Sous-vide Comes to Civilian Kitchens

Sous-vide Comes to Civilian Kitchens

Sonia Zjawinski
Mar 31, 2010

sous_vide_square-sz-033110.jpg We don't know how this one got past us, but somehow it did. Sous-vide, a style of cooking that uses precise water temperature and plastic bags to cook meats and veggies, has been reserved for restaurant chefs. The SousVide Supreme brings the technique home.

The SousVide Supreme is the first "water cooker" for the home chef. Renowned chefs such as Thomas Keller, Ferran Adrià, and Alessandro Stratta all swear by the technique, which involves cooking meats and vegetables from the inside out by heating them within vacuum sealed bags at very precise water temperatures. This ensures that the whole piece of meat or vegetable reaches an exact temperature -- no less and no more. While you can still accidentally undercook, you can't overcook.

Serious Eats explains it best:

The beauty of sous-vide cooking is that since you are cooking your steak in a 130°F water bath to begin with, there is absolutely no chance your meat will ever get above that temperature. Guests are an hour late? No problem—leave the steaks in the water bath, and they'll be exactly the same an hour later.

So really, with sous-vide cooking, all you need to do is select what temperature you want to serve your meat at. As long as you give yourself enough time to allow the meat to come to that temperature (for chops and steaks, that's about 45 minutes), you can let it sit in the bath for as long as you want, with no detriment to its eating qualities.

Once your meat is at its ideal temperature, you take it out of its bag and sear both sides and end up with a piece of steak that's crispy on the outside and a moist medium rare on the inside. The drawback: The hefty price of the SousVide Supreme ($450!) plus there have been some concerns over the health impact of cooking your food within plastic bags.

Both Gizmodo and PopSci reviewed the SousVide supreme and gave it high marks. By the looks of their photos, you could make a pretty wicked anything with this thing. Both reviewers were disappointed at the price, but we suppose that heft price tag is what's to be expected a home kitchen first. Here's hoping that now that the barrier has been broken, more companies will explore the technology, driving the price down.

(Images: Gizmodo, Popular Science, and Serious Eats)

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