Understanding the Sous Vide Method
If you’re considering learning how to cook using the sous vide method, you’re not alone. The sous vide cooking method has taken off in the market for at-home chefs in recent years. Sous vide, pronounced soo-veed, is a French term meaning “under vacuum”, and it refers to the process of cooking food low and slow throughout the day in a water bath heated to a specific temperature. Learning how to cook using the sous vide method may sound intimidating, but it’s relatively easy once you establish the key components of the cooking method. It’s all about having the proper cooking equipment, as well as following the right technique to ensure you’re achieving your desired results.
What Equipment Is Needed?
Ensuring you have the right equipment is vital to cooking sous vide, as there is a precise process that has to be followed to cook the food to your desired liking and doneness. The sous vide method involves sealing your dish in an airtight, vacuum-sealed bag and cooking it at a low temperature in a water bath. Luckily for beginners, very minimal equipment is needed to try out the sous vide method. A larger cooking vessel is required to use for your water bath as well as any Ziploc-styled bag that you can use for vacuum-sealing your dish. Aside from the cooking vessel and vacuum-sealed bags, all other equipment options are completely optional. For instance, if you become an avid sous vide enthusiast, you may consider purchasing other equipment designed for sous vide cooking such as a vacuum-sealing machine, Cambro containers, or an immersion circulator.
What Are the Steps Involved?
Although the term itself may sound complex, thankfully the cooking method is not. There are only a few steps involved in the sous vide cooking process, which are outlined below.
Preparation of the dish
The first step in the process is to prepare your food however you desire. Typically, there is very minimal preparation work required when cooking sous vide, as the method helps to maintain the food’s natural flavors and integrity. In other words, many chefs don’t use marinades, seasonings, or tenderizers before cooking their dishes. However, if you have a preference to prep your food in any way prior to cooking, that would be the first step in cooking sous vide.
Packaging of the dish
After preparing your food, it’s important to ensure that your dish is properly vacuum sealed in an airtight bag. This is the most vital step in the process, as it helps to ensure the food is cooked not only thoroughly, but consistently as well. During this step, you also have the option to add any aromatics into the bag with your dish.
Cooking of the dish
When it comes to actually cooking the dish, it’s the most time-consuming aspect of the sous vide method. This is primarily because the food is cooked low and slow, meaning in a water bath heated to a low temperature and for an extended period of time. This helps the food to maintain its natural integrity and flavors, as it’s cooked in its own natural juices. It also helps to break down tendons and ligaments typically found in tougher cuts of meat such as pork, duck, or turkey.
Searing of the dish
After thoroughly cooking your dish, you may consider searing it as well. This is especially common when cooking meat using the sous vide method, as it helps to add char to your meat’s exterior and adds more flavor overall. If you decide to sear your dish, you may do so in either a cast iron skillet or on a grill top. However, this step is completely optional based on the chef’s preference.
What Can I Cook Using The Sous Vide Technique?
Many people today think that the sous vide technique is only to be used when cooking sous vide protein. However, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. The great thing about the sous vide method, aside from how simple it is to use, is that you can cook relatively anything you desire using it. Listed below are a few fan favorites when it comes to cooking sous vide!
- Tougher cuts of meat
- Fruits and vegetables
Consider giving the sous vide cooking technique a try. It could even become your new go-to cooking method!