A beginner’s guide to sous vide cooking
Readers of my blog know that I absolutely adore sous vide cooking. From strip steak to Thanksgiving turkey to pork belly bao, we use the technique frequently in our home. In fact, I just cooked pork belly sous vide at my pop-up last week.
Today, I introduce to you guest blogger, Joe Hughes, also known as the Sous Vide Wizard. Hughes is an expert in the cooking technique and provides the latest sous vide industry news, techniques, tricks, and recipes on his website. Follow him on Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook.
Take it away, Joe…
Sous Vide cooking was once a technique only utilized in the best restaurants around the world. Sous Vide is actually a French cooking technique. The name its self means “under vacuum” in French. It refers to the process of vacuum sealing food and putting it in a tempered water bath. The sealed bag allows the warmth of the water to slowly cook your food to perfection. This technique revolves around the idea that your food will cook evenly in a controlled atmosphere once it is brought to the correct temperature.
We are so accustomed to the traditional way of cooking that our immediate thoughts may be “Does the food actually cook?” “Will the food have any flavor?” “Is this method truly safe?” the answer is YES! The concept is to use precise, controlled temperature to deliver delicious tenderized food that is cooked to perfection. Unlike stove top cooking, which forces you to monitor your food at all times and may even require you to use a food thermometer to make sure it cooks on the inside as well as the outside, sous Vide Cooking allows you to cook all your favorite meals without the need for constant monitoring. If you are yet not convinced on why sous vide cooking should become part of your cooking routine, below are some advantages you should consider.
Advantages of Sous Vide Cooking
Sous Vide produces end results that cannot be achieved by any other cooking method, the reason being Sous Vide cooking utilizes a low-temperature approach when it comes to cooking your food. Unlike a skillet or traditional pan that reaches between 300 and 600 degrees Fahrenheit, sous Vide will slowly cook your food to completion in order to give you flavorful, succulent, evenly cooked food time and time again.
Consistency – Because you are cooking your food at a precise temperature for a precise amount of time, you will achieve consistent heat all around. The inside and the outside of your food will be cooked evenly from edge to edge. You will no longer need to worry about having an overcooked, dry exterior and an undercooked interior when you are cooking your favorite meat. Instead, you will have a flavorful meal every time.
This cooking method is perfect for trying new recipes as you will achieve the correct temperature every time. Doing so allows you to be able to follow the recipes’ instructions to a T.
Flavor – The food is cooked in its own juices which allows the food to remain tender, juicy and flavorful. There is no frying when you cook using the Sous Vide cooking way, so your food will be cooked in a healthier manner. Also, the flavors of your food will not be “burned off” as they might in traditional cooking.
No Overcooking – There is no such thing as overcooking your food when you use this technique. Not only will your food be cooked at a low-temperature setting, precision cooking brings the desired food to its exact temperature and then remains at that temperature until the food is cooked to perfection.
Versatility – Finding a technique that is versatile to your needs is key as the more versatile the technique is, the more foods you are able to cook using it. You can cook all types of meats such as steak, chicken, turkey, pork and much more. You also have the flexibility to cook vegetables, eggs, and even different types of seafood such as shrimp, salmon, and tilapia.
Equipment Needed to Cook The Sous Vide Way
Just like traditional stove top cooking, there is specific equipment you will need in order to cook the Sous Vide way. When Sous Vide was only used at restaurants, there was heavy and large equipment that was needed. That is no longer the case. You can actually begin using the Sous Vide method almost right away. Here are the essentials you will need in order to do so.
Immersion Circulators – When it comes to Sous Vide, we consider immersion circulators to be the best way to embrace this style of cooking. They are affordable, easy to use, and will only take up a small section of your kitchen countertop, which means they are also convenient. After extensive research, I feel comfortable with my recommendations as to what is the best sous vide machine. If you’re new to the idea of sous vide and want to get your feet wet before jumping in, I recommend getting the ChefSteps CS10001 Joule or the Anova Culinary Bluetooth Precision Cooker. If you’re someone who likes to commit 100% to something new, then go with the PolyScience Creative Series Immersion Circulator.
We consider these to be the very best immersion circulators because unlike other immersion circulators they were intended to be used with any pot that is over 5 gallons. You simply clamp them to the side of the pot, and you are ready to go. These immersion circulators are also customizable and affordable.
Slow Cookers – Although slow cookers will not give you the same results and you will need to have a precision thermometer attached to it, if you are interested in trying Sous Vide cooking without getting any new equipment, a slow cooker is the way to go. Nevertheless, the experience will not be the same, and you will have to watch your food closely. Using a slow cooker before purchasing an immersion circulator will give you an idea of what Sous Vide cooking is all about.
Vacuum Sealer and Bags – Using a vacuum sealer along with vacuum sealed bags will give the best results when you are preparing to cook the Sous Vide way as it prevents evaporation and gives your food cohesive, all-around heating. Although it is not necessary for you to vacuum seal the bags, we have found that it does make a difference in the way the food cooks.
To conclude, if your time is limited and you do not want to spend hours monitoring your food, this method may be the right one for you. Sous Vide cooking is easy and effective while giving you flavorful food that is well cooked from the inside out. We truly believe once you try Sous Vide cooking, you will enjoy it just as much as we do.
To read more about sous vide cooking, visit the Sous Vide Wizard’s website.