Product reviewed: Gourmia GSV150 WiFi Sous Vide Precision Cooker Immersion Pod
I had no idea what sous vide cooking was until the food section of my local paper featured it. But the recipes looked simple and delicious and, later that same week when the Gourmia device arrived in the mail, I knew that it was destiny.
This appliance’s features include a large clip that holds the sous vide pod upright in the cooking container, a variable time and temperature wheel that allows for incremental adjustments to the digital display, an electric heating element and an internal water circulator that helps keep the water temperature — which can be adjusted for Celsius or Fahrenheit — constant. The electric cord requires a 3-prong outlet and is about 24 inches long, a good length since using an extension cord is not recommended per the owner’s manual.
It also comes loaded with Wi-Fi capabilities so you can manage the device via your smartphone. The app, simply named “Gourmia,” is available on the Android and Apple app stores.
Sous vide is French for “under vacuum.” This method involves cooking food that is vacuum-sealed in a plastic pouch and placed in a water bath for longer cooking times at a lower-but-accurately regulated temperature. You add seasonings or rubs to your meat, poultry or fish before cooking, and the manual gives detailed directions for removing air from your cooking bag to create the required vacuum.
This is where the immersion pod comes in: You set the temperature of the water based on the recipe and the pod maintains the temperature.
For my first attempt, I tried a recipe from the newspaper that called for a two-pound beef tenderloin to be cooked for two hours at a temperature of 129°F. I used a 12-quart stock pot to accommodate the length of the sous-vide pod without touching the bottom of the container. Once the water reached the desired temperature, I added the bag and checked the water level again to be sure it did not exceed the maximum level indicator. And then I waited.
After two hours, I removed the bag, checked the beef’s internal temperature and let it rest for 10 minutes. I was surprised by the lack of browning, but the recipe calls for searing on all sides in a hot pan with oil and butter before serving. (Note that the temperature after browning should be the minimum recommended 145°F — if not, continue to sear or microwave the meat until you reach the minimum temp.) The end result was juicy and so tender that you could cut it with a fork, but also more rare than I would have liked. Upon further research, I have found that the temperature of the water bath dictates the degree of doneness at the center.
One note about the app: I had difficulty finding it for my Android phone and wasn’t able to get the pod and my phone to connect. It may work better for Apple devices.
The sous-vide technique also can be used for poultry, fish, vegetables and fruit and even to poach eggs. It’s not fast, but it will give you more consistent results and better control of the flavors. Unlike a slow cooker, this is not a “set it and forget it” style of cooking. It does require monitoring water levels, and individual components like beef, vegetables and potatoes each require different cooking times.
However, I will definitely try this again and would recommend it for anyone looking for a simple way to create satisfying meals for their family.