May 21, 2010

Review: SousVide Supreme Water Oven – Cooking Perfection

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This SousVide Supreme Water Oven combines a thermostatically controlled, touchpad enabled, super slow cooker function with vacuum packed foodstuffs and water to deliver perfectly cooked fish, vegetables, and other sealed items of your choice.

The product of decades of refinement by top chefs, the SousVide Supreme Water Oven cooks sealed food at precise preset temperatures for consistent cooking, and wonderful flavors. Vacuum-sealed food loses virtually none of its flavor or nutrients during cooking, and the pressure encourages flash marinating, naturally enhancing the delicious tastes and aromas of the food with little added seasoning.

The people behind the SousVide Supreme Water Oven provided us a review unit, along with spices, and a vacuum sealer for 1 week to review. We had to think fast on what we wanted to try, and decided on giving steak medium rare a try and document the process and our thoughts.

Features of the SousVide Supreme Water Oven

The SousVide Supreme Water Oven is basically a slow cooker meets water bath, and comes with a temperature controlled stainless steel water area, with simple controls to keep the temperature at a precise whatever you need fahrenheit temperature.

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You'll need the SousVide Supreme Vacuum Sealer to
seal food to cook in the SousVide Supreme oven.

Anything you cook in the SousVide Supreme Water Oven will require it to be vacuum sealed in a vacuum sealer, so you'll need to have one of those if you decide to purchase an oven. We used the provided SousVide Supreme Vacuum Sealer and it worked really well. The vacuum pouches included were sized for the oven perfectly.

The SousVide Cooking Process

You are doing the following basically to use the oven:

  • Season - season the vegetables or meat and get ready to seal
  • Seal - vacuum seal the food and get ready to put it into the oven
  • Simmer - put the temperature 1 degree below it's ideal temp
  • Sear or Sauce - we seared in our review with butter to brown the meat
  • Serve - serve it right away

If you want more of the specifics of the cooking method please read this New York Times article, but we'll try and give you a more hands on approach and practical thoughts to this cooking method.

One of the things is - SousVide cooking takes time. Most recipes will take hours for meat, and at least 30 minutes on average for vegetables. So you'll need to do the Season and Seal steps above the day before. Also - don't expect to do vegetables, and meat in the same session. The meat and vegetables will have to cook at different temperatures, so expect to do your vegetables ahead, and then put them to cool, only to heat them up later.

We don't really expect one oven to do everything, so this wasn't a deal breaker for us.

Making Steak in the SousVide Supreme Water Oven

We decided on seasoned steak done medium rare in the  SousVide Supreme Water Oven

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Prepare the water bath and set the temperature.

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Season your meat.

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We set our oven to 135F for the steaks.


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Seal the meat into pouches.


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Here is the vacuum sealed meat.


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After it's placed in the SousVide oven - you Sear the meat.


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Bam - perfectly cooked meat about 3+ hours later.


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Medium rare pefection.


We didn't get pictures of the pouches in the oven - sorry about that but it's not that exciting. You use the included rack to place the meat or food in so it's completely covered in water. Our steaks were too tall, so we ended up taking the rack out and placing ours flat with a large measuring cup to hold them under the water. Cooking time was just over 3 hours, and the results - mouth watering.

The recipe calls for seasoning and some sort of "fat" be it butter or bacon fat. No wonder SousVide cooking tastes so good right? Also - the searing with butter in the process adds more flavor. You only sear for 1 minute a side. The one thing is - it's a process. So after you Season, Seal, Simmer, Sear, and then Serve - it's a long day. We recommend doing the Season and Seal steps the day before so you don't tire.

Conclusions

Is the SousVide Supreme Water Oven worth the $450 for cooking a perfect steak? Well - maybe, but it's also large and requires you to fill it with water each time. We like the results but the price is also not including a vacuum sealer at $129 so the total cost is more like $600.

We only wish there was some common approach so you could do your vegetables and meat at the same time. We have seen other top of the line SousVide ovens have multiple heating units so you can do it all at one time.

We do SousVide Supreme Water Oven because the results are well - perfectly cooked. We liked the searing of the meat, but also we somehow wished we might have grilled the steak for 1 minute a side instead of searing - our preference really.

So if you're looking at cutting edge cooking, we think you'll like the SousVide Supreme Water Oven.

At SousVide Supreme Water Oven and SousVide Supreme Vacuum Sealer

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Posted by Jay Brewer at May 21, 2010 8:27 AM
Recent Comments

Oh....

One more thing about sous vide that is important.

Sterilizing the meat products being cooked at low temps. As most know that the temps used in sous vide are low and sometimes in the danger zone. Not an issue if you use good meat products and use a couple of sterilizing tips.

When starting a sous vide product I do one or all of these tips.

1. Using a cheap vodka the product is dunkened in to help kill anything on the outside of the meat product. Most vadka's don't have a taste, it just used to clean the meat.

2. Using a vinegar, (red wine, balsomic, etc...), the product is also dunkened in a bath of vinegar for just a few seconds. Some vingegar will leave a flavor but most will not, depends on how long the product is in the vinegar. Balsomic is very nice flavor with many red meat or chicken products.

3. Add an alchol to the bag while cooking. This is kind of hard with cheaper vacuum sealers. If you have a chamber sealer adding port or whatever liquid you want is pretty simple and also helps with keeping things healthy at low temps. If you don't have a fancy system, freeze the liquids you want to add to the bag and then vacuum seal. This will make it possible to add those liquids in a front vacuum seal system.

Sous vide is an amazing cooking method, but you do need to pay attention to keeping the product perfect. Hope these tips help.


Posted by: Swain at May 23, 2010 11:54 PM

Hi,

Noticed your post about sous vide and had some suggestions for you. I've been doing sous vide at home for years.

The steak you tried looked good but I would suggestion a better time for a t-bone would be about an hour @ 135F. Time means something different when cooking sous vide. It's a texture thing and not a doneness thing. In other words you could leave the steak in for 3 hours and the meat would still look like it's med-rare. You could keep it in for 8 hours and it would still look med-rare. The difference is the break down of the steak or the tenderness. If over cooked the meat kind of takes on a mealy texture. A normal sized steak should not take more than about an hour....maybe more if the steak has a bone. The three hours is just way to long for that cut of meat. Is it wrong....no...that's the best part of sous vide, it's really hard to cook anything wrong. Those steaks would just be better at around an hour @ 135F.

What types of meat take hours to cook. These are all about 135-140F temps. Tri-tip and skirt steak are great around 3-4 hours. Brisket and short ribs are great at 36-48 hours. All of these would be seared or better yet grilled after cooking.

If your game try wild salmon (dark red - not the pink stuff) with salt, pepper, and a pat or two of butter sealed in a vacuum bag. Cook sous vide at 50C or about 122F for 20-25 minutes. You can eat out of the bag or sear the salmon or use a blow tourch for a nice crust. Note the fish will look raw but it is cooked and really good.

Oh....have you tried an egg? Place whole egg in shell in bath @ 62.5C for one hour. Amazing. Best pouched "like" egg you will ever have. The yolk is almost spreadable like jam.

Enjoy!


Posted by: Swain at May 23, 2010 8:44 PM
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