I recently just discovered the magic of sous vide. Sous vide is french for “under vacuum.” Yes, I realize that this doesn’t sound like an appealing cooking method, but let me tell you, when you learn more about it, you will be on board. Trust me!
So why did I even consider getting a sous vide immersion circulator? Well the same reason I get sucked into a lot of things, I happened to see there was a sale on them at Christmas time. Anova was selling one for $99, and after some research, I figured, what did I have to lose?
Now let me tell you that this is one of the coolest things I have ever purchased, and it is so super simple to use!
Here’s the immersion circulator. It looks like a big Immersion Blender in my opinion. Along with the immersion circulator, I purchased a Rubbermaid 12 qt container. Some people like to use a cooler, but I don’t really have space for another cooler, so I opted for something a little more lightweight and easier to store. If you plan on making a lot of things that require you to sous vide for more than 24 hours, then to prevent liquid loss, I would say the cooler is a better bet for you.
Okay, so let’s get back to the main question at hand, yes you have this new nifty toy, but “why should I sous vide?” Well the main reason is that with meat, often times it gets overcooked. I mean let’s be honest, how many times have you gone to make a chicken breast and instead of a tender juicy breast you end up with a dry stringy chunk of meat? Well not with sous vide! The reason is the food is cooked at a static temperature over a longer period of time, allowing the inside of the meat to cook without overcooking the exterior which maintains the appearance and reduces the loss of juices.
The first step is to set your immersion circulator at the right temperature, that way the water will start to preheat while you prepare the food. For steak, I like a medium rare, so I use 129 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour.
Next, you will want to season the meat how you like, I like preserving the natural flavor of the steak, so I just add a generous sprinkling of sea salt to both sides of the steak.
If you already have a Foodsaver system or other food sealing system, that is great. But for those of us who do not, all is not lost. Simply use a zip top bag (I like using quart size ones) as your airtight plastic bag.
To ensure you get all of the air out, you will seal the bag 80% of the way and then gently submerge the bag in water starting at the bottom, stop when you get close to the zip top and make sure all the air is out and then zip it up all the way.
Next, check to make sure your water is at the correct temperature. If it is, then go ahead and put the bag in the water, and make sure that the meat is completely submerged. Keep the zip top part outside of the water and then I clip the bag to the side to keep it from slipping into the water bath. Don’t forget to set the timer at this point (the timer on the Anova is so quiet, I can never hear it, so I always set a backup timer on my phone).
Once the timer goes off, remove the steak from the bag and pat it dry to get all the juices off. Then go ahead and prepare your pan. You will want to finish it off in a pan in order to get that nice sear on the outside. I like using a cast iron skillet, so heat that up on medium high and coat it with some vegetable oil. Once it is screaming hot (aka smoking), take your steak and place it in the pan. It only needs to sear for about 30 seconds, and the steak should easily separate from the pan, if it doesn’t, don’t try and pry it off, just let it sit for a few seconds longer and it should come off naturally. Flip the steak to the other side and wait another 30 seconds.
Lately I’ve been finishing the steak with butter. This is totally optional, but mega yummy. To do this, cut off 2 tablespoons of butter and add it to the hot pan. Once it melts, grab a spoon and spoon the melted butter over the steak for about 15 seconds.
I then take my steak off and let it rest on a cooling rack set on top of a plate for 5 minutes so the juices can readjust themselves, then it’s time to dig in!
So far I’ve made steak, pork chops, lamb chops, chicken, shrimp, and lobster with my immersion circulator. Let me tell you that plain boring chicken breast is one of my most loathed foods, but with the immersion circulator and a little salt and pepper, the chicken actually tastes good! I love making a big batch and using the chicken throughout the week in noodles, salads, sandwiches and more! My two favorite things about this method is the meat is always perfectly juicy and the cleanup is a cinch! I definitely recommend you try it.