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If adventurous cooking has been limited to an Instapot, crockpot, smoker, or some of the other more well-known kitchen appliances, then you should branch out and try your hand at sous vide cooking.
Preparing food from your personal kitchen can now rival the food prepared in a fancy restaurant.
That’s right! Many chefs use sous vide to perfectly cook thick steaks to medium-rare. The sous vide method is convenient and ensures the perfect temperature.
With the right tools and know-how, you will be trying new cooking methods such as sous vide in no time!
What Exactly is Sous Vide?
When you prepare a bath, the temperature should neither be too hot nor too cold. Sous vide is almost like giving your food a bath. Just like a bath, regulating the temperature of the water is imperative.
The food shouldn’t just be thrown into a hot bath of water. There is a technique and method to this type of cooking.
The food must be vacuum sealed in a bag first. There are bags made just for this method of cooking.
Sous vide cooking is a cooking technique that controls the temperature of water to create restaurant-like results. Sous vide translates to “under vacuum” in French.
After giving a dunk in a water bath controlled by an immersion circulator, the food will just need a quick sear and you will have a perfectly cooked piece of meat.
Why Should I Sous Vide My Food?
Whether you are feeding yourself or one hundred guests, this method can make meal prep easier. First you get all the proteins or vegetables ready by sealing them in individual bags.
Then, take out exactly what you need for a meal.
Time is saved because after using the sous vide method of heating the meat, you only need to unwrap the protein, quickly sear, slice and serve. Voila!
The consistent results of the meat being cooked all the way through is one advantage to this type of cooking1
Additionally, sous vide is a healthier way to cook because you are not cooking in gobs of butter and oil. The food is heated through by the consistent temperature of the water.
Oil and butter can be used at the very end for a quick sear, but it isn’t what is heating the meat.
Another advantage to sous vide is the food will be evenly done all the way through. There won’t be dry edges on your meat or rare centers.
The consistency of the temperature heating all the way through the food will give consistent results.
What Do I Need to Sous Vide?
Sous vide cooking was limited to restaurants at one time, but now there are affordable sous vide machines you can use at home. They are reasonably priced and cost about one-hundred dollars for a small, powerful machine.
Once you have made the initial investment in an immersion circulator, you will be cooking foods confidently the sous vide way.
You will also need vacuum sealable or resealable plastic bags and a large pot for a bath of water at the perfect temperature.
A vacuum sealer and vacuum sealings bags are also helpful tools for this method of cooking. Other than that, you just need to practice the technique using your favorite cuts of meat or vegetables.
The Best Foods to Sous Vide
There are many tasty options to sous vide and many cuts of meat to choose from. Chicken, pork, beef or fish are all viable options for your new foodie adventure.
Sous vide steaks, chicken thighs, pork chop, or chicken breasts for a tender uniform texture. Boiling or steaming vegetables will take some of the flavor, but this cooking technique will keep the rich flavor of vegetables.
Finding a sous vide recipe should be relatively easy.
Most recipes will consist of seasoning the meat, adding some aromatics, sealing, and cooking. The best food to sous vide is really up to your individual taste preference.
Sous vide will bring a cooked steak to the next level. Once you sous vide salmon you might just forget about other ways to prepare your meat.
The restaurant-like quality of the final dish will wow you and your guests. Sous vide chicken breast and you won’t have to worry about your chicken being overdone.
The chicken is cooked all the way through, and all types of proteins will be served at the perfect temperature.
It does take longer to cook using the sous vide method, but the time is close to being exclusively hands-off. Other methods of cooking require the chef to be more attentive to the food. If you were traditionally cooking a steak, it would take about 15-20 minutes. A sous vide steak would take an hour or more depending on the preferred doneness.
Advantages of Sous Vide
One of the advantages of sous vide is less meat shrinkage and the food is prepared evenly. Another advantage is the hands-off cooking time.
There is no need to stand by the stove like you would if you were frying or sautéing. Vegetables maintain their bright colors and overcooking food is almost impossible.
Perfectly cooked food is one of the best things about this cooking technique.
Disadvantages of Sous Vide
As the saying goes, “A watched pot never boils.” One of the disadvantages of it is waiting for the water bath to preheat. The process can be slow and gradual.
Additionally, it might seem a little too scientific for some chefs. It is not the best technique to use if you are in a rush. Also, the flavor of foods like fresh garlic or baby leaves is altered.
Since alcohol cannot evaporate from the tight seal of sous vide, you can not use alcohol in the sous vide process.
Of course, you will need special equipment to control the temperature of the water, and for some this may be too much of an investment.
Is it Safe?
Some foods, like salmon, should be cooked at a lower temperature, but should not be left in the bath of water for more than two hours.
Sous vide cooking is as safe as any other method of cooking if food temperature recommendations are followed.
Washing your hands, avoiding cross-contamination, and washing food are just some of the precautions used for any type of cooking.
There are a few tools you will need to try out this method of cooking, but once you have the tools, you can indulge in restaurant-quality meals in the comfort of your own kitchen.
You can use this method of cooking with any type of protein. Steaks are especially yummy because they are evenly cooked to preferred doneness.