Nearly every type of food that needs to be heated gets cooked better in a Sous Vide water bath. Whether fish or fowl, chicken or beef, the slow, low temperature cooking brings out flavor, nutriments, vitamins and pleasing textures. Vegetables cooked Sous Vide actually have an enhanced natural flavor compared to when eaten fresh.
The Sous Vide cooking technique remains the same for all types of food.
Prepare, seal in a cooking bag, slowly cook in a water bath and serve (If you don’t have a sous vide machine yet, check out our sous vide reviews before buying!). Variations apply for each individual family of food but the basic sous vide technique brings out the best in all of them.
Most types of beef benefit from Sous Vide. Even the poorest cut become tender and pleasing. Be sure to consult recipes because there are some surprises. The basic “traditional” rule in cooking beef is to salt it down prior to cooking. It makes the piece tender.
With Sous Vide, that could be disastrous. The hours spent slowly cooking the salted meat produces a pickling effect. Sous Vide naturally breaks down meats’ structure slowly, producing enhanced tenderizing.
Salting is added after the piece is done, prior to the final searing.
Types of Foods that Improve!
Hamburgers, steaks, ribs and roasts all can benefit from the slow even cooking, especially if soaked in a brine prior to being vacuum sealed with the best vacuum sealing machine in a vacuum bag and cooked.
Poultry, pork and lamb also benefit from brining, as a method to seal in seasonings and flavorings. It all will be trapped inside of the plastic Ziploc bag. While similar to the requirements of beef, these types of meats should slow cook for a specific period of time. They then have to be removed from the water and served. Overcooking can damage their texture. Beef is almost impervious to overcooking. Roasts and ribs can withstand hours of mistaken submersion without losing any taste, texture or succulence.
Turkey, duck and goose all benefit greatly from Sous Vide cooking. Brining these types of fowl presents unique challenges. The seasonings and flavor will mix with the natural juice and some of that tends to vaporize, sealed within the cooking bags. They want to float. That presents a challenge because even heating needs the water to cover the bottom and top of the cooking bags. Wire racks or some other type of restraint is needed to keep the bags submerged.
Salmon, cod, calamari, haddock and most species of fish is enhanced by Sous Vide cooking. Fish is especially unforgiving when overcooked in this method. Mere minutes can spell the difference between a flaky, tender, delicious piece of salmon or mush. Fish demand that the chef be well organized, attentive and prepared. After 20 minutes, in water set for between 104F and 114F the meal is ready. All seasoning and flavorings were sealed into the cooking bag so now a chef must remove the fish from the water, open the bag, garnish and serve.
Vegetables contain pectin. This is a kind of internal glue that keeps the texture of vegetables firm and rigid. In order to cook vegetables, you have to raise their internal temperatures to above 183F. That’s when the pectin begins to break down. Onions, carrots, artichokes, potatoes, turnips, radishes and other veggies will need upwards of 45 minutes to an hour and beyond to cook. The consistent results will be surprisingly flavorful and tender side dish.
Seasonings and butter can be sealed in the bags and during the cooking these will infuse into the veggies. A unique side effect is that these seasonings will enhance the natural flavor of the veggie, not mask it.
Contemplating the eternal question concerning the chicken or the egg, in Sous Vide cooking the egg is the recommended to be the first food cooked. Eggs come in their own, individual vacuumed seal container; a shell.
The resiliency of the egg is renowned because short of dropping them, you have to go out of your way to destroy them. The Sous Vide water should be at least 146 degrees and you merely place them in the thermal bath for at 45 minutes. If you forget and add an extra hour, not much will be changed.
A water bath of 155 degrees produces subtle changes in the finished egg. The yolks will be more solid and the white a bit custard-like. 160 degrees hard boils the egg, after 45 minutes. But at the 30 minute point, if you remove the egg, the yoke will be hard but the white will resemble a soft boiled egg. What is unique is that the runny part was buttery.
Sous Vide cooking allows amazing control during the cooking process, using only time, low temperatures and creative preparation.
From the egg to the roast, sousvide cookers can change how you enjoy food.