The techies have their smartphones, the gamers have their flashy controllers, and us foodies have our kitchen goodies: the sous vide machine, the paco jet, a vacuum sealer. If my house were engulfed in flames, I’d be running out of the house, clutching my immersion blender and my chef knife. Why does that sound like the intro to a C-list horror movie?
I digress. The immersion blender is arguably my favorite tool in my kitchen. It has more uses than I can even begin to list. You can make soups, vinaigrettes, emulsions (basically any sauce to be honest), purees, smoothies, pesto, remoulade, chutneys. I’ll stop there for your sake. This could easily turn into a Bubba Gump-esque list.
The immersion blender, often called a “stick blender” or “burr mixer,” is essentially a handheld food processor. It has a long arm with a blade on the bottom. You hold the blender and control the pulse of the power based on the button controls on the handle. It makes working in any container a breeze. Instead of having to pour your chunky soup in a blender, simply blend it in the pot. Or instead of dirtying up a separate bowl for the vinaigrette you’re making, merely pour all in the ingredients in a tall glass, and blend them together with the mixer. It will perfectly emulsify. Every. Single. Time.
I love using my stick blender to distribute flavors amongst whatever liquid I’m cooking. For example, when I make panna cotta, if I want it to be a blueberry panna cotta, I will pour the berries into the heated cream, then puree them with the blender. This infuses the cream with more blueberry flavor, making the overall cook time less. Then you strain the liquid through a sieve to get all the pureed berry bits out.
The same technique works for making purees as the basis for many dishes. You can make a parsnip puree, a fennel and roasted onion puree, or a kale puree. Anything goes! Any vegetable that is soft and has cooked for some time can be made into puree—just add a couple splashes of cream, and immersion blend away! It’s such a fun alternative to your usual mashed potatoes or green beans.
When I first brought my immersion blender home, my friends thought I was subsisting on a baby food diet because everything I was eating was in puree form. I couldn’t help myself: stick blenders are so fun to use, and they make your cooking so much easier!
I highly recommend getting an immersion blender if you don’t already have one. There are remarkably affordable options out there, many of which have great power and will more than suffice for your home kitchen. The fancier Burr mixers are pretty fantastic, albeit pricier. I would say that for your home kitchen, you probably don’t need that much power, and you can easily get away with a more consumer-friendly option. You can find many options here.