By: Amanda Li, Registered Dietician
Don’t let this fancy name intimidate you! This gourmet cooking technique has been long used by chefs worldwide but is now accessible to home cooks everywhere. Cooking sous vide is effortless and may I add, almost fool-proof! Say bye-bye to overcooked, tough, and dry meat, poultry or fish!
Sous Vide Chicken Breast & Carrots
So what does “sous vide” mean exactly? This cooking technique involves cooking food in pouches, submerged in a water bath held at a precisely controlled temperature. When the food reaches your target temperature, you take it out, give it a quick sear (or other finish) and serve. Now let’s break this cooking method apart further to give you a better understanding as to why this cooking technique has taken the culinary world by a storm:
- Uniformity of temperature allows you to cook food to an even doneness all the way, which means no more dry edges and rare centres!
- Precise temperature control allows for foods to be pasteurized and made safe at lower temperatures so that it doesn’t have to be cooked well-done to be safe. For example, poultry can be made safe to eat at temperatures lower than 165oF – it just takes a bit more cooking time (about 4 hours to be exact) compared to half-an-hour in the oven. Once you have tried sous-vide chicken breast, you will never be able to eat chicken cooked any other way, similar to how the quality of LiberTerre Chicken cannot be compared to other brands of poultry.
- Cooking in a closed bag creates a full humid environment and prevents evaporative losses of flavour of your ingredients. In other words, the moisture & flavour is locked in, resulting in a noticeably juicier and more tender final product.
Now, the only caveat to sous-vide home-cooking is that you will need to invest in an immersion circulator (which can range from $200-400). An immersion circulator is a device that you insert into a pot of water. I use the Anova Precision Cooker at home, but other great options are the Nomiku and the Sansaire. You could also purchase a stand-alone unit which is basically a circulator that comes with a tub to fill with water, but be fore-warned that you will need to dedicate a good amount of your countertop for this appliance. A vacuum sealer is the best option for locking in flavour, although heavy duty plastic zipper-lock bags (with excess air, manually removed) work well too.
Sous vide is simply another cooking technique, not necessarily “better” or “worse” then pan-searing or braising, however it does allow for meat to be perfectly cooked from edge to edge in a consistent and completely reliable way! Many people who try this cooking method say the end result it truly incomparable, as it consistently provides a tender, juicy and flavourful meal, every time. I would love to hear from you and your sous-vide cooking experiences! It works well with any protein (beef, pork or poultry) plus vegetables, eggs and a number of other foods!
Sous Vide Bone-In Pork Chop
Please comment below and until next time, relish every bite.