The past several years have seen sous vide cooking grow in popularity. Sous vide is one of those cooking methods known for soft, slow cooker recipes. But what are sous vide machines? Is a sous vide machine worth it?
Sous vide machines are a series of appliances related to this method of cooking. When people typically refer to these machines, they refer to immersion circulators. However, You can also use stainless steel cooking containers to refer to a sous vide machine.
Sometimes, sous vide machines can refer to the vacuum sealer for the bags. Regardless of the looseness of the term “machine,” they all refer to the act of cooking.
With this in mind, our article will delve into what makes this cooking technique worth it.
Table of Contents
What is Sous Vide?
Sous vide is a French word that translates to “under vacuum.” To cook sous vide, you need to follow two requirements:
- You need to have a sealable bag to lock in ingredients
- You need to have a large pot to submerge those ingredients
Just because you hear a word that sounds somewhat fancy doesn’t mean you will have to spend thousands of dollars.
Breaking down sous vide for what it comes down to this: It is a temperature-controlled water bath for cooking food. Much like cooking some meat on the grill, “low and slow” is the key.
The bags don’t technically have to be vacuum-sealed, but you need to get as much air out as possible. Cooking times can also be up to four hours, so be ready for a bit of a wait. However, that four-hour limit is only for the thickest cuts.
Just don’t forget to circulate.
What is Sous Vide Circulation?
Circulation is the process of continuously stirring the water. Immersion circulators do this job for you, acting as a combination temperature retaining and stirring device. However, a spoon and a regular thermometer can be just as easy.
Circulation allows you to ensure the water is moved around to retain a consistent temperature across the surface of what you are cooking. Regular checks ensure that no one side is being overcooked, making sure that everything is evenly tender.
Four Benefits For Why You Should Cook Sous Vide
#1: Sous Vide is Easy to Learn
There’s a common misconception that sous vide takes several hours and involves some magical cooking process. You would be wrong.
Most sous vide cooking processes involve five steps:
- Put your food in a sealed bag
- Get as much air as you can out of the bag
- Fill up a tub of water
- Get the water to a precise temperature
- Put the bag in the water
The only real difference between different meals is the cooking time. Given its ease, you don’t have to worry about overcooking meals.
#2: You Can Cook Almost Anything in Sous Vide
Cooked sous vide meals run the gambit of vegetarian to meaty. You can cook virtually anything with sous vide given the correct period of time.
Do you want to cook a chicken breast? Be prepared for a tender result. Steak? Once you’ve done one, you can do the next forty. Are you a vegetarian? You can do amazing things with eggplant or cauliflower.
There are sous vide recipes for literally anything.
#3: You Can Use Some Slow Cookers
Slow cookers, like Instant Pots, have sous vide settings you can use to cook. While this isn’t technically sous vide cooking due to lack of circulation, it’s pretty close.
Circulation doesn’t change much if you are inside of temperature-controlled space. As a result, a slow cooker doesn’t need the same level of circulation.
#4: Food Safety is Easy
Low and slow is a great way to ensure that food cooks thoroughly. With it being out of the way, it’s virtually effortless to avoid issues like cross-contamination.
Restaurants use it in small batches to allow themselves to focus on other, detailed dishes. You can also serve a large number of visitors with relative ease.
The Argument Against Sous Vide
Despite how straightforward it is, it’s important not to become entirely reliant on this cooking technique. Here’s a quick roundup as to why you should avoid sous vide for all of your dishes:
- Sous vide is known to create a softened texture, which isn’t appealing for all dishes. Many cooks supplement this by searing the food after.
- It provides consistent and accurate results but is not exceptionally delicious dishes.
- Professional chefs say that sous vide is a way for professional chefs to avoid the “business of cooking food.”
Final Thoughts – Is Sous Vide Worth It?
Sous vide is an excellent cooking method for making consistent dishes. It has tremendous potential for a combination of meat and herbs to create a delicious experience. However, other cooking methods are more appropriate situationally.
If you are looking for ways to do your sous vide cooking in an instant pot, check out this article. Thanks for reading!