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Fantastic Small Appliance - Easy Gourmet Cooking for Busy Home Chefs
on November 23, 2010
Our interest in sous vide cooking grew from being lucky enough sporadicly to sample food prepared this way in a few restaurants. Nothing as fancy as The French Laundry, but still wonderful, memorable food. The sous-vide process is very easy for any cook - just season the raw meat or veggies; seal in a vacuum bag (not included, but our FoodSaver works great); cook at the listed temperature for the recommended time; sear to put a nice color on the outside of the food, if desired. The advantage of the method is that as the food is sealed in a bag, it loses very little moisture during cooking. Most items take about 1-2 hours with zero supervision, but you can sous vide cook them months in advance and then freeze them. When you want a delicious meal, just defrost and sear them to rewarm and finish, making the method a really nice time-saver for midweek gourmet cooking. The food is reliably cooked to perfection, incredibly moist and totally delicious. Timing is very forgiving, so it is gratifyingly difficult to overcook your expensive steaks! This makes preparing the rest of the meal very easy. Before the Sous Vide Supreme became available, we went to the lengths of obtaining a laboratory water bath, but, we weren't sure how clean it was and it was much too big to keep in the kitchen. Having spotted a recent mini-review of Sous Vide Supreme cooker by Cooks Illustrated, we decided to try one risk-free from Amazon. The results have been nothing short of miraculous - I will never cook a steak any other way, if I have the choice! We have also had repeated outstanding successes with t-bone lamb chops, pork loin chops, duck legs (confit-style) and duck breast (medium-rare), diver scallops, shrimp, eggs and chicken breasts.
Specifically about this machine:
1. Compact - doesn't take a lot of counter space about 11.5" wide x 14.5" deep x 12" tall
2. Good starter recipe book, but the curious chef will want Douglas Baldwin's book - also available from Amazon
3. Simple to use - out of the box only takes about 5 minutes to learn how to set it up and start cooking
4. Easy clean-up
5. Very accurate temperature maintenance - doesn't vary by more than 0.5 degrees, even without a re-circulating pump
6. Much cheaper than commercial units, and much safer than used laboratory units!
1. No vacuum bag sealer in the box. They are not that expensive to buy separately, but you definitely need one
2. Heavy to lift when full of water - can be awkward to fill and move to cooking location, or when you have finished, heavy to lift to the nearest sink and empty of water.
In summary, if it broke tomorrow, we would have to buy another one. It saves times and produces totally delicious food with much less obsessive use of a food thermometer. The fact that food can be frozen and reheated is a huge bonus for us.