A Quick Introduction To Sous Vide Cooking

If you’re a food lover and a keen home cook you may well keep a keen eye on current food trends and new and exciting ways to prepare your favourite dishes and discover new things.

If you’re a regular viewer of Masterchef or have spent some time in a professional kitchen you may well have heard of sous vide cooking, but if not we thought we would give you a quick introduction.

What does it involve?

Sous vide is a method of cooking in which you vacuum seal food into pouches and then cook them in a temperature controlled water bath. The pouches are left there for a specific length of time until they are cooked through, and it is a fantastic way to ensure your food does not turn out under or overcooked.

Typically the temperatures used to cook are far lower than they are when cooking with more traditional methods such as the grill or oven. This means that the cooking time tends to be quite a bit longer.

It is possible to leave the food in the water bath for longer than the cook time without worrying about your vegetables becoming mushy, and you don’t need to constantly monitor and turn your food to help it cook through. For a bit of a more in-depth explanation of the benefits of sous vide, check out this article from Modernist Cuisine.

What equipment do you need?

Despite the fact that sous vide cooking sounds incredibly fancy, it isn’t actually all that complicated. It’s far more accessible than you might think, and you’ll probably be surprised at just how easy it is.

While there is, of course, plenty of specialist equipment that you can buy, and you may want to do so if you get really into it, you only need a few things to get started, some of which you’ll probably already have.

You’ll need a large container to hold the water, which could be anything from a large pan to a cool box, some food safe bags to hold your food, and a sous vide thermal circulator. The latter is probably the only thing you’ll need to buy specially, but you can pick them up fairly affordably, and there are even methods for giving it a go without one. The video also runs through the water displacement method of vacuum sealing your food, which means you don’t need to shell out for a vacuum sealing machine.

How long do you need to cook for?

The amount of time you need to cook for as well as the temperature will depend on what it is that you’re cooking, as well as the weight and the desired doneness.

Luckily you don’t need to figure this all out for yourself. There are plenty of guides online, and even this handy calculator from Sous Vide Tools to help you cook that perfect steak.

Final steps

When cooking meat sous vide, it isn’t possible for it to go nice and brown on the outside when cooked sous vide, so you will need to sear it after you have taken it out of the water bath.

How you choose to sear is entirely up to you, but popular methods include on the grill, in a cast iron, or with a blow torch.