Sous Vide for Dummies
What is Sous Vide?
Sous vide (soo-veed) is a French term that means “under vacuum”. The cooking technique involves vacuum-sealing food in a plastic pouch and cooking it within a water bath. The water temperature is precisely controlled by the sous vide machinery.
The desired temperature of the food is set in the sous vide unit. For example, the perfect medium rare steak would measure an internal temperature between 130-140°F. After a few hours in the sous vide, the steak will be the perfect doneness. ***Cooking temperatures and approximate minimum cook times can be found online or from other resources (learn how to make perfect eggs here).
So, why is it vacuum sealed? The air is removed from the bag because air pockets can lead to uneven cooking. Actual vacuum sealing is not usually necessary, but do remove as much air ass possible.
Sous vide is a cooking technique commonly used in high-quality restaurant kitchens to achieve some perfectly cooked dishes. This simple technology is now available for home use – for the price of only a couple fancy meals out.
Why Use Sous Vide?
This method of cooking allows for even cooking throughout the food while avoiding moisture loss. When the steak or other ingredients are finished, you can then sear or grill the outside to get that desired browned outer crispy crust.
Certain types of foods benefit more from sous vide cooking than others. Things that require a precise temperature to achieve the desired outcome such as steaks, lamb, and other meats with a specific doneness; eggs (no bag required for boiled eggs in shell!); and other foods that are to be cooked in their own juices without losing their nutritional value.
How is cooking with a sous vide different? Unlike with other forms of high-heat cooking, once the center of the food reaches the set temperature, it does not continue to over-cook. No need to stop prior to reaching the perfect temperature and letting the meat rest as it continues to cook after being removed from heat, the way that you would while BBQing, etc.
This is also a healthy form of cooking. For one thing, since it's a low heat cooking method, there is no burning or over charing – no cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)! Also, with natural flavors, vitamins and juices retained in the vacuum bag, little to no salt is required. Be sure to use BPA-free plastic or food-grade silicone bags.
How to Sous Vide
This could not be easier …unless you have someone else do it for you. “Sous Vide for Dummies” really isn't even needed!
Serve, photograph, share on Instagram, and enjoy!
Sous Vide Accessories & Additional Info
You can totally get away with the basics above, but here are some extra sous vide extras to make things a little easier, or in case you really get into it.
Sous Vide Bags- From zip-lock bags or reusable silicone bags to reusable vacuum bags or a vacuum sealer, here are some options:
Wire Rack- Using a rack at the bottom of the container can help hold the bad so that the water can circulate around the bag and evenly heat the food.
Water Container- You are free to use a large pot if you have one large enough, or an Instant Pot liner if you have one (although I find that I always want to make potatoes or something in the Instant Pot while I'm cooking the meat in the sous vide. Truly I should buy a second liner…), but you may want to purchase a water container with more space. Maybe you need room for more food. Try this out:
Sous Vide Balls- Why do you want your balls in hot water? This isn't necessary, per se, but the reason for these little ping-pong-like guys can be used to insulate the water from the air, meaning that you don't waste as much energy. They also prevent the water from evaporating.
Instant Pot ACCU SV800 Sous Vide
The Instant Pot ACCU SV800 Sous Vide Immersion Circulator is an affordable sous vide option which does not result in another large piece of kitchen equipment: you can use it in an existing pot (or Instant Pot liner).
The display and design are attractive, clean and easy use.
Here's one of the best parts: if used correctly, no cleaning is required! Just let it air dry after use!
What else, what else… well, you know that we have really enjoyed our Instant Pot pressure cookers, but we are actually big fans of the company itself. They really stand behind their products and if you ever have ANY problems, they are terrific at looking after their customers.
You can expect to see more sous vide recipes from us in the future which you can find here. For now, I can not emphasize enough how good this lamb recipe is: Paleo Lamb Popsicles with Fenugreek Cream Curry.
Thank you to everyone who entered. The contest is now closed.
*Instant Pot provided us with an ACCU SV800 Sous Vide to review, but all thoughts and opinions are our own. And I really needed a How to Sous Vide (Sous Vide for Dummies) manual myself, so I thought it would be selfish not to share what I learned.