As you familiarize yourself with French cooking techniques, you’ll probably hear about the modernist culinary trend of cooking sous vide. This method, which involves sealing ingredients and slowly cooking them in hot water, is simpler than it may sound, but has gotten the reputation for being complicated. Many contemporary chefs laud the sous vide technique as a modern means of developing rich flavor in meats that you never have to worry about overcooking. If it seems like this method is best left for professional kitchens, think again, as it can easily be done at home.
What is sous vide?
Sous vide involves placing ingredients, such as meat, in a vacuum-sealed bag and immersing it in hot water for a long period of time, ensuring that everything is evenly cooked and retains moisture. According to Lifehacker, the key to cooking sous vide is managing the temperature. By keeping the temperature consistent, meat and other ingredients cook slowly and remain tender, but the food is also heated long enough to kill bacteria. Once the food is cooked through, it is quickly seared at a high temperature to provide a bit of texture.
What to cook sous vide
Modernist Cuisine notes that the sous vide cooking method lends itself well to preparing succulent seafood and tender cuts of meat. While the practice of sous vide seems modern, the concept of slowly cooking meat, vegetables and other ingredients sealed off at a low temperature has been practiced for centuries. Modernist Cuisine also advises cooking poultry sous vide as a means of making sure it reaches the internal target temperature, ensuring that foodborne pathogens are eliminated.
Does cooking sous vide take a lot of time?
In a general sense, using this cooking method can be somewhat time consuming, but it does not require much work by the chef. When you pan-fry meats or cook them on the grill, they require constant attention. With the sous vide method, ingredients can be left unwatched while you either go about other tasks in the kitchen or do another leisurely activity. Since the temperature remains at a low, steady heat, there’s no need to fret if your meat stays immersed an extra minute or two.
Lastly, Modernist Cuisine recommends to avoid using cheap plastic bags when utilizing this cooking method. Instead, invest in oven bags, vacuum-sealable bags designed for sous vide cooking or zip-top bags.