How to sous vide at home
It may sound technical and even a little bit scary, but sous vide is actually one of the easiest cooking techniques around.
Sous vide, which translates to ‘under vacuum’ in French, is essentially a slow cooking method that cooks vacuum sealed food in a water bath using a very precise temperature and time setting that provides optimum results. Not only that, flavour and moisture are locked in because the food is cooked in a vacuum sealed bag.
Why sous vide?
Sous vide is food science at its best. Cooking, especially for inexperienced cooks, relies on a lot of guesswork, something you are only able to fine tune with experience and time. Sous vide takes the guesswork out of the equation and replaces it with precision and consistency.
Sous vide provides an environment where food cooks at a constant and precise temperature to its perfect doneness. Food never gets hotter than the water temperature and remains at that temperature. It also cooks food thoroughly from edge to edge so meats like steaks really will be medium-rare all the way through.
Try this recipe to sous vide steak.
The Perfect Steak
1 piece ribeye steak
Salt and pepper
- Season a piece of ribeye steak with salt and cook in a sous vide at 55°C for one to four hours.
- Sear it in a very hot pan and allow it to rest before serving.
To set up your sous vide immersion cooker, do the following:
- Use the clamp to attach it to the side of the pot. Set the temperature and time. Make sure that the water is within the minimum and maximum level indicators.
- Allow the water bath to come to the temperature you have set, then place the bag in the water.
- If your bag is properly sealed, the weight of your ingredients will make the bag sink to the bottom of the pot. You can also clip the bag to the side of the pot with a binder clip or clothes pin to prevent it from floating around the water bath.
- If you have a vacuum sealer, then half the work is done. If you don’t, simply use the water displacement method:
- Fill a pot with water.
- Place your ingredients in a food grade, heavy duty resealable bag.
- Seal the bag, leaving only about an inch of the seal open.
- Lower the bag into the pot of water but keep the unsealed section above the water.
- Once the water pressure removes all the air from the bag, seal the bag completely.
Other simple recipes to try
If you’re new to sous vide, these simple recipes will get you started.
Season with salt, lemon, dill or thyme, and a bit of oil, then cook at 52°C for 30 minutes.
The famed ‘perfect egg’ cooks at 65°C for 45 minutes to become silky and creamy.
Cook at 60°C for one hour for hot, tender, and juicy chicken. Sear off the skin in a hot pan if desired.
Sous vide generally involves much lower temperatures than stovetop cooking, so make sure that you use the appropriate temperature and cooking time that will effectively inhibit the growth of pathogens in raw food. You can also sous vide frozen food but allow for a longer cooking time.
Here are some safety guidelines from the NSW Food Authority:
- Use thinner portions of food.
- Keep the water bath temperature at least 55°C.
- Limit the time food is cooked at lower than 55°C to no more than 6 hours.
- Use quality equipment with accurate temperature control.
- Use a sensitive and accurate thermometer to check the water and food temperatures.
- Store prepared food for no more than five days.
Shop Sous Vide
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