What is Sous Vide?
This is a cooking method whereby food is placed in a particular plastic bag and then dipped into a steamed environment or in a water bath. Temperatures at the water bath or steam are usually lower than those at the other usual cooking methods. Water temperature is precisely regulated to a certain degree level as food is cooked for long periods. Different factors in place determine the period the product should remain dipped, and the level of temperature that should be maintained for the entire cooking period. The factors are generally based on the kind of meal that is cooked, the food density, thickness, and weight, or fibers in the food material. This sous vide for beginners post will help you better understand this amazing way of cooking.
Foods are Best with Sous Vide
Any food can fit right with this process; however, all proteins and most vegetables will be better when prepared using this method. But then, for mashed potatoes, the cooking method doesn’t need to be used since you will break it and add other ingredients so that it’s completed.
Requirements for Sous Vide Cooking
The emersion circulator
The sous vide circulator stands as the heart or the entire system. Out there in the market, you will find different circulator models at large. Traditionally, this was done on stovetops with a pot. A thermometer was used to monitor changes in water temperature. People were required to make frequent adjustments to the amount of heat supplied so that water was kept at a constant temperature. But then, this is no longer the case as the emersion circulator controls everything until you achieve everything as you need.
The zip-top freezer bags or a vacuum sealer
Experts prefer vacuum sealers since they have been designed to get off all air around the food material to be prepared. This helps water to surround the food closely. The zip-top freezers bags, on the other hand, allow frequent temperature checkups since it is equipped with an instant-read thermometer. The bag is re-closed and returned for the food to cook.
A pot can be used in this case even though the source of heat is the circulator and not the stove. You can consider a Dutch oven as its cast-iron construction allows for consistent temperature maintenance. Any containers that can remain safe for temperatures of about 212 F can be used.
Step by Step Guide on How to Sous Vide
Sous vide cooking process using the modern immersion circulator is simple. Most people seem to prefer sous cooking with steak mostly. The reason for the preference of this food is that the end resulting meat turns perfectly juicy. Read on to learn the entire sous vide process?
Preparations of the water bath
Start by filling your pot with water until all of the food is covered. If there is a recommended water level by the immersion circulator manufacturer, then that is what should be used. Following the provided manufacturer guide, place your circulator into the pot and start preheating the water. This should be done before you place your food material inside the prepared water bath, especially when your food material is meat. The food material can be held at unsafe temperatures if the bath isn’t preheated correctly. This will end up with the growth of some harmful bacteria.
Seasoning the food material
This can be done as it’s generally done with pepper, oil, salt, butter, and even some herbs. Place the food material and other seasonings in the plastic bag you had obtained for this job. This is a similar thing as a marinade; however, you should marinate before you start cooking as sous vide cooker cooks and marinate at the same time.
Sealing of the bag
A resealable plastic bag can be used if there is no vacuum sealer for this. Take advantage of the water at the pot to seal the plastic bag. Sealing should be done on the entire bag and leave an inch unsealed. Lower the sealed bag slowly into the water and make a stop at the bag’s top-right edge. The bag should be attached to the side of the pot using a clothespin or binder.
Sous Vide Your Food
For instance, you are cooking steak; it is recommended that cooking be done at temperatures of 134ºF for a period of between one to four hours. It would be best if you read the recommendations of the manufacturer for other more specific cooking instructions.
Complete the process in a pan
Take the bag out once time has elapsed and unsealed your plastic bag to get out the food material. Sous vide food will get out perfectly cooked, with quite a different crust and sear as what has been prepared over the grill or stove. For added texture and flavor, get it passed through a pan before it’s served. Heat the pan with some safflower oil, canola oil, or even butter until the pan is hot. Follow by searing this on each side for about a minute.
Searing after cooking
Any form of the colored crust will not be formed, or even chicken skin won’t turn out crispy after completing the process. For this reason, searing afterward comes in as the solution. If you were preparing steak or even chicken meat, it would seem to be perfect with the colored crusts all over it. So, before you think of serving your meal, sear it in a hot skillet for a couple of minutes.
Extra cooking time may get the temperature of the skillet interior rising, however, you don’t have to worry about that so long as you’re using a super-hot skillet. Likewise, if you’re concerned at maintaining this medium rare, you should always set the reading of the emersion circulator at about 130F instead of having it at 135.
The skin at the chicken’s thigh or breast part should be crisped in this similar way. However, the thighs will require the heat of temperatures of about 175 F while the breasts need temperatures of about 155 F in the immersion cooker. You need to consult the manufacturer’s manual to get it right for other particular foods. Don’t forget that when planning to cook different meals at the same time, foods with varying temperatures of the target shouldn’t be prepared at the same time.