Move over microwave, home sous vide is now kitchen king.
Sous vide cooking has quietly snuck into our lives for most people without their knowing. Poached eggs at the local café, shredded pork belly roll from the sandwich shop, perfectly cooked lamb rump down at the pub, identical eye fillets all cooked to a perfect medium rare at a wedding, tiny little petit vegetables all cooked exactly the same garnishing you fancy dinner at a fine restaurant, all cooked sous vide. Gently, quietly cooked in water, not much warmer than a good bath after a long day at the office. Yet the food tastes so good each bite the same perfectness as the last.
Sous vide cooking is entrenched in the way commercial cooks now prepare the food that you and I eat every day. We don’t often notice because the food was just good, undefinably good, moist, rich in flavour but just delicious and so tender. That is what sous vide cooking promotes as its advantages moist, tender food cooked exactly the same every time. Food cooked ready to serve that can be held at temperature for long times without changing. Flavour trapped in a bag waiting to be cut open waved at some high heat to give it colour then straight to the plate perfectly cooked every time.
If it is so easy why don’t we all have a vacuum machine in the cupboard and a sous vide immersion circulator on the bench proudly taking up the space where the microwave once stood. (To be truthful at this moment I must admit that I do have a commercial chamber vacuum machine sitting on its own trolley with shelves for the vacuum pouches and 2 water baths on the bench where the microwave once stood.) There have been two distinct barriers that have slowed the take up of sous vide cooking into our homes over the last ten years. The first has been cost, your average sous vide immersion circulator and a domestic vacuum machine would have cost more than the fridge. The second and biggest barrier to the Australian home cook falling in love with sous vide has been the lack of inspiring cook books and magazine articles with sous vide recipes, unless you can read multiple languages the number of sous vide cook books available could be counted on one hand and that was worldwide.
The last twelve months has seen all this change with iPhone and iPad Apps, home sous vide books, and master chef giving us more and more inspiration and guidance. We will launch the first Australian written and published sous vide cook book with full page images of real food, stuff you would serve the neighbours at a barbie, food for the kids, and some special contributions from some of the world’s top chefs for the stuff to wow them at a dinner party. If you want to find out who my chef friends are you will need to by the book.
With this surge in information and the reality that sous vide cooking has real benefit’s to the home cook many companies are buying into the sous vide equipment market. Breville have purchased the rights to the very pricey sous vide supreme a small 10 litre unstirred bath that is made in China, Sunbeam have entered the market with their tiny 5 litre unstirred bath morphed from I assume several of their products meeting in a dark ally and emerging after the dust settles as one jack of all trades, master of ……. PolyScience after years of working with the culinary market and many of the world’s best chefs will enter the Australian home market in the next few months with their 20 litre Creative. Litre for litre the PolyScience Creative is going to blow its competitors out of the water on price not to mention flexibility. By choosing to stay with their expertise in immersion circulators rather than following the pack and producing a fixed dimension water bath PolyScience has delivered real options for the home user to sous vide for 2-4 every night of the week and to expand to 20 litres for dinner parties and entertaining all with the one unit.
If you are ready to put the tired poorly used microwave out with the next hard rubbish to make way for the shiny new sous vide cooker, make sure you ask a few questions before rushing out on that purchase.
- Does it meet Australian domestic standards? Beware when shopping online a sous vide water bath will be left running unattended whilst you are asleep.
- Find if it can be fixed if it breaks. Accidents happen, make sure that it can be repaired if needed. Replacement under warranty is fine, if it breaks out of warranty where will it be fixed and can it be fixed.
- Accuracy is everything when cooking sous vide read the fine print on capabilities when choosing your unit.
- Well-built equipment will last you for a long time, don’t under estimate you needs.
- Remember just because it is more expensive on the shelf doesn’t necessarily mean it cost more to make.
And; If your kitchen is big enough I would keep the microwave to reheat cold coffee and the wheat bag.