If you’re a fan of the sous vide cooking at Kitchen41, or addicted to the Heritage Pork Chop at The French, you may not realize it’s possible to create similar dishes at home.
Sous vide translates from the French as “under vacuum,” and the description is apt: Ingredients are sealed in a plastic pouch and cooked slowly in a water bath. The flavor payoff can be significant. Unlike standard cooking methods such as grilling or roasting where the heat penetrates from the outside in, sous vide cooks food at a constant, even temperature. Moisture is retained, and the meat, fish, or vegetables emerge remarkably juicy and succulent.
Perhaps because it was first used at a Michelin three-star restaurant in France, many diners associate sous vide with upscale dining. However, home versions have recently been developed that allow amateur chefs to take advantage of the technology. Among the most popular is the Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven, with prices starting at $329. The vacuum sealer for the pouches is an additional $149, but there are deals combining oven and sealer for $499.
The latest innovation for budget-conscious epicures is sous vide circulators, such as the Anova Precision Cooker 4.0 ($130-$160). The device clamps onto the side of any pot or container and includes a directional pump, LED temperature display, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. You may not need the vacuum sealer, since many users report that BPA-free plastic bags are fine for cooking operations of less than two or three hours.
Locally, Williams-Sonoma carries the Anova Precision Cooker, while the Sous Vide Supreme is a special-order item. Either way, you just set the timer, mingle with guests, and reap the compliments.