I am the sort of cook who would generally prefer the traditional simplicity of open fire cookery over the hi-tech methods of molecular gastronomy, but I have been reading so much about Sous-Vide cookery over the last few years that I have been dying to give it a try. The basic idea, I was surprised to learn, has been around for over 200 years but it only seems to be in recent years that it has become widespread, not only in restaurant but home kitchens as well.
Although interested in this form of cookery, I was not quite ready to throw my heart and soul into it and so I limited my expenditure to just the ‘Immersion Heater, which is essentially the device that keeps the sous-vide water bath at a constant temperature and creates a current of circulating water. One can, of course, buy vacuum-sealing equipment and other bits and pieces, but the home cook can make do without these well enough without these and I decided to keep my purchase to the basics. The Instant Pot® model Accu SV800, which you see pictured above, is a Canadian product and retailed at Amazon for $199.95…
The Accu SV800 comes packaged with the heater itself, a clamp for mounting on a suitable pot (basically any type with sufficient depth will be acceptable), and an instruction booklet. Some cooking bags and clamps might have been nice but any Ziploc type bags can be used so this wasn’t really a problem.
Here, you can see heater mounted in a pot and the device set-up to cook a rib-eye steak already sealed in plastic and placed in the water bath. The control panel allows you to set the temperature and the cooking time, and an alarm lets you know when the right temperature has been achieved so that you can add your food. The instruction booklet, though brief, adequately explains the workings of the deice in clear, concise terms, and also provides some additional charts and tips for cooking different types of meats and fish.
My very first meal using the heater was the rib-eye steak you see above (shown after I seared it for 30 seconds on each side following the water bath treatment). I’ll be looking at the actual results of different cooking tests in subsequent posts but, suffice to say for now, the result was pretty good.
As for the device itself, I have to say that I was pleased. I didn’t have to fiddle around trying to figure out how to work it and I was able to produce a decent meal the very first time without hitches. The instruction booklet’s advice for cooking different things is very general, and some research using other recipes and blog posting will help me to produce even better results, I am sure, but, on the whole, I think that, for the novice, this little gadget makes a great introduction to sous-vide cookery.