Many people by now have heard about the awesome potential of sous vide cooking, and how it can revolutionize your kitchen and the way you cook your food. If you’ve sprung ahead and purchased your very own sous vide cooker, then you probably have an idea of how simple the whole system can be.
Setup is simple, and meal planning has certainly never been easier. There’s only one problem: you have your cooker, you have your meals all planned, but you’re not sure how to – well – cook…
Don’t let yourself be intimidated by the fact that you now have the power to cook like an executive chef. Just because you’re getting the results of a five star restaurant, that doesn’t mean you have to have the same skillset.
Cooking has, in fact, never been easier, but don’t take our word for it. To give you an exact idea of what you need to be doing, here’s a comprehensive guide to cooking with your new sous vide system.
Cooking with Sous Vide
Before you even begin cooking, the first thing you should do is make sure that you have the right sous vide cooking system for your needs. You can purchase a complete sous vide cooker, or else a product like the Codlo Sous Vide Controller that allows you adapt the equipment you already have in your home for sous vide cooking. You can do exactly that by checking out our best sous vide equipment review page before you make a purchase.
If you’ve found the right sous vide cooker, then you’re ready to get started! The first thing you’re going to do is decide what it is exactly that you’d like to cook with your brand new sous vide cooker.
The good news is that no matter what it is that you’re cooking, the process is going to be more or less the same. Start by preparing your food by vacuum sealing it. This may sound trickier than it is. If you’re unsure how exactly to go about vacuum sealing, you can begin by finding a vacuum sealing system.
There are a whole bunch of options on the market in terms of vacuum sealing your food. The bottom line is that it comes down to what you’re looking for out of your sous vide cooker. If you’re going to be cooking a high volume of food, it may be best to invest in a high quality sealer. If, however, you’re looking for something more casual you can look into purchasing a cheaper vacuum sealer, or even a hand operated one. To get an idea of which vacuum sealer will work best, check out our guide to the best home sous vide vacuum sealers.
The sealing process itself is a breeze. The idea is to get all the air out of the bag to maximize the efficiency of the sous vide cooker. Speaking of which…
The next thing you’re going to want to do is get your sous vide cooker ready for the cooking process. You’re going to do this by filling the cooker with water. Most systems will have a line indicating the level to which you should fill the cooker, and it’s essential you leave enough room that the water won’t overflow after being displaced by your ingredients after they’re added.
Once you’ve filled your cooker to the correct level, the next step is going to be figuring out exactly which temperature to preheat the water to. The actual temperature is going to vary according to what it is that you’re actually cooking. When in doubt, be sure to check out an online resource to figure out both the cooking time and temperature that’s going to work best.
Time is every bit as essential as temperature, so do your research and find out exactly how much time it will take to cook your food to safe temperatures. It typically takes more time to cook with sous vide because it’s all done at lower temperatures, but that’s also the key to why the food remains so moist and flavorful when compared to other methods of cooking.
Once your food is added to the water bath, you have the water at the correct temperature, and set a timer, all the hard work is done. Another beautiful thing about sous vide is the fact that it’s so easy to do. Sous vide should really be called laissez-faire cooking. Just set the timer, go to work, run errands, or simply enjoy the downtime you now have.
Once your food is finished cooking you’re just about finished with the entire sous vide cooking process. Remove the food from the water bath, remove it from the vacuum sealed package. Now, assuming you’re cooking meat, it should now be prepared to perfection.
The one issue with sous vide cooking is that while food might be prepared properly, it does not have the outer brown finish that other cooking methods provide. That can leave the presentation or texture a little lacking after cooking with sous vide.
Don’t panic. You’re not quite done yet, and when you do the presentation and texture will be the same or better than you would get with any other sous vide cooker. All you have to do is take a few minutes to brown the outside using your preferred method.
The most common methods of browning the outside of your meat includes using a pan and quickly searing each side of your meat. You can also turn your oven up high, and use your oven to create an nice, even finish on your meat. For a complete account of all the different methods of browning your meat after sous vide cooking, you can check out our article on the subject.
That’s it! Once you’ve browned your meat, you’re ready to eat. It’s every bit as amazing as you would have hoped when you bought the sous vide cooker, and the results promise to be even better.
It takes no time at all to master the basics of sous vide cooking. Once you’ve prepared a few meals don’t be afraid to get a little bit adventurous with it. Try new ingredients that used to intimidate you. The best part of sous vide cooking is the new freedom you have in terms of time and the confidence that comes with great cooking!