At last a way to cook like a Masterchef at home, the brand new Anova Sous Vide device makes it easy
So now that the Bake Off is over and we are settling into the Masterchef kitchens for our nightly food porn hit we are all seeing the French cooking method of Sous Vide, which helped Adam along to his great dish on Tuesday night. Even as I was watching it I was thinking ‘Who has all that water bath malarkey in their kitchen?’
And than as if by magic a random tech site led me to the Anova Immersion Circulator (pictured below), or home Sous Vide device.
In short Sous Vide is a cooking technique that involves placing food in an airtight, vacuum-sealed bag and cooking it in a controlled low-temperature water bath. This way, you’re able to keep the temperature of the water at the exact temperature that you want your food to reach.
Sous vide is a form of poaching in which meats and vegetables are vacuum-sealed in bags and then slowly cooked at low temperatures in circulated water. The Anova, for example, allows you to seal a chicken breast in a bag and cook it completely without losing any of the juices or burning the meat.
So what is the big deal – why is this so much better? Well according to the believers cooking at lower temperatures generally prevents the food’s cell walls from bursting, which helps make it more succulent and retain the nutrients. Sous vide also makes tough collagens in the meat’s connective tissue to be hydrolized into gelatin without overheating the proteins, which is generally what causes meat to lose moisture and develop a tougher texture.
Why haven’t you been doing this for years? In order to cook in this fashion, you’ll need a piece of equipment called an immersion circulator. You’ve got one haven’t you? Probably not is our guess. Until recently, these things were large, bulky, and prohibitively expensive so only high-end restaurants and obsessive gastrophiles had them. Immersion circulators have been slimming down, both in bulk and in price, and this latest one from Anova is the slimmest and simplest around.
The Anova is a small clip-on device that can be attached to a cooking pot you already own. Using a compact impeller (the rotating part of a centrifugal pump designed to move a fluid by rotation) and a variable-temperature heating element, the device can effectively circulate water in the pot and keep it at the exact temperature you choose. To set both the cooking temp and timer, Anova has a dead-simple three-button touchscreen interface. It couldn’t be any easier.
The best part has been saved for last. This one is actually affordable.
Most immersion circulators on the market will put you back anywhere from £310 to £3100 but Anova’s only costs £125. To be fair though, you’ll have to get a vacuum sealer (£59.99 from Lakeland) and a large pot in order to use it, but even with that, it’s still one of the cheapest (and most compact) immersion circulators you can buy, and it comes in three colours.
You can buy it on the net here, just remember to order the 220volt international version.
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