Best answer: Sous vide is the process of cooking sealed food slowly in water. If you want to expand your kitchen repertoire, sous vide cooking is a great skill to try and master.
What is it, and what can I cook?
Sous vide cooking is basically putting airtight, vacuum-packed food into a warm water bath. It circulates the water while keeping at it a consistent temperature for even cooking results. When you get the hang of it, there are plenty of sous vide accessories available to help you achieve even better results. This method of cooking makes for flavorful, nutritious, and tasty food. Once you understand the basics, it's not hard to do, and the results can be restaurant-quality success stories.
The sous vide treatment can be used to cook meat, fish, shellfish, certain vegetables, some potato dishes, eggs, fruit, grains, sauces and stocks, creamy desserts, and more. You can use the sous vide method of cooking to create flavored oils, pickle vegetables, temper chocolate. You can even make infused alcoholic cocktails. It's a veratile cooking method, if you can master the technique.
Why would I want to sous vide?
The sous vide cooking method locks in flavor, nutrients, and vitamins. It keeps food very moist, or nice and crunchy, depending on the food type. As you're sealing up the food, you're sealing in the flavors, letting meat cook in its own juices for example. Adding flavoring with herbs, spices, or other elements such as garlic, ginger, or lemongrass is simple to do. Just add them into the bag before cooking.
There's also the bonus of not needing additional fats with sous vide. You may choose to sear sous vide meat and fish before you seal it or after you remove it from the water bath, but you'll use a lot less oil than if you pan cooked it from scratch.
It's almost impossible to overdo sous vide food as the temperature stays consistent and it's such a gentle way of cooking. The real draw for busy home chefs is that once you prep your packages, you can set a timer and leave the water bath to do its thing while you get on with other things. This also means sous vide menus are easy to prep ahead. You can even bulk buy food, package them up in vacuum pack bags, freeze them and cook them from frozen, without defrosting.
One more reason people love sous vide is the ability to cater to different tastes in a completely stress-free way. As each element can be separately vacuum sealed, it's simple to add different flavorings to each little package. If you like your ribs fiery hot, but your fellow diner is less about the heat, no problem! Just remember to label the bags before you immerse them.
Hold my beer, Heston
The benefits of sous vide cooking are numerous and now, thanks to advances in technology with products like the Instant Pot Accu Slim and the Joule, within the means of an average home cook. Sous vide used to be the preserve of professionals, but now we can all have a go at this exciting cooking method.
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