Sous Vide Introduction
Sous vide was popularized by French chef Georges Pralus in the 1970s after he first used it to prepare foie gras that retains most of its weight and texture. The method proved more efficient than traditional cooking. Since then, most French families began using it as the preferred cooking method for foie gras. Today, the cooking method is used in different parts of the world, and sous vide knowledge is available everywhere: from sous vide wiki pages to online video tutorials on social media sites. This article highlights everything about sous vide and how it has changed modern cooking.
The Theory Behind Sous Vide Cooking
The success of this cooking method depends on 3 factors: heat transfer features of the food to be prepared, food quantity, and preparation temperature. For example, it’s easier to prepare vegetables than meat when using sous vide because the latter transfers heat slower than the former.
You need a particular temperature to determine the doneness of the meat you are cooking. Additionally, the higher the quantity of food, the longer it will take to prepare it.
Pros and Cons of Sous Vide Cooking
- Since the temperature is usually regulated, sous vide allows you to prepare food without overcooking it.
- This cooking method also enables you to cook food evenly without worrying about half-cooked edges or centers.
- It allows for time flexibility, for example, you can leave your steak for more than hour on the water bath, attend to other urgent errands, and it will remain in good condition.
- Sous vide cooking appliances are expensive due to their fantastic temperature regulating characteristics.
- Since sous vide allows food to cook below the boiling point, it prevents browning which adds some flavor to the meal.
- This method is time-consuming and requires you to have patience.
The Difference Between Normal Cooking Methods and Sous Vide
Unlike grilling or smoking where you have to keep continually looking at the food to make sure that one side is not overcooked, sous vide is very simple. Just place your food in a vacuum bag, put it in a heating water bath, and allow it to cook.
It’s very rare for grilled or smoked meat to be tender all around. This scenario happens because usual cooking methods use high temperatures which heat up the protein in the meat and harden it. Sous vide allows meat to be cooked at low temperatures without bursting the cell walls. The result is tender cooked meat on all sides.
When you grill or smoke meat, it shrinks by more than 25% because the high temperature breaks down the collagen in the meat. But when you use the sous vide method, your meat retains most of its original size due to the low temperatures.
Food cooked using sous vide technique loses less moisture and retains most of its natural aroma since its covered with a vacuum bag. On the other hand, grilled or smoked foods are rarely included, meaning that they lose most of their moisture and natural smell.
What You Need For Sous Vide and How to Do It
Large container or pot
1. Clip the precision cooker to the large container.
2. Add some water until it reaches the minimum filling line on the cooker and exceed it.
3. Set the precision cooker to the desired temperature and turn it on to begin heating the water.
4. As the water heats to the preferred temperature, place your ingredients in the vacuum bags, squeeze the air out of them, and then seal them.
5. Place the bags in the heating water once it reaches the desired temperature and leave it for a specific period, depending on the ingredient.
6. Once the cooking period elapses, you can remove the vacuum bags and serve the food.
Sous Vide Recipes
In case you want to try out sous vide, but don’t know where to start, you can try the following simple Sous Vide recipes:
Medium Cooked Beef Steak
1. Cut the steak to a thickness of 1 inch.
2. Season it and put it in the vacuum bag.
3. Press all the air out and seal the bag.
4. Let the water in the bath reach between 52 and 54 degrees, depending on your altitude.
5. Insert the vacuum bag with the meat into the water bath and let it cook for one hour.
6. Once cooked, serve it.
Soft and Juicy Chicken Breast
1. Follow the steak procedures of cutting, seasoning, and placing meat in the vacuum bag. The only difference is in the temperature setting and cooking time.
2. Before you place the chicken breast in the water bath, make sure it’s at a temperature of between 60 and 66 degrees.
3. Let it cook between 1 to 4 hours, before serving.
If you are a vegetarian or want to make a super carrot salad, try this glazed carrot recipe.
1. Take a pound of carrots that have been peeled and cut into tiny 1″ pieces and set them aside.
2. Take the vacuum bag and place the carrots with 2 tablespoons of butter, a tablespoon of white sugar, and a pinch of salt and black pepper.
3. Seal the bag after removing all the air inside.
4. Place the vacuum bag in the water bath once it reaches 84 degrees.
5. Let it cook for 1 hour before serving.
In case you don’t have a precision cooker, you can use a ThermoPro food thermometer to keep track of the water temperature.
Now that you have learned everything you need to know about sous vide, try it out and see whether its something you can get used to.