Cook like a pro with the Anova cooker.
It’s the most dreaded question in our house — What’s for dinner? Like many families, we tend to cycle through a handful of options and even though we are pretty laid back about what we eat, everyone can use a little variety sometimes. We like to watch cooking shows like Master Chef and we get excited about seeing all the different cooking techniques they use. One technique is called sous vide, which means “under vacuum” in French and it involves cooking food in a vacuum sealed bag and bringing it to a precise temperature in a water bath. Most sous vide equipment is bulky and expensive and you won’t usually find it in a home kitchen. Fortunately, there is a really handy device called the Anova Precision Cooker that makes it super easy to cook like a professional chef in your own home.
The Anova Precision Cooker is an easy-to-use device that clamps onto the side of a large pot. The Anova device is designed to work with other kitchen equipment that you already have. The Anova cooker is made out of stainless steel and will circulate water through its 360-degree directional pump. It can actually go through 2.64 gallons of water per minute. The cool thing about the Anova cooker is that it’s Bluetooth and WiFi capable.
With standard reviews, I will go into great depth about what the product is and its many features, but with Anova, I really want to discuss what it can do.
One night this week, I came home from work and we had some lovely chicken thighs to prepare for dinner. We will usually turn to a frying pan to cook chicken, but we decided to pull out Anova for a trial run. Getting started was very easy. We got out our largest boiling pot and clamped the Anova to the side. The clamp is covered with plastic so you don’t have to worry about it damaging the pot. Next, I filled the pot with water. I wasn’t sure how much water to use so I just filled it about half way. When I turned on the Anova, I received an alarm (complete with notification on my phone, but I’ll get to that in a minute) saying that the water level was too low. I ended up almost completely filling the pot. I was concerned about the pot bubbling over, but as it turns out, Anova gently circulates water through its pump and there is no violent bubbling like you would get from an actual boiling.
Once the pot was set, I made sure the app was downloaded to my phone. Since I’ve never cooked sous vide before, I needed help with how to prepare the chicken. The app is very well designed. Its layout makes sense and it just works. You can find information on timing and temperatures, recipes, and the app will actually automate the cooking process of the Anova. I quickly found a simple recipe that instructed me to add some seasoning to the chicken thighs and then put them in a plastic bag. You can use vacuum sealed bags if you want, but I ended up using a standard Ziploc baggie and it worked just fine. What’s really cool is that as you submerge the baggie, the air will be forced out of the bag (as long as you leave it unsealed so air can escape) and it will create your vacuum environment for you.
Once you season your food and submerge it in the water, it’s time to turn to the app. If you are connected to the Anova, which only takes a few minutes at most (if you are connecting through WiFi), and using one of its recipes, you can just tap on start and the Anova will be told by the app what the temperature needs to be and how long the food needs to cook for. Then you wait. For our 1-2 pounds of chicken thighs, it took an hour and a half to cook thoroughly. Then, I ended up searing the outside of the chicken to finish it, but it was just a finishing touch and completely optional. The chicken came out of the sous vide process full of flavor and ready to eat. It was honestly probably the best chicken that’s ever been made in our chicken.
One of the coolest aspects of using the Anova Precision Cooker is that it frees up your stove for other cooking needs. The Anova is electric so you can simply set it somewhere it has access to power and let it cook.
The Anova Precision Cooker is a very welcome addition to our home kitchen and it will be for yours, too. It’s the best kitchen device you didn’t know you needed.
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