The most succulent pork chop physicians Mike and Mary Dan Eades ever ate came to them through room service at a Las Vegas hotel. As passionate foodies they inquired with the chef, who told them he prepared the chop sous vide.
Meaning “under vacuum,” the technique was first described by Sir Benjamin Thompson, an American-born British physicist and inventor, in 1799. The process involves sealing meat and vegetables in airtight plastic, then cooking it for hours, sometimes even days, in a low-heat water bath, locking in both juices and nutrients. The Eades, national nutrition experts whose book Protein Power spent more than a year on the New York Times best seller list, tried laborious sous vide techniques at home, then determined to engineer a countertop model suitable for the home cook, finally releasing the SousVide Supreme ($429) this past fall. The long cook times and low temperatures help break down the cellulose in cell walls, making meat tender and cooked evenly throughout. “The integrity of the meat or vegetable is preserved,” says Mike. “You don’t pour the nutrients down the drain. And with sous vide everything tastes a little more intense.”