I've been intrigued by the idea of sous vide for a number of years but only recently have home sous vide units come into a price range where I felt it was affordable enough to jump in. I picked up two units from Anova which I recently reviewed here. I originally only wanted one but after an order mishap I decided to keep the second because it would allow me to run two different temperatures at once, which is a must if you are doing meats as well as vegetables.
Last night I went over to a friends and we experimented with carrots and potatoes. I was interested to see what his opinion was, because there can be a lot of hype around sous vide cooking vs. other methods and I wanted an unbiased opinion. I sealed the vegetables with a little oil and seasonings. I experimented with the potatoes by sealing one bag with only oil and thyme, and sealing a second bag with oil and sea salt. I determined that with the salt being in prior to sealing you can end up with areas that are too concentrated so one bite is bland and the next extremely salty. Best to leave seasoning with salt until after.
For this experiment I set the water bath to 85C
I decided to let them cook past 2 hrs. Most readings I had done said that 1 hr was sufficient but I wanted to see if there was any negative effect from leaving them in longer. That was important to me because one aspect of sous vide that I like is the flexibility in timing. We all went for a swim and just let the veges do their thing. I was serving teriyaki glazed salmon along with these, so when we were ready to eat we just cooked the salmon not worrying about the vegetables.
So what was the verdict? Well my friend tried one of the potatoes and instantly reacted by saying it was really good, in fact one of the best potatoes he's ever eaten. I concurred, there was a subtle rich and earthy flavor that I don't often pick up on. I wouldn't go so far as to say they were better than roasted potatoes, but they offer a different experience that is equally good.
The carrots were really interesting. I had anticipated even cooking but there was in fact a difference between the colors. The yellow carrots were extremely soft, the purple being in the middle, and the orange being the least soft of the three. That surprised me, and I am certainly a new fan of the yellow carrots as they also had more flavor than the other two.
In the end the vegetables were very good, maintained their color well and had a very rich concentrated flavor. Being able to "set it and forget it" was nice as well, and allowed me to concentrate solely on the salmon when the time came.