If you're looking for more info on what is Sous Vide, you've come to the right place! I'll cover everything you've ever wanted to know about sous vide.
What Is Sous Vide Cooking?
So maybe you're looking for the perfect way to cook a steak. Or maybe you've seen someone use a sous vide (pronounced “sue veed”) machine on your favorite cooking show. At first glance, the process can look quite complicated, but in reality, it's quite simple and using a sous vide machine at home is becoming increasingly popular. So what is sous vide?
"Sous Vide" is French for "under vacuum". It is also sometimes referred to as low-temperature long time (LTLT) cooking. The process as we know it today was pioneered sometime in France in the 60s and 70s.
You sous vide food by placing it in a plastic pouch that is submerged in a water bath. The water bath is then heated to a very specific temperature by using a sous vide machine. The sous vide machine circulates the water and keeps it at the exact temperature you set it to.
Here's a list of some of the equipment for sous vide that you might want to check out.
What Is The Point Of Sous Vide?
Sous Vide actually has a myriad of benefits over most other common cooking methods. Here is just a few reasons why chefs turn to sous vide as a cooking method:
- Evenly Cooked. The biggest advantage of sous vide is evenly cooked food. When you cook on the stovetop or grill, the outer surface of the food gets cooked hard and fast--but the center of the food takes longer to cook. So what you end up with, is a dish that's too well done on the outside, and done just right only on the inside. In contrast, when you sous vide something, ALL of the dish is at the same temperature.
- No Guesswork. Sous vide takes all the guesswork out of how to cook things like steak to perfection. Just set your sous vide machine to the appropriate temperature and let it do all the work for you! No wondering if it's cooked to the appropriate doneness. No having to babysit the grill, oven or stovetop to make sure you don't overcook your steak. Just perfect steak every time.
- Cook Ahead. You can make proteins like steak 1-2 hours in advance, and just let it hang out while YOU hang out doing something else. Just sear it when ready and it's freshly done.
- Meal Prep. You can make dishes days ahead of time. Then, when you're ready, just bring it back up to the temperature you started with---and it will just heat but not overcook.
- Longer-lasting. Your first cook killed all the bacteria in the meat, so it lasts longer in your fridge, but as I mentioned above, it won't overcook or dry out when you're ready to cook.
- Moist Food. Since you're cooking in a contained, closed environment, any moisture that the food releases gets saved in the bag rather than evaporating. Not only does this make for a more flavorful sauce, but it's also less likely to dry proteins.
- Safer Cooking. Apart from the searing part for proteins like steak, there aren't hot surfaces and high temperatures involved. So your kids could start dinner before you get home, without you worrying about them.
- Minimal Cleanup. Since the food is completely contained in a plastic bag during the cooking process, there is no need to clean the pot of water you sous vide the food in. You may need to clean a single pan if you decide to sear your food after sous vide cooking it, but other than that nothing really needs to be cleaned.
- Taste. Really guys, even if NONE of the things above I said were true? You'd sous vide food for one reason only--it will be some of the BEST food you've ever had. That alone is reason enough to sous vide at home.
Seriously, if I haven't convinced you yet, just one bite of a Sous Vide steak and you're sure to become a believer.
Is Sous Vide Cooking Healthy?
Sous Vide cooking is actually a very healthy and effective cooking method, but there are a lot of misconceptions about the process.
- Cooking Food At A Low Temperature. Because the food is cooked at a controlled low temperature, many people become concerned that the food won't be thoroughly cooked and free from harmful bacteria.
- Since sous vide cooks keeps all the food heated to a specific temperature, it is every bit as safe (if not safer) than more traditional cooking methods such as grilling, cooking in the oven or on the stovetop.
- You can feel safe knowing that every bit of the food has been brought to the appropriate internal temperature, wherewith other cooking methods you can end up with a fully cooked outside yet still have an undercooked center.
- Cooking Food In Plastic. Due to the type of plastic used in most food-safe plastic bags (polyethylene) and the low temperature at which the bags are heated too, there is no need to fear that anything from the plastic will leach into the food.
Are Ziploc Bags Safe For Sous Vide?
Absolutely! Ziploc states on their website that all of their bags are BPA and toxin-free, meaning there is no chance of any chemicals leaching into your food during the cooking process.
Theres's also some discussion as to whether you can properly remove all of the air from a Ziploc bag or if you're leaving room for bacteria to grow while the food is cooking.
The food and any air that is in the bag get brought to a temperature where bacteria will be eliminated, so there is no need to worry if you can't get the bag completely void or air.
Do You Need To Vacuum For Sous Vide?
Another common misconception with sous vide cooking is that you need to have a vacuum sealer to properly remove air from the plastic bag you're cooking the food in. This is actually not the case.
In order to remove the air from the bag, simply follow this water displacement method:
- Fill. Fill your sink, a large bowl or pot with water. Then fill the plastic bag with the ingredients to intend to sous vide.
- Submerge. Slowly submerge the bag of food into the water while leaving the "zipper" section of the bag above the water. The pressure from the water will effectively remove the air from the bag.
- Zip. Zip the bag closed once the air has been removed and you're ready to get cooking.
What Are The Best Foods To Sous Vide?
- Beef, Fish, Pork and Chicken. The most common thing that is cooked with this method is meat. The great thing about this process is that it does a fantastic job at infusing the meat with the flavors of any marinade, herbs or seasonings you use.
- The meat also comes out more moist, there are plenty of leftover juices that can be used to make a sauce, and you ensure that the meat is cooked perfectly to your preferred doneness. It also does a great job of making tougher cuts of meat super tender.
- Eggs. Another one of the most popular things cooked using this method, eggs come out perfect every time.
- You can ensure that your eggs are your preferred texture by setting the machine to the exact temperature needed without fear of having sections of the eggs that will over or undercooked.
- There's also no need to babysit the eggs since they'll never exceed the temperature you set the machine to.
- Veggies. Sous vide is a wonderful method for cooking vegetables that you'd prefer to leave crisp and firm, such as carrots and asparagus.
- You can rest easy knowing that they'll come out perfectly crisp and cooked without fearing that they'll turn to mush from being overcooked.
- Custard-Like Desserts. You've simply never truly experienced cheesecake until you've had sous vide cheesecake.
- This method is great for custardy desserts like cheesecake, creme brulee, pandan custards, pumpkin pie or anything else you want to have a perfectly creamy consistency.
Now that you know what Sous Vide is, what will you cook first? Let me know in the comments!
Make sure to share this with your friends on Pinterest and Facebook so they can start Sous Vide cooking as well!