Cooking Sous Vide, Explained

What is Sous Vide Cooking?

Sous vide is becoming a relatively popular new cooking technique, especially among at-home chefs! Sous vide, a French term meaning “under vacuum”, can be considered a set it and forget it style of cooking, similar to when you cook using a crock pot! When using the sous vide method, food is vacuum-sealed, typically in an airtight bag, and slow cooked in a water bath heated to a specified temperature. The temperature of the water is typically well below boiling, ranging anywhere from 125 degrees Fahrenheit to 195 degrees Fahrenheit according to All Recipes. The process is time-consuming, as the food tends to cook low and slow, helping to maintain the food’s natural integrity, flavors, and juices.

Cooking Sous Vide, Explained

Many people today prefer cooking sous vide simply because of how user-friendly and easy the method is. Little to no preparation work is required before cooking because the sous vide technique helps to maintain the food’s natural flavors and integrity. As the food is being cooked in its own juices inside of the vacuum-sealed bag, it eliminates the need for any aromatics, marinades, seasonings, or tenderizers to be used prior to cooking.

When it comes to cooking sous vide, the process is relatively simple. The most important thing is to ensure you have the proper equipment needed as well as to ensure the food has reached an appropriate level of doneness, or in other words, that it is cooked to your designated temperature and liking. Luckily, the equipment needed for this cooking method is also very minimal. To cook sous vide, you’ll need a relatively large pot to submerge the food into, as well as a Ziploc-style bag to vacuum-seal the food into. Of course, for those who quickly gain a knack for the sous vide cooking style, they can also purchase other equipment such as a vacuum sealer machine or an immersion circulator. Outlined below is the sous vide method in a few simple steps!

1. Prepare the food

The first step is to prepare the food. However, as mentioned previously, this step isn’t necessary because the method itself doesn’t require the use of any tenderizers, marinades, or seasonings before cooking. However, if there is a personal preference by the chef to prepare their sous vide product a particular way prior to cooking, that would be the first step in the process.

2. Vacuum-seal the food

Secondly, it’s important to vacuum-seal your food in an airtight bag. The term sous vide itself means under vacuum, as mentioned previously, which means it’s vital to ensure the food is properly vacuum sealed before being submerged into the water. This is the single most important part of cooking sous vide, as it allows the foods to cook low and slow in their own natural juices and flavors, thus providing the tenderness and overall delicious flavor of the food.

3. Determine cook time and temperature

After getting your food properly prepared, you need to ensure you’re heating the water in your cooking vessel to the proper temperature and determining exactly how long you should be cooking your food. This can be done through a simple internet search and helps to ensure the food is cooked to your liking and not over- or under-cooked.

4. Sear the food for char

Last, but certainly not least, you have the option of searing your food after cooking. This is a completely optional step but is oftentimes preferred, especially when it comes to meats, to gain that charred flavor, as well. Many people prefer to sear their food in either a cast-iron skillet or on a grill. However, it’s important to note that if you plan to sear your food after cooking, you should remove your food from the cooking vessel slightly prematurely to avoid overcooking and dryness.

Giving the sous vide cooking technique a try

If you’re considering giving the sous vide cooking technique a try, but don’t know what foods you can cook, you’re not alone. There is a large misconception that the sous vide method is only to be used when cooking meats, however, that isn’t accurate at all. In fact, the sous vide technique can be used to cook just about anything and everything, especially once you’ve mastered it. Listed below are a few fan favorites when it comes to cooking sous vide style.

  • Custards
  • Eggs
  • Seafood
  • Meats
  • Vegetables
  • Yogurt

Now that you have a better grasp on what sous vide means and the method itself, consider giving the sous vide cooking technique a try for yourself! Not only is it relatively easy, but it’s bound to provide delicious and flavorful results each and every time!