Nowadays cooking like your favorite celebrity chef is much more attainable. Home kitchens everywhere are housing many types of high tech cookware once only sought after by restaurant chefs. One such piece of equipment is the sous vide machine or immersion circulator. In the past, this method of cooking was expensive and invasive, but is now growing in popularity. So, what is this whole sous vide thing? Is it complicated or too science-y for the average home cook? The answer is no! This is something anyone can do at home and might even make your life easier and much more delicious.
Sous vide in French means “under vacuum.” This makes sense when you consider what it fundamentally is. At its basic level, sous vide is cooking food in an air-tight container, in temperature-controlled water. A vacuum sealer is an ideal way to create a near perfect seal. A large container (plastic bin, soup pot) is filled with water and the immersion circulator is submerged inside. The temperature and time is selected and the machine comes to life preparing the water bath. When the water reaches the desired temperature, the meat or other food item is placed in. When the food item reaches the set temperature many hours later, it is done! I recommend a quick sear in a pan to create a crust on the outside. A minute on each side is all that is necessary.
Being gently cooked in water means the food item doesn’t come in contact with air, flame, metal, and is never boiled. This creates an environment that allows total control and even doneness. No guesswork is needed, unlike traditional methods where meat needs to be poked with a thermometer or cut open, exposing its juices, to see doneness. You set your temperature of choice and when the meat reaches that temperature, it is ready to eat. It also means the most tender meat you could possibly dream of!
Chicken, pork, beef, lamb, fish, vegetables, and eggs all work great in the sous vide. You can add oils, butter, or seasonings to create any flavor profile you want. Each item will require a different temperature and time requirement. When cooking with such low temperatures, the key is the time to kill off any harboring bacteria as well as create a tender product. The magic of sous vide, is taking lean, tough cuts and making them super tender. You can buy an inexpensive piece of meat and make it taste incredible! We often buy chuck roasts, season with rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. After 46 hours at 133 degrees, the meat is fall apart tender.
Being a working parent, dinner can be tough to get on the table without proper planning and preparation. Cooking with the Sous Vide allows me to have my protein cooked and ready when I need it. It’s incredibly easy and creates the most delicious food. So, will you sous vide??