The Sous Vide Cooking Method
If you’ve recently developed a knack for the sous vide cooking method, you’re not alone. Throughout the past decade, the sous vide cooking technique has quickly taken off in several higher-end restaurants and is even gaining a market for at-home chefs. The French term, pronounced as soo-veed, refers to the cooking method of cooking vacuum-sealed food low and slow in a cooking vessel set to a designated lower temperature. In other words, it involves taking your desired food and sealing it in an airtight bag, then cooking it at a lower temperature for a longer period of time in a water bath.
This method has become extremely popular because of its ability to preserve the food’s natural flavors and overall integrity. It also preserves fat contents on meats, which is a struggle other cooking methods don’t oftentimes conquer. The great thing about the sous vide method, especially for beginners, is that little to no preparation work or cleanup is required. It’s as simple as sealing the food into a Ziploc-style bag, submerging it into the temperature-designated water bath, and allowing it to cook thoroughly.
However, it isn’t to be misconstrued that the sous vide method doesn’t allow for adaptations depending on the chef’s preferences. If tenderizing, seasoning, or marinating food before cooking is a personal favorite, then it’s absolutely encouraged to do so! However, it’s not a required step in the sous vide process. Many chefs also like to add aromatics to their dish before vacuum-sealing, or even prefer to remove their food prior to it being thoroughly cooked and sear it in a cast iron or on a grill. Again, this isn’t required, but is encouraged if that is the chef’s personal preference! There are so many different adaptations and ways to go about the sous vide cooking style depending on each chef’s personal inclinations. Regardless, the food is bound to be consistently cooked and delicious each and every time!
What Equipment Is Required for Sous Vide Cooking?
The great thing about the sous vide cooking method is that little to no actual equipment is required. If you’re just getting started, you can try out the cooking technique as long as you own Ziploc-style bags and a larger pot to submerge the food into. For many chefs, however, after developing a knack for the cooking method, they decide to purchase an immersion circulator. An immersion circulator is just as it sounds – a piece of equipment that helps to heat the water in the cooking vessel to a designated temperature, then continues to circulate that temperature throughout the cooking vessel to ensure consistent cooking. Many at-home chefs also decide to purchase sous vide-style container that better helps the immersion circulator to operate. Last, but certainly not least, you can also purchase a sous vide searing tool (if desired) that helps to add that charred outside to your food after thoroughly cooking. However, again the equipment is entirely voluntary, as little to no special equipment is needed to give the sous vide cooking technique a try.
What Foods Can I Cook Using The Sous Vide Method?
Another large misconception about the sous vide cooking method is that it’s only to be used for meats. However, that is beyond far from the truth. The sous vide method can be used to cook just about anything and everything that you could desire. Although it is a great option for cooking meats, many people also enjoy cooking vegetables, eggs, custards, ice cream, and even cocktails using the sous vide method.
When it comes to cooking meats, however, the sous vide method is extremely good at helping to break down those tougher, oftentimes thought to be cheaper, cuts of meat. Because the food is cooked low and slow, it allows time for the tougher tendons and muscles in the cuts of meat to break down and tenderize. Not only does this help when it comes to cooking on a budget, but those tougher cuts of meat are actually the most flavorful to cook using the sous vide technique. The natural flavors and integrity of the meats are allowed to escape, thus making the meat more flavorful and juicier! Again, many people also enjoy searing their cuts of meat after cooking with the sous vide technique to get that charred flavor they desire.
Whether you’re already a sous vide enthusiast, or if you’re simply looking to try out a new cooking technique, the sous vide method is a great option for anyone. Consider getting started today. Who knows, you may become a sous vide enthusiast yourself!