Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Sous-Vide Equipment Review

Hi everyone, this is Nexx, and I've been a guest contributor a couple of times, and here's my first post as a contributor. Here's a short equipment review of the Sansaire immersion circulator. As Kate mentioned in the previous post, I'm a huge fan of sous-vide for many types of cooking. I Kickstarted this, but this fantastic gadget has been available on Amazon for some time.

TL;DR: this is a fantastic piece of kit, if a little expensive, but will pay for itself in many, many time-saving ways. I use it almost every time I cook everything, either for its intended purpose as an immersion circulator, or as a handy water pump for other purposes.

The Sansaire immersion circulator is extremely easy to use. Just plunk it in what will become your hot water bath, turn it on, spin the large, well-damped ring to rapidly set the target temperature, and the circulator will quietly do its thing. Quietly is pretty important to me; we live in a small apartment and there really aren't very many places for us to escape the noise.

It's not just useful when heating things; there are times when you have to arrest cooking in a hurry. Just dump the food into a water-tight vessel, put ice and water in the bath container, and let the immersion circulator run while the heating element is turned off.

One of the most underrated methods for cooking frozen chicken is to just freeze it with herbs and a little olive oil in the bag, and then when ready to use, just toss it in the appropriate temperature water bath. It's fantastic for lazy weekday meals, especially combined with frozen vegetables that we toss in the microwave.

Another underrated feature: being able to cook meat to the perfect internal temperature. There are ways to use this method to create something that cannot easily be made otherwise. I've recently made beef steak stew where the beef cubes were left at medium rare using this method.

The Sansaire is not without its flaws, however. I have the Kickstarter edition, and the fit and finish of the plastic cover over the heating element can be a lot better. I also wish it would notify me - audibly is fine, via an app would be better - when the water bath reaches the target temperature. Also, with a larger water bath, it can take a little while longer to reach a higher target temperature, but that can be ameliorated by using a large plastic tub with a lid instead of a stock pot.

Finally, it's not critical that a vacuum sealer is used; Archimedes method works perfectly well. However, if one is to be used, I own a predecessor to this model that seems to do the job. It's also a great stand-alone item.

All in all, the Sansaire immersion circulator is a great piece of equipment, worthy of inclusion in any kitchen. It's stylish enough and with a small enough a footprint to be left out, which means it will get used often if so desired.

The Good
  • The ergonomics is fantastic.
  • Not a unitasker!
The Bad
  • Fit and finish of the heating element cover could be better.
The Terrible
  • The clip to keep it clipped to the vessel is a bit fiddly.

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