Under vacuum, or “sous vide,” is the French phrase for this method of cooking, which involves placing food in a plastic bag or container, sucking out all the air, and then cooking it under water at a set temperature while sealed.
The precise results produced by sous vide cooking are soft, juicy, and nearly impossible to overcook. It may be used to prepare practically anything. It is wonderful for a wide range of dishes, including pricey cuts of meat like steak that you want to cook to perfection, bigger, less costly cuts of meat that you want to melt on your tongue, perfectly cooked vegetables, custardy desserts, and more.
It offers a hands-off cooking experience, making it a terrific choice for gatherings because your food can cook to perfection while you prepare something else. You also cannot match the convenience. Additionally, you may save money by using cheaper, rougher, or larger chunks of meat that ordinarily need more time to prepare. In addition, the cooking method turns regular meals into delicious bits.
Different types of sous vide machines
Immersion circulators – They are in the form of sticks and work by heating the water they are submerged in. They may be utilized with a pot or bin that you already possess, have a thin design, and are simple to store. The drawback of using circulators for cooking is needing to keep an eye on the water levels to make sure it has not evaporated.
Sous vide machines – Commonly referred to as “water ovens,” look like slow cookers and heat the tub water. They often come with a lid, allowing you to boil meals for a long time without being concerned about the water evaporating. Usually, they have simple control panels that are simple to use. They are frequently included in other equipment like pressure cookers and slow cookers. They are heavier to store than immersion circulators.
Sous vide ovens – These are the third type of sous vide cookers that are beginning to gain popularity. They use steam to raise the temperature of the oven chamber. They typically have the same capabilities as a regular oven or toaster oven but can be expensive.
What foods cook sous vide the best?
Steak: For beginners or experts alike, sous vide steak is a well-liked meal. The method of cooking enhances the steak’s taste and softens the fibers to make it more tender. Additionally, you may program your sous vide machine to cook your steak just how you like it – medium-well? No issue! When finished, sear the outside to get the ideal texture balance.
Individual portions of pork, chicken, fish, and lamb: Along with bigger pieces or tough, inexpensive cuts that benefit from slow cooking, all of them perform well as well.
Vegetables: Vegetables cooked sous vide are more flavorful and nutritious. In recipes for puree and mashed potatoes, it can take the place of boiling without sacrificing any of the flavor or nutritional value of the veggies. Roasting vegetables can bring out their sweetness. Root vegetables can be cooked in cream and butter, then finished in a food processor or blender before being served.
Desserts: For producing custard-type sweets like cheesecake, flan, and crème brûlée—which are prone to overcooking—sous vide cooking is the ideal option. Mason jars work well and make good serving sizes instead of sealing them in bags. The sous vide cooker may also be used to prepare pudding or a custard-like ice cream foundation.
Eggs: You may prepare eggs however you prefer them, from soft-boiled to poached, and more, thanks to the ability to precisely manage the water temperature.
Risotto: Instead of whisking glasses of hot stock into your rice while hunched over a stove, combine all the ingredients in a zipped bag. Return later to complete a parmesan and herb-infused creamy risotto right before serving.
Yogurt: You can manufacture yogurt in your sous vide cooker rather than investing in a separate yogurt machine. Simply warm milk, combine yogurt culture and place Mason jars in a warm water bath to allow cultures to work. This method works for making yogurt from cow, sheep, goat, and even seed milk.
The Pros and Cons of Sous Vide Cooking
When compared to other cooking processes, “Sous Vide” yields unmatched results. French for “under vacuum,” sous vide refers to the technique of cooking food that has been vacuum-sealed in a water bath at a predetermined temperature. While sous vide cooking has many benefits, there are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Produce cooked using the sous vide technique will keep all its natural aromas, colors, and nutrients. Due to their constant compression from being in a vacuum-sealed bag, the components continuously cook in and take in liquids. While steaming enables the ingredients to be exposed to oxygen for an extended amount of time, which destroys nutrients, and colors, and results in uneven cooking, boiling often causes tastes to diffuse into the water and produces results that are only slightly flavored.
2. In keeping with what was said above, food keeps volume and yields more when it is cooked with components in its juices with no place for the liquid to escape. Sous vide cooking keeps the size, shape, and weight of the food being cooked, unlike pan cooking, which dehydrates food through evaporation.
3. Sous vide cooking is an excellent technique for maximum precision since the water temperature of the sous vide cooker is carefully brought to and maintained at a particularly defined degree. The airflow in an oven tends to move about during roasting or baking, which causes the well-known defect of it constantly being hotter at the rear. But since water is a denser substance, it keeps the precise temperature that is set, giving reliable results.
4. A hectic service at a restaurant will be relieved to some extent using sous vide. Since proteins are often cooked sous vide in a “low and slow” manner, the likelihood of overcooking is significantly reduced. Take advantage of the extra convenience of having the food prepared before serving so that the chefs may complete the meal when the service is busy.
1. The strong heat that generates during browning, especially in a cast iron skillet, caramelizes natural sugars and produces concentrated tastes while food cooks. When cooking sous vide, this stage is skipped, which eliminates the chargrilled flavor of the meal. Of course, protein may be completed in a pan to make a crust, but raw components work best for caramelization and the development of natural sugars.
2. A health inspector may view sous vide cooking as a potential health hazard. It is advised to cook meat sous vide at a temperature range between 130F and 137F since bacteria flourish between 42F and 140F. To combat this, vacuum-packing the food while it is 42F or lower reduces the likelihood of any bacteria growing because there is no oxygen present during cooking at such temperatures.
With sous vide cooker, which enables you to cook food slowly and precisely to the ideal temperature, you may have fun in the kitchen if you enjoy experimenting. It can be something new to try for your next culinary venture.