What Is Sous Vide Cooking?
‘Sous Vide’ is French for ‘under vacuum’. In this cooking technique, food is vacuum sealed in plastic (which needs to be BPA and phthalate free) and then heated up (using a Sous Vide precision cooker) to a precise temperature in a water bath. Sous Vide does not rely on perfect timing – instead, it relies on precise temperature control. All you do is set the Sous Vide machine and the technique will deliver consistent, perfectly cooked results.
Sous Vide has been used by cooks since the 1970s – but it has only recently become available to home cooks and is growing in popularity.
Your Sous Vide dishes – especially meats – will never be dry, as natural flavour and juices are infused into the food while it’s cooking. This makes for incomparable flavour and texture.
Consistent & Precise Results
Precise temperature control means perfectly cooked food. Using Sous Vide, you can achieve consistent, evenly cooked and precise results without fail.
Sous Vide cooking allows you to set the temperate and then go about your business. You can’t accidentally under or overcook your dishes, so all of the stress that can come with cooking is eliminated. Sous Vide will keep your food at its ideal temperature (without overcooking) until you are ready to take it out.
Sous Vide can be used to cook all meats as well as eggs, vegetables, desserts and much more.
Getting the bath water to reach your desired temperature takes a long time. It helps to start with hot water. The process of cooking certain foods (like steaks, for example) can also take much longer than pan frying or grilling.
When you cook Sous Vide you get the benefits of poaching but miss out on the delicious flavours of searing and roasting. If you are making steak Sous Vide, you need to sear the meat once it is cooked. After all, is a steak a steak without a layer of crunchy, caramelized goodness?
Requires More Equipment
Cooking a steak sous-vide requires a precision cooker and a plastic bag or vacuum sealer in addition to all the tools required for more traditional methods. This means additional costs and more clutter in your kitchen.
Takes Away the Sensory Cooking Experience
Many people love cooking for the sounds, aromas textures and tasting opportunities it provides. With Sous Vide cooking, you simply put the food in a bag and that’s it – if you love making your way around the kitchen and really immersing yourself in the fun of cooking, this technique might not be for you.
Sous Vide Beef
Sous Vide beef – and in particular, steak, is one of the most popular foods for Sous Vide first-timers. This is because cooking steak the traditional way (i.e. grilling or frying) leaves room for error – namely under or over cooking. Sous-vide delivers steaks that are cooked to precisely the temperature you like each and every time. Sous Vide will also allow you to achieve results that are evenly cooked from edge to edge (most steakhouses can’t even guarantee this!). To find out how to make your own Sous Vide steak, check out this guide from Serious Eats.
Don’t forget – for best results, you’ll need to sear the steak once it’s cooked!