There is a saying that “Perfect is the enemy of good.” Which is also my not-so-excusable reason for the delay on posting. (Whoops!🙃)
BUT I have been having so much fun with my new cooking toy and can’t wait to share my adventures so far.
So here she is, my Anova Precision Cooker. In brief terms, “sous vide” is the process of cooking food sealed in plastic (vacuum-sealed or just freezer bags with the air squeezed out).
And just FYI, I have a cool little vacuum sealer (Waring Pro Pistol Vac), which I love. Completely not necessary. (It’s so fun though!)
My first attempt was cooking 1 1/2 inch thick ribeye steaks heavily seasoned with salt/pepper and rosemary sprigs. Because I had to run around town that evening, I cooked them that morning at 129 degrees for 2 hours. (Here are some lovely charts from The Food Lab on the effect of different temps and times on steak.) That night I was able to pull them from the fridge, pat dry, and sear them quickly in a very hot pan, and have them on the table in minutes. The color was gorgeous and the texture was much more tender than when cooked with mostly high heat.
Note: because they absorbed so much of the seasoning in the bag, there is no need to season again before searing.
After that first use, I realized that there are some serious advantages to the sous vide process.
- Can pre-cook meats to exact desired doneness, refrigerate, and sear/serve whenever you want with 2-3 days.
- No clean up. Just dump the water out of the plastic bin. (Nice!)
- Easy to cook (gorgeous) chicken breasts for the week’s lunches.
- Can put the bin and cooker on the porch or in the garage, so it doesn’t necessarily take up kitchen space.
- Is operated via app, so you are alerted at every step (can’t overcook.)
- No need to “rest” after searing.
- Can completely skip defrosting, just add 30 minutes to 1 hour to the cook time (depending on six of meat).
(For cons, the only real drawback is the cost, but at about $150 it still costs less than a good blender or mixer and would potentially see much more use.)
Next up, I put frozen pork tenderloins (sealed with Greek seasoning, oregano, garlic) in the water – a few minutes before the water was fully preheated to defrost the pork a bit. (Cooked for 2 hours at 135 degrees – halfway between medium-rare and medium.) Then seared in hot skillet on all sides. Here is an article detailing the temps and any food safety considerations. Even the food safety cautious Hubs was good with the final product. This was really nice, great texture and it was easy to get a nice crust.
For an extensive look at sous vide recipes and techniques, The Food Lab over at Serious Eats has all of the information you need to get started.
I can honestly say that this has completely replaced the slow cooker for me, and has quickly become essential in my weekly meal planning, both for quick dinners and easy lunches. Let me know if you have any questions, and will keep you updated as I try new recipes.