What Is Sous Vide Cooking? How To Master The Technique
As runners, it’s important what we put into our bodies. Eat a clean meal like grilled chicken, veggies and potatoes before a long run opposed to opting for a hamburger and fries and the runner can absolutely feel the difference. But for many of us, cooking isn’t our strong suit. We overcook the steak so that it is too chewy, or the chicken to be drier than the desert. However, sous vide is the cooking technique that it sweeping its way across kitchens that makes creating delicious meals an obtainable goal.
What Is Sous Vide?
A French term that means “under vacuum,” sous vide is the cooking technique that consists of sealing food airtight and then cooking the food in temperature-controlled water. It has typically been known as the way to cook used by fancy chefs in high rated restaurants, but thanks to at-home devices, this process has made it ways to the hands of everyday foodies.
First, the chef takes whatever poultry, meat or fish they are preparing and add the marinade, spices or herbs and place it into a vacuum sealed bag. The chef uses a device that attaches to a large pot of water it heats it to a precise temperature. The whole point of this method of cooking is to control the temperature of the water to achieve the perfectly cooked entree.
The airtightly sealed food is then dropped into a large pot of water and cooks very slowly. It takes time to get the meat to reach the water’s temperature, but its taste is well worth the wait. It means the meat is cooked internally and not too much on the outside and not enough on the inside.
Think of it as placing your steak in a nice warm bath to cook instead of sizzling it on the stove in direct contact with the pan and the flame. Instead of having to guess how it’s cooking on the inside, sous vide allows whatever protein to reach the desired temperature without the chef worrying about overcooking.
Health Benefits Of Sous Vide Cooking
Is sous vide cooking healthier than other cooking processes? It depends. Compared to fried dishes, of course. While grilled chicken is healthier than frying, sous vide is another way to cook that is also healthy since the food isn’t drenched in oil. It provides a delicious meal without needed extra salt to fat to make the piece of protein taste good. And vacuum sealing as a cooking method means that the vitamins and minerals are not lost like it is in other cooking processes.
There are also lifestyle benefits. Sous vide cooking is plentiful in this category. It allows consumers to buy meats in bulk, which can be cheaper. Meats, chicken, and fish can be frozen to be cooked for later. Or it can be a great way to cook in bulk. This is why many restaurants prefer this method of cooking. Chefs can cook the entree protein and then tend to prepare and make the side dishes while the protein is cooking. As a result, cooking is more stress-free without checking the meat a thousand times to make sure that it is cooked medium rare.
In general, sous vide cooking results in more good tasting food. Because it is cooked in a vacuumed sealed bag, all the spices and flavor is intact, without the protein becoming dry as it cooks. And because it is cooked at the ideal temperature, the meal tastes restaurant quality without being chewy or overcooked.
Mastering Sous Vide Cooking
Chances are the very least we’ve come to sous vide cooking is marinating a steak or chicken, wrapping in it up and letting it chill for a few hours. But beginners can easily master the fancy technique to improve their kitchen skills to the next level.
The good news about sous vide cooking is that is it easy to master. That’s because it is a fairly simple process that leaves little room for error. You just really need to seal the protein and let it soak there in its bath.
That means fewer headaches when struggling in the kitchen. And since there are some at home options on the market, sous vide cooking is no longer a method just used in restaurants. There are options like the Anova Culinary Pressure Cooker that consists of the temperature device and an app that is sold for a mid-range price. There are also options like ChefSteps Joule, Nomiku, and Sansaire.
The home chef will also need the right packaging to seal the food. Foodsaver sells a vacuum sealer with bags, but the consumer can also Ziplock freezer bags.
Just keep in mind that some entrees require an extra cooking step. For example, steak still needs to be thrown on the stove to caramelize the outside of it to give it that crispiness.
Pros and Cons of Sous Vide Cooking
The main pro here is that the cooking delicious meals are much easier since the food is cooked to the exact temperature it needs to be. This means healthier results with more flavor. It allows consumers to cook meals in bulk, perfect for meal prepping to freeze for later. This also means less food waste and money saved.
The downside is that a sous vide cooking device needs to be purchased, which could be a waste of money if the consumer isn’t planning on cooking often. It also takes longer for the protein to cook, which could be a good or bad thing. The meat can sit there and cook while the other sides are being prepared, but those who are looking for a quick meal are out of luck.