes aren’t saucy, I don’t rightly know what is.
And, on the http://tfalactifry.com site, a Chowder Soup recipe (which is presumably for any model as no special model requirement is indicated), calls for 3 cups (24 oz / 750 ml) of cooking liquid. I stored a screen capture of that for documentation purposes, should that web link ever go bad.
So the people writing the technical manual appear to be a different crew from those teaching people how to actually use the machine.
In any event, I have read an Actifry Classic owner saying that there’s not a problem with saucy dishes if you simply pour the dish out of the pan before removing the paddle.
Perhaps others can confirm?
Actifry Family Size Model and Sauces
This Actifry Classic sauce warning was copied verbatim into the manual for the Family model: “This appliance is not suitable for recipes with a high-liquid content (e.g. soups, cook-in sauces….)2
Yet there are two conflicting bits of guidance:
- One piece of advice in the manual foresees using liquids in the Family model. It says that when you do, “Your appliance is fitting with a turn-over ring…. it must be removed for recipes using liquid.”3
- The second conflicting set of guidance is the Family Size recipe book. For instance, one recipe in it, Curry Risotto (Canadian edition, page 127) calls for 4 cups of liquid.
I have happily used cooking sauces in my Actifry Family since day dot, and can report no issues.
I am only surprised to see that I was supposed to have been removing the cooking ring. In anything, I’ve been glad to have it on for saucy dish to prevent messy sloppy bits from tumbling outside the pan, and will continue to do so.
Actifry 2 in 1 Model and Sauces
For the 2 in 1 manual, the warning about cook-in sauces disappears and is replaced instead by a maximum capacity warning: “Never exceed the height indicated by the maximum level marker on the paddle…”4
The 2 in 1 Recipe Book gives some saucy recipes, for instance Creamy Bowties with Scallops (Canadian edition, page 52), calls for 3 cups of broth.
My conclusion about sauce dishes in an Actifry
I can only speak to the above three models because to date they are the only ones I have had exposure to.
My conclusion is that the Actifry’s manual writers need to talk with their staffers in the kitchens, and clear up the confusion over the line, “This appliance is not suitable for recipes with a high-liquid content (e.g. soups, cook-in sauces….). The kitchen staffers are giving out soup recipes (a chowder for all intents and purposes falls into the soup category) and pasta sauce recipes, and lots of recipes calling for sauces and high volumes of cooking liquids.
I have encountered no issues with sauces and saucy dishes in two years of Actifry use, and haven’t yet heard anyone else reporting any — yet.
The only proviso I would add is that that statement is tempered by common sense to not go beyond the capacity of the cooking pan, but that that proviso applies to solid foods in the pan as well.
In short, I think the manual writers finally got it right in the 2 in 1 manual: “Never exceed the height indicated by the maximum level marker on the paddle…”
Two minor cautions about using saucy recipes in an Actifry
There are two minor (sensible) cautions I want to close with.
(1) Tefal does warn you in most of their Actifry manuals that, “strong coloured spices and strong coloured foods such as tomatoes, may slightly stain the paddle and parts of the appliance. This is normal.”
I can verify this, and say that curry sauces and tomato based sauces are going to have your cooking paddle looking happily used in no time flat — but I don’t have a problem with that, for me, it’s a kitchen workhorse, not a show piece.
(2) Whatever type of Actifry pan you have, with a low-edged centre hole or a tall-edged one, I would just say that it’s only common sense to empty any liquidy food you’ve just cooked out of the pan before removing the paddle. In fact, most of the time, I find myself doing that even with solid food.
For cooking ideas, you might wish to read: Making sauce dishes in an Actifry.
* Actifry™ is a registered trademark of SEB, France.