Have you ever eaten a chicken breast that was so dry it nearly stuck to the back of your throat? On the other hand, have you ever eaten a steak in a restaurant that was cooked to absolute perfection, according to your personal taste? We can fix the first one and the latter probably means that your steak was cooked using the Sous Vide method.
The geek side of me read about the ‘Sous Vide’ method of cooking quite by chance. It literally means ‘under vacuum’ but that’s only part of the process. The goal of this method is to cook food at it’s target temperature over a long period of time. Stay with me here, it’s a lot simpler than you may imagine.
i admit, there are a couple of things you would need to buy to get started, but once you have tried this method you are likely to keep on using it. You see the actual amount of ‘hands on’ prep time required is minimal. Meaning you have time to do other things, like slurp wine and chat on facetime while you ‘cook’ the most delightful of meals.
I am a lazy home cook who cooks daily for my elderly parents. Since I discovered the sous vide method I have been able to add more variety to their meals as I am prepping in advance and either chilling or freezing my sous vide creations and heating them through when ready. It also means I can cater at home for different tastes.
So what do you need?
- A sous vide wand, (we won’t go into the posher alternatives here…) I got mine from Aldi on special offer.
- A vacuum sealer and bags to put the food in
- A pot to put all the above in
- A pan that you can sear the meat to crisp it up. It must be able to reach a fairly high temperature
- An appetite to eat perfectly cooked stuff every time
In the picture above are chicken pieces with a little butter on the skin and shop bought cajun spice mix rubbed in. The sous vide wand is placed in the pan and set to 60C with the timer set for 2 hours. In they go and off I go to do other stuff. If I am not around after the two hours, it doesn’t matter, the machine shuts off and they can stay in there for another hour without ruining them.
If you aren’t going to serve them straight away you can reheat them and then pan fry to crisp up the skin. I didn’t reheat these in the water but if I were to it would be at a lower temperature than they were cooked in. So for example, 50C for 30 mins then pan fry.
What’s this muck? Oh, it actually tastes really nice
Full details about the sous vide recipies I play around with will appear on this site. It’s simple once you get your head around the fact that you aren’t ‘boiling in a bag’ and raising the temperature isn’t going to do you any favours.