How To Get Started With Sous Vide Cooking
There is a rising trend in the number of people that are turning to sous vide cooking, and there is good reason for this. You can produce perfectly turned out gourmet meals at home. This article will explain what you need to get started in this exciting world of suvee cooking.
Sous vide is actually about cooking food in bags that are vacuum sealed, and placed in a temperature controlled water bath. By using this cooking method, you have precise control over your cooking and there is no guess work.
You will not under cook or over cook food again when you turn to cooking sous vide. Most people use this cooking method for meat and poultry, but you can use it for vegetables and for some sensational results with eggs.
What Sous Vide Cooking Equipment Will You Require?
You don’t really need a lot of equipment to get going with this great cooking method. You will need a sous vide cooker, and these come in two forms. There is the self contained suvee cooker, which has the water bath built into it. These can be very convenient, and you can see our review of the top self contained sous vide machines here.
The main advantage of using a self contained suvee machine is that everything is there for you. You do not have to worry about clamping devices to pots, and most of them have a timer built in so you can set it and forget it.
The downside with the self contained unit is that you are restricted by the size of the water bath. To be honest, these self contained sous vide machines are more than capable of meeting the needs of the average suvee cook, who is serving up gourmet meals at home. Another issue is that they can be a bit bulky and take up a fair amount of kitchen top space. If this is not a problem for you then a self contained unit could be the ideal solution.
If you want to be more adventurous you can go for an immersion circulator. These are inserted into exiting stock pots or similar water containers, and this often involves using a clamping device to make the whole set up secure.
The main advantage of an immersion circulator is that you are not so restricted when it comes to the amount of cooking that you can do. There are some restrictions though, and you need to fully understand this before you buy. Our review of a top immersion circulator can be found here.
Whether you choose a self contained sous vide cooker or an immersion circulator they will do a similar job. They will heat up the water in the water bath to the temperature that you require, and then maintain that temperature to within a degree so that you can be sure of perfect results every time.
What About The Bags?
You will need some sealable food bags to prevent the juices of the food escaping. These bags will also ensure efficient heat transfer from the circulating water to the food that you are cooking. If you are only planning short cooking times, then you can use zip lock bags. You will need to expel all of the air once the food is in the bag.
For more serious longer time cooking, it is recommended that you use a vacuum sealer. These can be obtained fairly inexpensively, but be aware that the bags are for one time use only, so you will need to factor the cost of these in as well.
How Do You Cook Sous Vide?
Once you have all the equipment in place you will need to know what temperature to cook your food at and for how long. We will be presenting you with several recipes on this website so look out for that.
The actual process is fairly straight forward. Once you know the temperature to cook at and the time required you can pre-heat the water using your sous vide equipment. Prepare your food by adding the seasoning and aromatics that you desire.
Place the food items into the plastic bags and seal them. Once the water is up to temperature then place the bags into the water and set the desired time that you want to cook these items. If you have a self contained cooker then there will normally be a timer. Immersion circulators do not always include a timer, so you will need to use an external timer.
You should be able to walk away at this point and do other things while your food cooks. One of the advantages of a self contained suvee cooker is that water evaporation is kept to a minimum due to an efficient lid. With an immersion circulator, you will need to periodically check the water levels. Most have an alarm to let you know if the levels are reaching a critically low point.
After the cooking process is complete, you just remove the food bags from the water and then serve the food or move to the next part of the process (e.g. searing steaks). It is really simple and delicious food is guaranteed.
What Kind Of Food Can You Cook Sous Vide?
The most popular food that people cook sous vide is steak. We have a great guide to cooking the perfect steaks sous vide here. You can cook the high quality cuts as well as lower quality cuts very well with sous vide.
Another favorite is chicken breast. You can obtain some superb results with this and it is guaranteed to be the best chicken you have ever tasted. Preparation for this is really easy and the end result delicious.
Is there anything worse than a dry pork chop? Well you can say goodbye to this with sous vide cooking. All of the juices and flavors of the chop will be locked in and you will not believe how good they taste.
You can cook amazing ribs using sous vide. The cooking time will be fairly long to get the tenderness that you want, but it is well worth it. If the weather is bad outside you can enjoy ribs inside with your sous vide machine.
Fancy some perfectly cooked eggs? Well it is possible with suvee cooking. By varying the cooking temperatures you can create eggs that are so delicate that they break when you touch them, to hard boiled eggs without the chalky yolk. Perfect poached eggs are a breeze with sous vide.
Vegetable cooking is possible as well. You can cook really tender carrots with your sous vide equipment.
Treat you journey into sous vide cooking as an adventure because it will be. You will not believe the fantastic results that you will achieve with this method of cooking. Your friends will all think that you have taken gourmet cooking lessons.