If you’ve watched any kind of cooking competition show lately, you’ve more than likely seen people using a “professional” sous vide machine, and maybe you’ve been wondering what the fuss is. Sous vide is a French term that means to put food in a vacuum sealed pouch, and then cook it in a water oven at a precise temperature.
Lost anyone yet? No? Then let’s get into how this thing works, and what makes it so special.
Sous vide machines are pretty much completely idiot-proof; if you understand how to set the temperature, you literally can NOT mess this up. When you set the temperature on the front, you just set it for whatever you want the internal temperature to be – 130º for a perfect medium rare. After you set the temp, you put the food in and let it cook.
That’s it – it’s really that simple.
Okay, there’s a bit more that you have to do, but for all intents and purposes, those are the steps. So how do you know how long to cook your meat for? Again, it’s simple – just measure the thickness and you have a good time scale. If you have an inch thick strip steak, you can cook it anywhere from thirty minutes to eight hours – yes, that’s seven and a half hours it can be held in the sous vide machine without any loss of quality. That’s one of the big things that sous vide offers – a set it and forget it mentality.
If you’re cooking steak (or really any other protein), once it’s done and you take it out of the sous vide machine, you really HAVE to sear the outside of it somehow. Oh, it’s edible right out of the bag – no doubt about that; however if you want the finished product to LOOK as good as it TASTES, then you have to do something to the outside. If you don’t, it just gets that ugly grey color on the exterior, and that can turn a lot of people off to the wonder of sous vide.
I also tried cooking chicken, and found it a bit easier to put the sear on beforehand, as the chicken was literally falling off the bone. Unlike with steaks, I used a regular zip-lock style bag, and used the Archimedes’ principle of displacement to seal the bag (in layman’s terms, when you push a bag underwater, the pressure will push the air out, and then you seal it) because I chose to use a liquid marinade on them, and you really don’t want to vacuum seal something with a lot of liquid.
There is literally no end to the amount of goodness you can create with the Sous Vide Supreme – want a soft boiled egg done to perfection? With the Sous Vide Supreme you just set the temperature to 149º, and drop a few eggs in. There’s no need to vacuum seal them, after all, why try to improve on nature’s perfect container? Leave them in there for anywhere from 45 minutes to four hours, and what you get is pure decadence. Perfectly coagulated whites, and a velvety custard of a yolk.
Vegetables also come out to utter perfection when cooked in the Sous Vide Supreme; toss some fresh fennel in one of the vacuum bags with s few extra seasonings (there are numerous cookbooks out there for cooking with sous vide – Thomas Keller has an extremely popular one that I used for this), set the temperature for 185º, and after an hour you’ll forget you were eating anything grown on Earth. It can do fruits too – just imagine the warm goodness of a fresh baked apple, with all the juiciness of one straight from the tree. All of this and more can be done with ease in the Sous Vide Supreme.
The problem with sous vide machines, is that up until now they have been very cost prohibitive, but throughout history that’s been the case with any new technology. With the Sous Vide Supreme, we have the first complete (as a commenter pointed out, you can get another water heater/circulator, but you still need something to put it in) sous vide machine that is affordable and designed for home use, but it still might be too high of an entry point for some consumers. Another issue is the cost of vacuum seal bags; I checked on these during my last trip to the local Wal-Mart, and I saw that they could easily get real expensive real quick (especially if you’re using the Sous Vide Supreme for every meal). Using the Archimedes’ principle like I mentioned earlier can save you money in the long run, but there’s a high percent chance of messing something up that way (getting water inside the bag is an absolute no-no).
I love the Sous Vide Supreme – every meal I cook with it makes me feel like a chef in a five star restaurant. Food comes out more tender than I had ever thought possible, with the ease of just pushing a few buttons. I can put food in in the morning, and just let it cook all day until the family is ready, and unlike in a traditional slow cooker, there’s no chance of it burning and it’s not drowned in sauce. I give the Sous Vide Supreme a final score of four and a half stars out of five. If you love to cook, and want to experience food that you would normally pay an arm and a leg for in one of today’s top restaurants, this is the only way to go.
- The first and only affordable home sous vide machine
- Set it and forget it styling means you don’t have to watch your food cook
- So simple even a caveman could do it (sorry Geico, I had to do it)
- The price of vacuum seal bags could become an issue fast
- Meat (steaks and pork in particular) has an off-putting color unless you sear it after cooking
- While the price of the Sous Vide supreme is pretty affordable, it still might be too high yet for some consumers
You can purchase the Sous Vide Supreme from Amazon (why the heck is it listed under deep fryers??) for $399.00