When home cooks first hear about sous vide, a common reaction is “that’s nice, but I’m not going to spend a bunch of money on a newfangled, expensive gadget.” I encourage everyone to be skeptical of new kitchen gear, but I think in the case of sous vide, a circulator is a fantastic bargain for the home cook. Here are a few reasons why:
- Have you ever thought about getting a second oven for entertaining? The minimum you will spend on that is around $800 plus installation; for a nice one you can easily spend five times that much or more. An immersion circulator will only set you back between $400 and $1100 dollars depending on the model. (We have several available in our store, and purchasing directly from ChefSteps help us keep the program free-to-learn.)
- That second traditional oven will take up valuable space in your kitchen all of the time, while a circulator and plastic tub can easily go in your storage room or basement when not in use.
- The circulator opens up a whole new set of capabilities and creativity you’ve never had before. A huge variety of foods can be cooked to perfect, consistent doneness without losing flavor to the cooking medium. You can add marinades or brines right in the bag to enhance the flavor.
- Sous vide cooking can often be done well in advance, making both weeknight suppers and entertaining a snap. When you are ready to serve, a quick reheat and possibly a sear in a hot pan is all that is needed.
- Sous vide isn’t just for meat! Everything from asparagus to beans, potatoes to ice cream base are better than ever before. If you love eggs soft-boiled or poached, sous vide gives you incomparable control over the texture of the yolks.
- In the past, information about how to cook sous vide was difficult to come by and often geared towards restaurant chefs. The ChefSteps course makes all of the information accessible and puts it in a context that anyone can use.
You might be wondering, “but what about the vacuum sealer?” True enough, professional vacuum capabilities are awesome and open up even more possibilities for creativity and food preservation. But the essence of sous vide is accurate control of heat; you can improve your cooking dramatically using an immersion circulator and a FoodSaver-type edge-sealer or even improvised packaging in a ZipLoc bag.
There you have it. In my opinion, sous vide isn’t some space-age technique only for the gadget-obesessed, well-heeled cook. It is eminently practical, reasonably priced, and a perfect complement to your existing stove, oven and grill. Anyone who enjoys cooking will find it changes the whole game.
So what do you think? Have I convinced you? And if not, what holds you back from getting started with sous vide?