Joule Home Sous Vide
After admiring a lot of television chefs, we can now cook sous vide at home with the Joule by ChefSteps.
Watching cooking shows taught me that so much restaurant cooking comes from classic French techniques. One I always found fascinating was sous vide – French for under vacuum – cooking food to its perfect temperature in a water bath. Though French chefs started experimenting with sous vide in the seventies, it started to hit the fancy food scene in 2005, the same time we started following TV chefs.
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We started with Gordon Ramsay’s original Kitchen Nightmares while I lived in London for a few years and when we moved to California in 2008 we moved on to Chopped and Top Chef. To inspire my husband to cook I bought him a chef coat from Happy Chef. It was the best investment I ever made – he puts on that coat and soon he is shooing me out of the kitchen and whipping something up – usually Italian. He liked his chef coat so much I got him a second personalized one.
Meanwhile the home sous vide market started percolating. We saw a couple of circulators at kitchen shops for $500 or more, designed to cook multiple portions in big plastic tubs. As gadget geeks, we followed these closely and pitched smart home Santa for one in 2015. It wasn’t until Christmas 2016 the Joule by Chef Steps finally arrived. This time my husband bought it for me – was it payback for the chef coat? Maybe. But it has turned out to be something we both love to use.
Cooking with Joule
The Joule doesn’t look like a sophisticated chef tool. It’s a sleek white cylinder with a stainless steel top, much smaller than the other home sous vide devices. It needs to pair with an app on your phone to work, something I didn’t think I’d like at first, but the Joule application is so well-designed and easy to use I don’t care that I can’t see the temperature on top of the little machine. Just open the Joule App, pick your meat, vegetable or dessert and the app guides you through all the steps.
Perfectly done Proteins
We thought we had already learned how to make perfect pork chops by watching TV chefs finish them in the oven. But pork chops Joule-style is a whole different level. Just put the chops in a bag with some seasoning and olive oil, pop them in a pot with the Joule and turn it on. Even when seasoned just with salt and pepper they are perfectly tender and juicy, never overcooked or undercooked. While they are ready to eat right out of the bag, we sear them for a minute or two in a pan to create a beautiful plate like they do on TV.
Multi-tasking is easy with sous vide – once you get your protein in the bag you can walk away. You can leave it in the pot for hours and the Joule app on your phone or watch keeps you informed when it’s ready to eat, or when it’s absolutely time to take it out.
There are many recipes in the Joule app and thousands you can find on the Internet. Usually we stick to easy pork chops or chicken breasts, but we have also ventured into overnight bacon, sous vide egg bites and last Thanksgiving, the most perfect turkey breast we’ve ever eaten.
Recently we tried a few Joule Ready sauces, chef-developed starters in their own ready-to-use bags. Drop in your protein, scan the barcode and the Joule app guides you through the rest. Planning these meals is not as easy as getting a meal kit, but these sauces are great to keep in the pantry for a quick gourmet meal.
If you’d like to cook at home like a TV chef, we’d definitely recommend trying the Joule.