Have you ever overcooked or undercooked something because you miscalculated the appropriate time and temperature? We all have, it happens to the best of us and the worst of us…more so to the worst of us. Well, threat no more because we’re about to set you up for cooking success with sous vide cooking.
What is sous vide cooking?
Sous vide is a French term that means “under vacuum”. Sous vide cooking is the process of cooking food items in a vacuum-sealed bag, immersed in a temperature-controlled water bath. The water bath temperature is set to the desired temperature for the food item being cooked, and the food is cooked slowly and evenly.
Sous vide cooking offers several benefits over other cooking methods. For one, it allows for precise temperature control, which can lead to consistent results and perfectly cooked food – basically set it and forget it. Additionally, since the food is cooked in a sealed bag, it can retain more of its natural juices and flavors. Finally, sous vide cooking can also be a more convenient way to cook, as the food can be cooked in advance and reheated when needed.
Sous vide cooking is great for almost anything – meat, fish, eggs, and vegetables. It can also be used for making desserts, infusing flavors, and for certain types of preservation. Some of our favorite desserts to make with a sous vide machine are custards, cheesecakes, and puddings. The precise temperature control ensures that the desserts cook evenly and have a perfectly smooth texture.
How To Sous Vide
The first step in the sous vide cooking process is to prepare and season your food as desired. To add flavor, texture, and color, you may want to sear certain items on a cast iron pan before vacuum sealing them. Some common foods that are often seared before being vacuum-sealed for sous vide cooking include meats, poultry, and even some fish and vegetables – ultimately it all depends on personal preference and the recipe being used.
For other items that don’t require a quick sear, you will just place the seasoned food into a vacuum-sealed bag. Using a vacuum sealer, seal the bag tightly, removing as much air as possible. Next, it’s time to prepare a bath – a water bath for your food that is. Fill a large container or pot with water and attach your sous vide immersion circulator, then preheat the water to the desired cooking temperature for your food item. Once the water has reached the desired temperature, place the bag of food in the water bath.
Cook the food in the water bath for the desired amount of time, ensuring that the temperature stays constant. Once the cooking time is complete, remove the bag from the water bath and open it. You can then finish the food by searing it in a hot pan or on a grill to add more texture and color. Serve the food immediately while it is still warm and voila! A perfectly cooked sous vide meal.
A Sous Vide Starter Kit
Now that you understand the process, now to get a hold of the tools that will set you up for success. Here are the items you’ll need for sous vide cooking.
Sous Vide Machine
Our top pick for ease of use, design, and content quality is the Breville Joule Sous Vide immersion circulator. The Joule is smaller than most other immersion circulators, making it easy to store and transport. It has a powerful 1100-watt heating element that can heat water quickly and maintain precise temperatures. In fact, the Joule is so precise that it can heat water to within 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit of your desired temperature, ensuring that your food is cooked exactly the way you want it. Set up is easy, just connect you phone or tablet to the Joule via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and control the device with using the Joule app. You’ll love using the app – not only is it preloaded with handy preset recipe settings so you can plug and play, it also has step-by-step instructions with accompanying videos so you’re able to preview the process and end result.
Sous Vide Bags
The O2frepak 200 Quart Size 8″ x 12″ Vacuum Sealer Bags are the perfect size for larger food items, such as steaks, chicken breasts, and vegetables. Made from BPA-free heavy-duty material that is designed to withstand punctures, tears and high temperatures, your food will be well-protected and won’t leak during the sous vide cooking process. The bags are compatible with most vacuum sealer machines and can be used for storing a variety of different food items. If you’re interested in using these bags to vacuum seal your food in general, it can extend the shelf life of your food by up to 5 times longer than traditional storage methods.
The Anova Culinary ANVS01-US00 Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer is compact and easy to store, making it a great choice for kitchens with limited counter space. Featuring simple and intuitive controls, the Anova Precision Vacuum sealer is easy to operate even for first-time users. The seal-only mode allows you to create custom-sized bags and seal them without vacuuming the air out which is what you’ll need when prepping for sous vide cooking. The vacuum sealer is compatible with a range of bags, including reusable silicone bags and bags from other brands, which offers users flexibility when choosing storage solutions. The Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer comes with a starter kit that includes a selection of bags and rolls, so you can get started using the appliance right away. Another great feature of the Anova Precision Vacuum Sealer is how quietly it operates – ideal for those trying to keep their vacuum sealing activities hush-hush for whatever reason. No judgement.
Sous Vide Water Bath Container
When it comes to picking a container for your sous vide process, make sure that your item can be fully submerged and there is enough room for the water to bubble and not spill as it cooks. The Rubbermaid Plastic Space Saving Square Food Storage Container is one of our top picks for sous vide cooking. The container is made of commercial-grade plastic that is food-safe, BPA-free, and able to withstand high temperatures of up to 212°F. It’s designed with thick walls that provide excellent insulation to help maintain the water temperature and ensure that your food is cooked evenly and retains its flavor and texture. Lastly, cooking in a transparent container allows you to see your food as it cooks, which helps you to monitor the cooking process and adjust the temperature and time as necessary.
Sous Vide Magnets
Sous vide magnets are a useful accessory that helps to keep sous vide bags submerged and in place during cooking, eliminating the need for other traditional sous vide tools such as weights, clips, racks, and balls. Using sous vide magnets is simple and straightforward. All you need to do is attach them to the side of your cooking container and then use them to secure your sous vide bags in place. Compared to other weighted gadgets, these sous vide magnets are compact and take up very little space. Also, unlike sous vide clips and other accessories, sous vide magnets are completely safe to use with food since they don’t come into direct contact with the food itself.
Cast Iron Pan
For that extra layer of texture and added flavor, invest in a quality cast iron pan to sear your food items before and/or after the sous vide cooking process. One of our favorites is the Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Iron Handle Skillet. Besides its aesthetically pleasing design, it’s overall a high-quality cooking pan that performs. The skillet is made of high-quality cast iron that is known for its durability and excellent heat retention. The cast iron is coated with a layer of enamel that provides a non-stick surface and prevents rusting. Measuring 10.25 inches in diameter, it’s ideal for cooking a variety of dishes for a family or small group.
The Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Iron Handle Skillet comes in a range of vibrant colors that can add a pop of color to your kitchen decor. Some of the available colors include Cerise, Marseille, and Caribbean. The skillet has a smooth enamel surface that is easy to clean and maintain. It also has a long handle that provides a comfortable grip and helps to distribute the weight evenly. The skillet can be used on all stovetops, including gas, electric, and induction. It is also oven safe up to 500°F. With a Le Creuset lifetime warranty, you’re guaranteed to be happy with your investment in this beautiful cast iron pan.