Sous vide is a fairly new cooking process that makes it easy to seal in the flavors and fats of meat without drying out the flesh. Historically, sous vide tools were used in labs as a means of sterilizing equipment. In 1974, French chefs used sous vide tools to prevent foie gras from losing fat. Home cooks are using sous vide cooking for great tasting meats, easy meal preparation, and delicious soups.
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Boost Flavor Intensity
Sous vide cooking requires vacuum sealed plastic bags. Once the ingredients are sealed in the bag, you cook the ingredients in a hot water bath, heated by your sous vide wand. Once the ingredients are cooked, you can stop the cooking by dunking the bag in an ice bath.
If you’re cooking meat, you want to let it rest for a time before opening the bag to soak up all the flavor and fat. Once it’s cooled and rested, you can move the ingredients to the refrigerator for later searing or cook it now over medium high heat. It’s important to note that the meat is fully cooked, so you can sear it in a pan or grill it over an open fire.
For those who don’t eat meat, you can still prepare a delicious soup in your plastic bag. Your veggies, fresh herbs, salt and pepper can also be chilled in an ice bath and stored for later, or blended hot with your immersion blender.
Make Delicious Stock
Amazing chicken stock can be cooked sous vide with a wand or in an instant pot that has that option. You will want to start with a sealable bag. Load your boneless chicken pieces, a bit of olive oil, fresh herbs, a little sage and salt and pepper to taste. Seal the bag and lower it into your instant pot.
There is a risk that this cook method can cause the bag to rupture. You may way to leave the bag open just an inch or so before lowering it into the water. Once it warms, you can seal it completely.
Because this can be a little hazardous, be ready to turn a standard garage tool into a dedicated kitchen tool. Treat yourself to small pair of vice grips that you can disinfect and keep for the strongest grip possible over hot liquids. The ability to clamp down on slippery plastic can save you a lot of risk and mess.
Prep a Week’s Worth of Meals
From such a bag, you can easily grill the larger chicken parts for one meal and shared the dark meat for tacos or sandwiches before using the remains for stock. Sous vide chicken, as well as beef stew meat and pork cutlets, can all be put to great use as the week progresses, which will save you time and lessen the challenge of coming up with something yummy when everyone is tired and hungry.
Shorten Your Soup Prep Time
Making sous vide soup is an inherently slow cook, especially if you want a blended, creamy soup. However, you can easily prepare the fixings for pumpkin soup, butternut squash soup, and celery soup ahead of time, seal the bag, and freeze or refrigerate it until you’re ready to put it in the sous vide bath. You can also make things quicker by cooking the ingredients, chilling the soup and blending it before you heat it up to serve.
Once you get out the cutting board and all your produce, the cooking time for most soups is pretty standard. Each bag can contain a separate meal that you can quickly put on the table.
Add Pasta As You Heat the Soup
You can also finish your soup as you heat it up. The base for chicken noodle soup can be cooked and stored in a sous vide bag for later use. As you heat up your soup, add your pasta and cook until al dente.
If you love a good bowl of pasta e faggioli, you can prep this amazing soup recipe so everything is cooked but the pasta. Prep it ahead of time, freeze the bag, and add it to a stainless steel dutch oven to thaw. Go ahead and open the bag, heat up the soup and cook your shells or macaroni. Delicious, filling and quick!
Soup as a Side
If you love tomato soup and grilled cheese, you know just how yummy soup can be as a side dish or an ideal pairing. There are many other sous vide cooking options that can work well with your sous vide soup. For example, you can easily cook up delicious and lean hamburger patties in a sous vide cooker in about 20 minutes. If you want to sear them a bit, flash fry them directly on a hot grill in your back yard and enjoy a juicy burger with little liquid lost.
Sous Vide By the Fire
If you love to enjoy a night on the patio or in your back yard and need a bit of soup to warm you up, let the sous vide wand make supper. Cook up a batch of potato leek soup and blend it until creamy while you grill up smoky sausages over the fire. The soup
will do an amazing job of taking the zing out of your spicy sausages and brats. Toast a bit of bread with butter on a toasting fork over the fire to finish out the meal before you start the s’mores. Delicious.
Savor Your Garden Produce
Sealable bags that can go directly from your kitchen to the freezer to the sous vide pot are an ideal way to use up
- extra tomatoes
- small potatoes
- fresh carrots
- bell peppers, cored and cut into chunks
Add fresh onion, herbs and a bit of oil if you choose and lock in the flavor of harvest in a sealable bag. Such packets can be cooked sous vide, added to fresh ground beef for a pasta sauce, or paired with sausage and black beans for a hearty stew. Your only limitation is your imagination when you lock in the flavors with the sous vide method!
Check Your Inventory
As a general rule, whatever you seal in a sous vide bag will be usable for at least six weeks. If you pre-cook meats and veggies, do make sure to place them in an ice bath to completely stop the cooking process before you place them in the freezer to maintain the best flavor. Keep a permanent marker in the kitchen so you can date each package before freezing it solid.
Sous vide cooking, from meats to soups to stocks to pasta sauces, can be a great way to simplify the cooking process without missing out on flavor. Be ready to experiment with flavorings and oils, as the sous vide method captures all the flavor and fat. You may also be able to work with less expensive cuts of meat; the sous vide cooking process is a great tenderizer. Finally, use sous vide cooking as a way to meal plan so that each time you pull out the cutting board, you can prep at least two meals and have more time with your loved ones.