As much as we love our downtown Toronto condo life, I do miss having access to a large kitchen and an unlimited number of kitchen gadgets. I suppose it’s one of the many reasons I love visiting my parents in Niagara on the Lake! As you know, I do enjoy cooking and while I do have phases where all we eat is pasta and Biriyani, I also have phases where I’m experimenting and playing around with our kitchen gadgets. Two Christmas’ ago my brother gifted me with the Anova Sous Vide machine (affiliate link) and I honestly had no idea what it was about and didn’t fully appreciate his excitement in having secured the hottest item that year. I tossed it away and experimented with it a couple times before we went on our big adventure. Since our return I have been using the Anova at least once a month and I have been receiving a lot of questions about it when I share the dinner stories on Instagram so I thought I’d provide a quick review on the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker and share some resources I use!
What is the Anova Precision Cooker?
The Anova is basically a cooking device that uses electricity to cook your food at a certain temperature. It employs the cooking method referred to as “sous vide”. I remember eating a sous vide egg at a popular Yorkville, Toronto restaurant about 6 years ago and that egg is the best darn egg I ever did have. I still have memories of it, long after the restaurant shut down. The $30 price tag I didn’t enjoy as much though! The Anova Precision Cooker circulates water around the pot and gets it to the temperature you desire. The circulation prevents hot and cool spots from forming in the water to ensure an even temperature throughout your food. Food never overcooks despite having long cooking times!
You basically fill a pot with water, latch the Anova on, set the temperature and time you want and start the device. I can do this all through an app on my phone via bluetooth ( I believe the newer versions are via wifi). The hardest part is probably putting your meat (I mainly do meats) in a Ziploc bag and dipping it in the water to get a vacuum seal before immersing it fully in the water filled pot. Once the food is cooked to the desired stage I usually toss it on a pan to get the edges crispy and this gives me a moist and tender inside with a crunchy outside. PERFECTION!
Why do I Like the Anova?
Okay so while I didn’t fully grasp the amazingness of the device when I first received it, two years later it’s one of my two favourite gadgets in our kitchen. It seems to magically take cheap meats and make them taste so flavourful that I turn out looking like quite the chef!
- It’s relatively tiny and barely takes any space
- It cooks healthy flavourful meals despite not using any sauces (most times I just use salt and pepper!!! MIND BLOWN)
- Yes it may take me over 24 hours to cook a special cut of meat but it’s hands-off work as I don’t have to monitor anything as long as I filled the saucepan with enough water!
- It’s fool proof, I don’t have to worry about overcooking my meats (something I do frequently!)
- Clean up is super simple as the device does not actually touch any food
Best Resources for Recipes and Cooking Temperatures
The hardest part is knowing what temperature and how long you want to cook your meats for and for that I rely on the awesome Serious Eats site. They have a full breakdown of the level of juiciness you can achieve at various temperatures and cooking times so it’s relatively fool proof if you take their advice. I honestly haven’t bothered looking for other websites because I’ve found this one to have everything I need. The Anova app also has recipes and if you’re connected to the device it will automatically set the time and temperature for you so all you have to do is hit start, and they do have some good recipes there too but I rely on Serious Eats more often than not.
What are my Favourite Things to Cook in the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker?
I have never tasted chicken so flavourful and all I did was toss salt, pepper and a lemon wheel! It’s by far my favourite dish to cook with the Anova because the chicken tastes buttery but has no butter!!! Steak is Chris’ favourite as serious eats breaks down the details down to an exact science! If you’re a broth lover like I am, be sure to save the juices in the bag from the meats because it’s so flavourful! Fish turned out really well in the Anova too. Basically if I can wait 2 hours for dinner, I use the Anova to cook all our meats and fish. I haven’t tried veggies yet but I definitely intend on because carrots and corn is what summer is all about!
Are There any Challenges with the Anova?
The biggest issue would be the wait time, especially since I tend to prefer cooking steaks at a low temperature for a long time (36 hours!!). The worry wart in me wakes up in the middle of the night to confirm that I haven’t burned the house down-so far we’re doing well!
The other issue is having a large pot. Living in a condo I don’t have super large pots like my mom does (see that chicken one up there?) but we were managing just fine with the medium sized ones we had. Of course, my brother then went ahead and built me a special cooking gizmo. He converted a beer cooler into an Anova holder and it’s absolutely brilliant!
If you’re looking to invest in one fun kitchen gadget this year, I’d definitely put the Anova on your list! I mean, how else can you buy a $7 chunk of meat and end up with a gourmet meal AND a cup of broth?