Sous-Vide with the AquaChef Water Oven
If you’re a kitchen pro or just a cooking show junkie (you know the type, your DVR is full of Food Network, Cooking Channel, and Top Chef entertainment) you have probably heard the term ‘sous-vide’ before (pronounced soo-veed). Though it may sound fancy and complicated, it’s simply just French for ‘under vacuum’. The sous-vide method of preparation has been used by some of the best chefs and kitchen pros for quite some time, but has quickly gained popularity as home cooks are attempting the technique in their own kitchens.
Do you consider yourself a kitchen novice? Have no fear. Sous-vide really isn’t difficult at all and can actually be easier to master than stovetop cooking. There’s no need to worry if your pan is too hold or too cold, or when you should take your filet of meat or chicken off the flame to account for those few minutes your food still cooks even though it’s off the heat.
Using the sous-vide method, you are only responsible for seasoning your meal of choice (steak, brisket, pork, chicken, fish… the possibilities are endless), and taking your sealed protein out of its hot water bath after the appropriate cooking time. The process is simple: ingredients to your dish are placed in a vacuum-sealed bag; you’ll remove all the air to make sure it is sealed tightly, then submerge the bag into a water-filled oven, which is preset to the final and most desirable consumption temperature. After your cooking time has passed, you’ll be left with a dish that isn’t raw, overdone or dried out. Sous-vide can even make the toughest cuts of meat (think beef brisket, flank steak, or even budget cuts of steaks that are often tough and difficult to cook) palatable and fork-tender – making it a great money saver too if your family is on a budget.
KitchenAdvance recently developed and introduced a new product – the AquaChef Professional Water Oven – aiding home cooks in this popular preparation. I tested the appliance with several different proteins and was particularly pleased with the results of a London Broil and a few other tough cuts of meat. The water oven was easy to use and saved me time since there is really no ‘active cooking’ involved. The machine was quiet; in fact, it didn’t make even a peep until my cooking time was up.
Its stainless steel exterior matches almost any kitchen décor and the appliance is compact and narrow enough to fit into a cupboard or store on your countertop. Inside the oven rests a cooking basket that holds your vacuum-sealed meal while it’s bathing in water. My only complaints were that my unit seemed to have been beaten up a bit in shipping as the lid and basket didn’t perfectly match up, but I was still able to achieve good results with the machine.
With your purchase of the AquaChef Oven, you’ll receive everything you need to get started – KitchenAdvance’s Seal ‘N Fresh Handheld Vacuum System (with the push of a button, you’ll be able to remove all the air out of your vacuum-seal bags. Note: you’ll need batteries for this), a set of Seal ‘N Fresh Vacuum Bags in two different sizes, an instruction manual, and the AquaChef Cookbook with recipes and a list of cooking times/temperatures for many dishes. I didn’t receive the cookbook with my test unit, but I can imagine how helpful a list of how-long-to-cook-this-or-that would be for this appliance.
Vacuum-sealing your dishes can also cut back on pricey sauces and marinades and even eliminate added fats and oils. Try a simple season with fresh herbs, spices or even sliced lemon as the vacuum-sealing technique will intensify those flavors, especially if you are slow-cooking for several hours or letting your protein marry and get cozy with those flavors vacuum-sealed in your fridge. Try cooking veggies in the AquaChef too since they can be cooked at below boiling point and still retain their crispiness and nutrients.
Another bonus of water-oven cooking is that you can keep your meal warm, at the desired temp of consumption, until you’re ready to eat… so I didn’t have to worry about my main dish getting cold while prepping sides.
The AquaChef and all its accompaniments retail for $159.80, though you can try the machine yourself for 30 days for $39.95. At the end of this 30-day trial period, you can return your unit for 100% of your money back if it’s not for you. Or if love it, you can pay out the remaining balance in three additional $39.95 payments.
Learn more about the AquaChef and the free trial period at aquachef.com.
Disclaimer: A complimentary test unit was provided to PhoenixBites for review purposes. PhoenixBites does not endorse the company mentioned above.