Sous Vide (pronounced soo-veed) Cooking is speculated to have derived from the French. It is a method of preparing foods by vacuum sealing and cooking packed foods in controlled temperature water. This style of cooking is by no means a new. Cooks around the world have been sous vide cooking for decades. Chefs often favor this method due to the precise results obtained and the amount of flavor and nutrients preserved. Aside from use in restaurants, sous vide cooking at home has also become very popular.
The process is fairly simple and can be done by anyone with any amount of cooking experience. You begin by placing vacuum sealed food in controlled temperature water. The food is then cooked until it reaches its desired temperature. This process is simple but not always quick. As a matter of fact, it can take days for some foods, such as thicker cuts of meat, to cook. The steps for preparing foods for sous vide cooking includes; seasoning foods, vacuum sealing foods placed in protective pouches, placing foods inside temperature controlled water and serving once cooking is done.
- Easy way of preparing foods – Anyone can cook sous vide as it requires no special training or skills
- Quick, time-saving food prepping – Foods will have to be monitored but setup is quick and easy. With the right appliance, such as a sous vide cooker, you merely place food inside of the appliance, choose your desired setting and monitor until done
- Tastier Meals – Longer, slower cooking times helps to preserve flavor
- Nutrition Value – Retain nutrients and vitamins for more tastier meals
Sous Vide Cookers and Other Appliances
Sous vide cooking can be done easily with the right setup. For example, a sous vide cooker will certainly make the job less complicated. With the use of this type of appliance you would season your foods, vacuum seal, and drop foods inside the cooker. However, for anyone wanting to give this method a try without purchasing a machine, there are alternatives, but you should consult with a sous vide cooking expert or do some research before proceeding. You’ll need to invest in a good digital thermometer and have at least one of the following: a rice cooker or a heavy bottom stockpot.
A good commercial rice cooker will be suitable for sous vide and is an appliance that is readily available in most homes. Keep in mind… size do matter. So chose the right size cooker based on your cooking needs. Consider how well you can maintain temperature control and the reliability of the built in heating element. A probe thermometer should be used to accurately track the water temperature.
Heavy Bottom Stockpot
When using a heavy bottom stock pot, just add water, track temperature with thermometer, adjust burners as needed until the desired temperature is obtained. Add water as needed to control the temperature. Place food inside the pot once desired temperature is reached.
Types of Foods To Cook Sous Vide
Almost any food requiring a precise temperature setting can be fixed sous vide. Because of how sous vide foods are prepared, some seasoning may not absorb well and/or may taste different. Of course cooking times will vary all the same as when cooking via traditional methods. Foods like seafood, poultry and vegetables will require shorter cooking times. Tough meats like steak and ribs would require longer cooking times. Cakes, cheeses, and yogurts can also be cooked sous vide.
Why Cook Sous Vide
If you are new to sous vide cooking or just toying with the idea, a great site to visit would be Douglas Baldwin website. The site is a great resource on the subject of sous vide cooking.
Is It Safe?
Safety precautions should be taken at all times just the same as when cooking via traditional methods. Foods cooked should be fresh and properly prepared. Cooking utensils should be properly sterilized and bags containing raw meat should be disposed of after use. Visit the FDA website for more information on food safety and to research proper cooking times and safety procedures to follow when cooking Sous Vide.
In case you were wondering, I am not a sous vide cooker. Personally, I prefer cooking via more traditional methods. I am a southern girl who enjoys barbecue, baked sweet potato pies, and Cajun seasoning, which may not mix well when cooking sous vide. People who have been introduced to this style of cooking either really like or dislike it. If you like quick and easy cooking, and aim to preserve as much flavor as possible, this style of cooking may be for you. However, if you prefer your steaks well done, you may want to reconsider.