This review is not about the cooker itself but more about the technique. Even though the Anova makes a shrill sound, I’m happy with its performance so far.
So far, I’ve cooked steak (filet), chicken (boneless skinless breast), pork tenderloin, chuck roast, creme brulee, egg bites, brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes.
I do not salt the meat before I cook it so I don’t usually add salt to any of the marinades.
- Steak – I rubbed the steak with olive oil, seasoned it with whatever looked interesting (some kind of steak seasoning, Cajun Redhead spice, black pepper) and added a bit of garlic and olive oil, vacuum sealed it and left it in the fridge for a couple of days. Once it was done, I dried it on paper towels and seared it in a hot skillet. It was perfect. I could not have asked for a better steak.
- Chicken Breast – I basically did the same thing with the chicken – added herbs and spices, a bit of olive oil and a bit of lemon juice. I loved the texture of the chicken. It had more of a steak texture than a grainy or stringy texture. Chad made chicken and said it tasted like some kind of chemical. He’s going to try it again, thinking maybe it was the chicken.
- Pork Tenderloin – Basically, the same thing as the steak and chicken. Seasoned it, vacuum sealed it and left it in the fridge for a couple of days. I’m not a huge pork fan and this didn’t thrill me. It was good but it didn’t make me like pork any more or less than I did before.
- Chuck Roast – This is where the sous vide really thrilled me. I seasoned the meat, added about 3 T. of butter and cooked it at 134.5 for 28 hours. It was so good. The fat did not render and I would prefer that for a dryer meat, the fat render. I put it in a zipper back last night and put it in the fridge so this morning, I put it back in the cooker and am cooking it at 136 for probably 6 or 7 hours. We’ll see what that does.
- Creme Brulee – This was the creamiest best creme brulee I’ve ever made. My friend, Roger, makes an awesome creme brulee. He’s like a master creme brulee chef and he almost always makes it when I’m going to be in town. Mine wasn’t better than Roger’s but the best I’m going to get short of driving to Louisiana.
- Egg Bites – These are perfect with the sous vide. The texture is great. They are so easy to make.
Things I Want to Share:
- Some have asked if you can’t just do this in a water bath (a pot with boiling water). Yes! I’m a gadget girl so I love playing with new gadgets but in reality, cooking anything on top of the stove at a set temp is not terribly easy to do . . no matter which stove you’re using. Most electric stoves cycle and with gas stoves, it’s hard to keep a low constant temp. They’re great for heating up a cast iron skillet and searing but I struggle with a low, slow simmer on a gas stove. With things like eggs, and creme brulee, keeping a constant temp is ideal. With the sous vide, the water is swirling so it isn’t going to be hotter at the bottom where the pot is in contact with the stove. The bottom line – can you do all this on a stove or in an oven. Yes! You can. You do not need an expensive little stick to put in the pot. Consider if you’re paying for your power, using a stovetop or oven for an hour is going to cost some amount more than using a little electrical gadget. This time of year, we don’t mind using our ovens but come July and August . . until I get a new oven that doesn’t heat up the house, there will be little baking going on.
- Clean up – Oh, my . . this is where the sous vide shines. If I buy meat, divide it up into the sizes I want to cook, season it, vacuum seal it and freeze it, then when it’s time to cook it, I take the bag out of freezer, leave it in the fridge for a day, then stick that bag in the pot of water with the sous vide, cook it, open the bag, dump the contents in a serving bowl, throw the bag away. No mess to clean up. The cooking vessel has water that I can let cool and dump around plants, save for the next thing I’m going to cook or pour it down the drain. Really – no mess!
I usually cook the chicken for Rita’s dog food in the Instant Pot but I have to clean it so today, I’m going to stick the vacuum sealed bag of chicken into the pot with the sous vide, then I can take the chicken out, throw the bag away, let the meat cool, chop it and nothing to clean. Since I’m recooking the chuck roast at 136.5 to render the fat, I’m tossing the bag of chicken in with the roast and the chicken will need to cook about 70 minutes. If I were using the Instant pot, it would take about 10 minutes for it to get the pressure up and then about 15 minutes to cook, and I usually let it sit about 10 minutes before doing a quick release so that’s 30 minutes total and I still have a pot to wash. Say I decide not to make the dog food this evening, I can stick the chicken, still in the vacuum sealed bag, in the fridge, then chop it tomorrow. No need to mess up a fridge storage container.
- You do not need a vacuum seal gizmo. You can use a zipper freezer bag, remove the air by slowing immersing the bag in a sink of water, not letting water into the bag, and then zipping the bag without letting more air in.
- Hopefully my insurance company won’t see this but I wouldn’t hesitate to leave the house with the sous vide running. I left the chuck roast cooking overnight. I would do that with the Instant Pot or a slow cooker, though I did have a fire with a slow cooker once and thankfully I was right there and smelled it before I saw a flame so I was ready to take quick action. I would never leave something on the stove simmering overnight or even leave the house with it on. I suppose that’s the advantage of having the wifi sous vide. If I left it on and ran to Walmart and . . say I got taken hostage, I could ask my hostage takers to let me use my phone to call
the authorities. . turn off the sous vide.
Any other questions, just comment and I’ll try to answer . . though two weeks of use does not make me an expert.