Sous vide cooking is growing in popularity because it is a unique way to prepare food with very little effort. All that is required is a vacuum bag and sealer and a sous vide machine. A mandolin can also help prepare even cuts of vegetables if you’re not up to par with your knife skills. Now that your setup is ready, what can sous vide do for your cooking?
To cook “sous vide” means to use a vacuum bag and temperature-controlled water bath to cook meat and vegetables. Since you set the temperature the water gets to, there is no risk of overcooking or burning your food. Sous vide cooking offers unparalleled control over what temperature the meat cooks at and how long it cooks. You don’t need a vacuum sealer, but it can improve your results. Rather than dealing with hot spots in an oven or wrestling with an uneven broiler, sous vide will get the meat to the exact temperature desired. This lets you get a perfectly medium-rare steak every time. Fish is also ideal for sous vide cooking. With a sous vide machine, you can cook huge chunks of fatty salmon without stinking up your kitchen.
Once your meat is finished, you can remove it from the sous vide, season and sear in a hot pan. Searing meat causes the Maillard reaction, which gives grilled and pan-seared food its distinctive taste. While you aren’t required to sear meat, it does add an extra layer of flavor. Make sure your pan is hot enough to sear the meat quickly so the interior doesn’t cook more than you want.
Many sous vide machines are controlled via a phone app. This lets you set it and forget it while you run errands or move to another part of the house. If you’re looking for a low-waste setup for your sous vide cooking, look for silicone bags that are marked for high temperatures. These can be washed out with hot, soapy water and reused. You’ll get the best results with sous vide if you carefully keep your vegetables evenly layered. If you’re cooking multiple vegetables in one bag, try arranging them in flat layers so everything is evenly cooked.
If you’re cooking an uneven piece of meat, use a meat tenderizer to pound it to a uniform flatness. This will ensure the meat cooks evenly throughout. If one side is much larger than the other, then it will be fully cooked on one side and still raw on the other. When you’re arranging the bags in the water bath, make sure the pot is large enough that the bag doesn’t touch the sides. It should also be fully covered with water so it is completed immersed. If the bag is floating, it will not cook evenly. Also make sure the vacuum bag is fully sealed and has all of the air removed.
After cooking sous vide, you’ll never want to go back! This simple setup is nearly foolproof and results in amazingly tender meat and evenly cooked vegetables. And since cleanup is so simple, you can sous vide every night with minimal mess and maximum satisfaction.