Sous Vide (soo-veed) cooking uses a pot of water that is heated to a very precise temperature (by a Sous Vide machine) to cook food that is either vacuum sealed or with the air removed in a ziplock bag.
I tested the Instant Pot Accu Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator. It’s designed for use with an Instant Pot (inner pot of 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot).
Advicesisters.com reviewed one of the wonderful Instant pots (see our review) and loved it!
For this review, we used a stockpot, not the Instant Pot, because our Instant Pot was at another location.
Here’s how it went!
Why Cook The Sous Vide Way?
It is simple, really. If you seal food in a bag it cooks in its own juices, so the flavor, vitamins, and minerals don’t get cooked away.
The food is emersed in water and is cooked from the heat of the water, but water or steam never comes in direct contact –you are steaming or poaching the food.
So think of Sous Vide as just a different way to heat and cook food from eggs to eggplant, meat or fish or more!
It’s not just for the health but also because marinades are absorbed better for better flavor.
Once you set the time and temperature, you can just do something else (have cocktail hour, for example). The machine will stop when it’s done.
You can cook so many things sous vide: meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.
High Heat Can Kill Taste
No one likes overcooked, dried out food. However, when you cook food the traditional way with heat, that’s what you are doing.
The high temperature of a skillet or grill can cause the meat to contract and squeeze of the juices. While the outside is dry and tough, it might not be done inside.
And, heat cooked food can become an unappealing grey or brown. That doesn’t happen when you cook sous vide.
Accu Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
Last year I reviewed a large sous vide machine by Sansaire (see review). It was great, but it was so big I needed a very large pot.
The Accu Slim Sous Vide by Instant Pot (they call it an “immersion Circulator”) is smaller, lighter and slimmer.
That means you don’t have to lug out a huge stockpot to cook and yet it will cook just as well as with the heavier, larger sous vide
I had tilapia in vacuum sealed packets on hand, so I used those for my test.
The pot was filled with water to the “max” line on the Accu Slim sous vide machine. Then I secured the Accu Slim to the side of the pot with the attached clamp.
You then adjust the temperature and cook time with the large digital readout on the top of the machine. For best results, you should really consult a cooking chart because it’s a differet way of cooking.
Once the “whirr” of the very quiet sous vide machine began, I opened a bottle of wine and sat down with my friends to enjoy a cocktail hour.
Temperature & Time Control
Obviously, different types of food require different temperatures to cook and the Accu Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator has a precise temperature range of between 20 °C and 95 °C / 68 °F to 203 °F, with increment options of 0.1 °C or 1 °F.
Cooking time depends upon how thick something is, rather than just the mere weight of the food.
You need to feel your way (use recipes that can guide you) until you are comfortable with cooking sous vide.
Testing the Accu Slim Sous Vide Immersion Circulator
I learned from my last sous vide test that it’s best not to cook sous vide with frozen food. this time, the fish was totally defrosted before cooking.
The default cooking time on the machine is 04:00 hours and can be adjusted to your preference: from 1 minute to 72 hours (00:01 – 72:00).
Nice too is the 12V DC motor is very quiet and supposedly is more durable than the standard AC motors used in other devices.
When you pull the Accu Slim out of the water, the motor stops.
My Tilapia Test:
Hot! Hot! Hot!
One thing to note, you really don’t want air in your ziplock bag because if there is air in the bag, the food floats and water can’t circulate properly around it.
Once your food is done, you won’t see a crust or grill/sear marks on it. It’s not a taste issue, but if you want that look and feel as you’d get in an oven, skillet or grill, you have to use a culinary torch or put a topping on the food.
My culinary torch barely sears anything (it’s really meant for carmelizing sugar).
Instead, I added a topping of warmed, garlic, oil and Thai seasoning to the fillets for flavor (tilapia is kind of bland otherwise) and to compensate for the fact that the fish looked pink even though it was totally cooked.
You can put your food under a broiler, but then you are adding heat and the very reason for using a Sous Vide is so you don’t dry out food with heat.
Worth The Cost?
Yes, definitely! Sous Vide cooking is not just easy and fun, it’s a way to cook without added fat and the results are surprisingly yummy.
The Accu Slim is a time saver, a healthy way to cook, and something more precious….it’s a way to cook dinner and instead of standing at the stove or oven, spend quality time doing something else you love!