Cooking sous vide is more than just a trend, it’s a game-changer in the kitchen. If you have been wondering what this crazy cooking method is all about, read on.
What is Sous Vide Cooking?
Sous vide is a cooking method that uses precise temperature control to achieve perfect, repeatable results. To cook sous vide, you need an immersion circulator and a container of water. The water is heated to a precise temperature, and foods are cooked evenly from edge to edge, to the exact doneness you want. Foods will not overcook while in the water bath, so dinner is ready when you are.
Who Should Cook Sous Vide Cooking?
- Foodies – Chef’s have been using this technology since the 70’s. Now you can too!
- Healthy Eaters – Vegetables retain their nutrients because the bag is sealed, nutrients can’t escape. You can also use less butter or oil to coat the food.
- Families – Enjoy the same lifestyle benefits of slow-cooker cooking but without dried out, overcooked proteins
- Holiday Hosts – No more dried-out turkey, overcooked prime rib, tough brisket, or lamb. Your proteins will always be perfectly juicy, even if you or your guests are running late.
- BBQ & Grilling Enthusiasts – Smoke for flavor, sous vide for texture. The most succulent barbecue on the planet is cooked sous vide
What Equipment do you need?
- A large metal stockpot or polycarbonate food storage container
- Freezer safe, name brand zipper bags (BPA-free, made with polyethylene or polypropylene)
What is the Water Displacement Method?
You don’t need specialty equipment, other than an immersion circulator, to cook sous vide. The water displacement method eliminates the need for a vacuum sealer. As long as you have a freezer-safe plastic zipper bag, you can use the pressure of the water to force air out of the bag, creating your own vacuum seal.
- Place your food and additional ingredients in a high-quality, freezer-safe plastic zipper bag, but do not seal
- Slowly lower the bag into the water, using a long spoon or tongs, if needed. The pressure of the water will push the air out of the bag, creating a vacuum seal of sorts.
- Once the food is submerged, seal the top of the bag. Clip to the side of the pot, if desired
Food Thickness and Cooking Time
The thicker your food, the longer it will take to reach the core temperature. A good guideline to follow is this: ½-inch thick for 30 min, 1-inch for 1 hour, 2-inch for three hours, 3-inch for six hours. Tough cuts of meat are best cooked for much longer periods of time, to achieve a braised texture.
Most meats need to be finished after cooking, if only to make them “look pretty” since the cooking is actually done. Be sure to pat the protein very dry before searing. (I usually prefer to sear proteins in a screaming hot skillet for about 30 to 45 seconds, but you can also use your grill, broiler, or a blow torch.)
How to Sous Vide Safely
Cooking sous vide is just as safe as traditional cooking methods. The precision temperature control of sous-vide cooking means it actually has the potential to be safer than traditional cooking methods. (This is exactly why one of its first major applications was making hospital food). Almost all foods are cooked above 130 degrees F, to reduce the risk of harmful bacterial growth. Searing meats after cooking kills surface bacteria. Food handling after cooking follows the same rules as traditional cooking.
Cooking foods to lower final temperatures than you’re accustomed to with other methods—also applies in sous vide cooking to pork and eggs. You’re essentially pasteurizing the food.
What to Cook Sous Vide
- Poached eggs for a crowd
- Ice cream
- Mashed potatoes
- Vegetables (asparagus, carrots, etc.)
- Fried chicken
- Thanksgiving turkey
- Beef tenderloin
- Bone-in pork chops
- Pork shoulder
- Starbucks egg bites, mini quiches
- Poached fruit
- Custards (ice cream, crème brulee, pot de crème, flan)
- Lemon curd
- Temper chocolate
- Defrost frozen foods quickly
Check out our favorite All-Clad Sous Vide Professional Immersion Circulator at MetroKitchen and impress your friends with your culinary prowess.