Fine Dining at Home

The new SousVide Supreme machine offers home cooks a way to use a technique that's popular with even the most famous chefs.

By: Kate Nerenberg

Will this $449 appliance make your home-cooked meals taste like they came from a good restaurant kitchen? Photograph of SousVide Supreme © 2009 Eades Appliance Technology.

A good chef is known for consistency. That’s why so many—including Citronelle’s Michel Richard—are using sous-vide, a method of cooking that involves poaching vacuum-sealed ingredients in heated water. (See “Hi, I’ll Be Your Server Tonight” in the March Washingtonian.) Beef cooked sous-vide at 134 degrees—the temperature at the center of a medium-rare steak—will emerge from its water bath a rosy pink from edge to edge.

Until recently, there was no way for the home cook to use the technique. Then SousVide Supreme hit the market. Is the appliance worth the $449 price? We tested it on a variety of foods.

The boxy machine—available at sousvidesupreme.com—is clunky but easy to use: Program the machine to the desired temperature, seal ingredients with seasonings in Ziploc bags, and wait a few hours. With a quick post-bath pan sear, steak and chicken were juicy and flavorful. Pearl onions, sealed with balsamic vinegar and rosemary, were just as good. An inch-thick salmon filet was perfectly flaky after the suggested 50 minutes.

If you like to clip 30-minute recipes, the set-it-and-forget-it machine is as useful as a crockpot—and dinner doesn’t have to mean stew. But if you’re inclined toward cooking from scratch, you might miss the fun of tasting, seasoning, and improvising.

This article appeared in the April 2010 issue of The Washingtonian. 

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