Right off the bat, let me tell you I’m a fan of the 2nd generation Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker. It allows me the luxury of having a delicious homemade meal with minimal time spent in the kitchen. sous vide is a cooking method that has been around for a few centuries, but became popular around the 70s when the Restaurant Troisgros adopted it to make their foie gras absolutely stellar. Since then, it has trickled into most restaurant kitchens and is loved by stalwarts ranging from Heston Blumenthal to Gordon Ramsay.
Back in May 2014, Anova launched a Kickstarter campaign for a sous vide cooker that will interface with your mobile phone. It raised $1.8 million as capital, launched, rapidly became everyone’s favorite, and was acquired by Electrolux earlier this year. The latest model, Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker is a WiFi-compatible 900-watt powered smart device which has rapidly become a darling of chefs, enthusiasts and laymen alike for it’s practicality and convenience.
So what is sous vide anyway?
This is a slow-cooking method where food is vacuum-sealed in a bag, then cooked at a very precise temperature in a water bath for a long time, often several hours. This versatile technique keeps food tender, flavourful, juicy and nutritious, and is still quite simple to execute. It’s only disadvantage is the amount of time it takes; that makes it pretty impractical for someone who is cooking only for friends and family. Luckily for us, we live in an era where sous vide cookers are easily available, so it gets easier.
Advantages of Anova
Before I leave for work, I just seal our steaks and herbs in a vacuum baggie and put it in a pot of water which has the Anova clipped to it, start it up (or start it up from my desk at work via the app around lunchtime), and let it start working its magic. It tenderises even the toughest cuts of meat, and what’s amazing is that it’s almost impossible to overcook food in it. As with all low-and-slow heating methods, the meat is cooked to perfection and all I need to do once I’m back is make a salad while I finish our steaks off by pan-searing them.
I love it because the food is dependably cooked to perfection even though I’m far away, the flavours are spot-on, the food looks amazing and it saves me a huge chunk of time. My girlfriend, on the other hand, loves the fact that sous vide retains more vitamins and minerals through the cooking process. And entertaining is a breeze, because Anova is a real trooper when it comes to cooking larger quantities too.
How to get the most out of your Anova
The Anova Cooker is basically a device that clips onto any existing pan, heats the water within it, and circulates it for even cooking. Since the food needs to be in a vacuum bag, you could either invest in a somewhat-expensive vacuum sealer, or adopt this nifty little technique.
Another problem one often faces with sous vide cooking is that bags sometimes float in the water, even when there is no air in them. This leads to uneven cooking, and that defeats the purpose of sous vide entirely. Luckily, J. Kenji López-Alt from Serious Eats has an easy solution.
The Anova comes with a pricetag of a little under $200, so it is certainly pricey for someone who isn’t completely convinced that they will make sous vide a regular part of their meals. However, a large number of customers are now up in arms about the requirement of opening an Anova account and linking the unit up to one’s Facebook account, because that opens a can of worms as far as privacy is concerned. If you’re concerned about that and choose not to, you won’t have the option to control it via the app, but manual controls will continue to work.
Given the convenience and versatility, though, the advantages far outweigh these drawbacks, making sous vide one of the easiest ways of making delicious and healthy homemade meals. With Anova, the future comes to your kitchen, making sous vide a convenient and delicious addition to your repertoire. Buy one here and see what a difference a smart cooker can make!