By: Arthur Anderson
Sous-vide (/suːˈviːd/; French for “under vacuum”) is a method of cooking in which food is vacuum-sealed in a plastic pouch and then placed in a water bath or steam environment.
I was given a Sous-Vide cooker for Christmas last year. I opened the package with the thank you smile of ‘what-the-hell-is-this.’ The person who bought me the gift gave me the same definition as above. My next thought was ‘who the hell cooks meat in water!’ I grill, I Green Egg, I don’t cook meat in water.
Well, with an open mind, I’m here 7 months later to tell you that Sous-Vide is a great addition to our kitchen. My first experiment was with two filet mignons, why not go big when you test something. I put a little salt and pepper on the filets, stuck them in a zip-lock bag and dropped them in the Sous-Vide water bath at 130dF for 2 hours. After 2 hours, I did a quick sear on each side for 30 minutes. The pink was edge-to-edge, not just in the center (I like steak medium rare) and WOW was it tender. This peaked my interest, I have since done several different cuts of meat including flank steak, pork chops, halibut and corned beef, each cooked to perfection. I made breakfast one morning with the Sous-Vide and was pleasantly surprised at the creaminess of the eggs.
There are hundreds of recipes on the Internet supplied by chefs from around the world that include full meals in a bag to interesting ones like Cheese Cake. This is a kitchen tool worth having, it will open your experiences to a different way of cooking.
The positives of the Sous-Vide;
- Meats are cooked at lower temperatures – Reducing worry of carcinogens from high temperature cooking
- Juiciness is not lost through high heat cooking
- Because of temperature control of the Sous-Vide, vegetables and fruits can be cooked at low temperatures without hurting their structure
The negatives of the Sous-Vide;
- It takes longer than conventional cooking
- It requires a bag or jar for water bath cooking
- To make meats ‘pretty’ a quick sear is needed after cooking
The Sous-Vide system I have is from Anova Sous vide Precision Cooker (www.anovaculinary.com) you can get from Amazon. I have not tried any other styles, I like this one because I can use it in any large pot.