Weeknight Cooking Made Easier With the Sous Vide

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Sous what?
Sous vide.
Most people fall into one of two camps: Either they've never heard of sous vide cooking or they're already diehard fans. If you're one of the former, hopefully we can inspire you to give this trendy technique a try. And if you've recently received or purchased a sous vide precision cooker and haven't yet taken the plunge, this is a great place to start.
Sous vide, which is French for "under vacuum," refers to the process of placing food in a vacuum-sealed bag and then cooking it in hot water using an appliance called a precision cooker. (Technically, the precision cooker isn't required, as you can improvise with a resealable bag and a large stock pot or a cooler—but it does make the process easier and more foolproof.)
Sous vide cooks food at a very precise temperature, so the results are more consistent than conventional methods. While oven cooking can sometimes leave your meals on the dry side, cooking in water helps food retain its juices and flavors. You also won't have to worry about hovering over the cooker and triple-checking to make sure your meal isn't getting overcooked, as the precision cooker will never go over the optimal temperature.
Chances are you've eaten food prepared using the sous vide method at some point, as many upscale restaurants have been using this technique for years. Now that precision cookers are available for affordable home use, anyone can enjoy the delicious results.

Tips for Successful Sous Vide Cooking

While sous vide cooking does eliminate a lot of room for error, there are a few strategies for ensuring that the result of your recipe tastes (and looks) its best.   
Make sure the temperature and cooking time match what you're cooking.
Depending on what type of food you're preparing, it may require a different time and temperature. A thick steak will cook longer than a thin piece of halibut, for example. Follow the recipe instructions carefully.
The Pratesi Living blog offers some recommended temperatures for various foods:
  • 38-43°C (100-109°F): Very rare to rare tuna
  • 39-49°C (101-120°F): Rare to medium-rare salmon
  • 49-55°C (120-130°F): Medium-rare to medium fish and shellfish (unpasteurized)
  • 55-60°C (131-140°F): Beef
  • 60°C (140°F): Pork and chicken (pasteurized)
  • 63-65°C (145-149°F): Poached eggs
  • 82-85°C (180-185°F): Root vegetables
Don't go overboard on the sauces.
While some people prefer to add butter, oil or some other wet marinade or seasoning to the bag prior to cooking, the experts recommend only using enough to cover the surface of the food. It may be easier, and just as flavorful, to sprinkle meat or fish with some dried herbs and spices before putting them in the bag.

9 Scrumptious Sous Vide Recipes

Orange and Mint Chicken Legs: These chicken legs have an encompassing combination of sweet, spicy and minty flavors.

Poached Eggs and Avocado Toast: Eliminate the guesswork of preparing perfectly poached eggs with this risk-free recipe. It's equal parts healthy, delicious and Instagram-worthy.
Image courtesy of Sous Vide Guy

Starbucks Sous Vide Egg Bites Bacon Gruyere: We love this copycat version of Starbucks' delicious grab-and-go breakfast. Chances are you already have all of the ingredients on hand.

Image courtesy of Copykat
Sous Vide Halibut: If you've ever been let down by dried-out fish cooked in the oven, you'll love this moist, flaky sous vide version. Prep time is just five minutes.
Image courtesy of Sous Vide Guy
Sesame Bok Choy: This sous vide meal uses several common Asian ingredients, such as ginger, soy sauce and sesame seeds, to create a complex sauce that coats the bok choy.
Sous Vide Cheesecake: Equally delicious and adorable, these mini cheesecakes are served in canning jars for perfectly portioned treats.
Image courtesy of Sous Vide Guy
Sous Vide Garlic Herb Butter Steaks: Premium cuts of meat cook perfectly in a temperature-controlled water bath, ensuring a tender, juicy, flavorful result.
Image courtesy of Number 2 Pencil
Sous Vide Pulled Pork: Preparing pounds of juicy pulled pork has never been easier or more foolproof than with this sous vide version.
Image courtesy of Sous Vide Guy
Cold Brew Coffee:  You'll want to enjoy this refreshing, chilled, super-smooth beverage all year round.
Image courtesy of Sous Vide Guy
Which of these would you like to try? Are there any other sous vide recipes you'd recommend?

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My brother shared about sous vide with me last year, and I have been hooked ever since. Basically, it is an oversized curling iron that you stick into a large pot of water (pot from your cabinet, so the only new gadget is your large 'curling iron'), and then you hang the product in a freezer bag in the water at a precise temperature, for a period of time.
Upsides: any hunk of meat like steaks, pork or beef roasts, split or boneless chicken breasts will be cooked to that perfect internal temperature leaving it moist, and depending how you season, it will be flavorful all the way through. Never again will you get a hammered piece of shoe leather.... ever! I use it all the time on boneless/skinless chicken breast for a low fat/low WW Point building block for meal planning and have NEVER BEEN DISAPPOINTED IN THE MEAT..
Downside: very few, other that leaving it in too long which leads to "excessive tenderness" where the meat is fall apart tender when you are looking for some bite/chew to it. The other is that ziplock bags are one-use. There ARE reusable sous vide immersion bags, but i have not given those a shake yet.

I recommend the "seriouseats" website for additional info. It not only has recipes, but it also goes into the science/mechanics of sous vide using sample meals. If you use this search phrase into your browser search window, it will take you to a results page where you can get to several different items to select: "food lab complete guide to sous vide" Report
Iím one of the ones who has heard of it and seen various versions of the equipment for sale on Amazon - but A) I still donít know how to pronounce it, and b) I bought the Instant Pot because it was cheaper, at the time. But C) whatís with the new sous vide ďimmersionĒ where you can use your own pot? That might be more useful in our house because we already have too much stuff sitting in cabinets and on counter tops (Iíd be happy to ditch the microwave as I rarely use it now. I prefer my convection oven or my instant pot instead.)
www.amazon.com/immersion-sous-vide /

interesting.... Report
DMEYER4 5/12/2018
great Report
RAPUNZEL53 5/12/2018
Interesting! Report
LIS193 5/12/2018
Interesting! Report
AZMOMXTWO 5/12/2018
interesting Report
PICKIE98 5/12/2018
I like my pressure cooker. Report
NEPTUNE1939 5/12/2018
TY Report
AMYSUZEQ 5/12/2018
Interesting Report
Interresting Report
JVANAM 4/10/2018
Though we travel the world to find beauty, we must carry it with us or we find it not. - Emerson ~ 4/10/18 Report
HOLLYM48 2/25/2018
Great article! Report
SHOAPIE 2/25/2018
For only 1 person, Iíll do without. Report
SPARKPEOPLE1951 2/25/2018
I ran out of room in my kitchen years ago. Hubby likes to buy gadgets. It looks interesting but I think I will keep with the standard methods of cooking. Report
MUSTANGMOM6 2/24/2018
great Report
ROBBIEY 2/24/2018
good info Report
CHRIS3874 2/24/2018
Wish there was more and more detailed instruction as to ho to try this wthout a cooker. Report
I have too much stuff and not enough space, all these gadgets take up space and are not used often enough to be worth it. Report
AZMOMXTWO 2/24/2018
I am not to sure about this Report
RO2BENT 2/24/2018
Extra work but should be worth it Report
HEDSTS58 2/24/2018
No, I think I'll just cook the normal way. It's like the Instant Pot, I don't have room for. To me this is just a gimmick Report
PICKIE98 2/24/2018
Back in the early 60's, we put food in bags in a bot of boiling water..Banquet made the foods. Same thing..just another consumer gimmick to spend our money and take up space,, in landfills. Report
97MONTY 2/24/2018
Thanks, does not interested Report
PATRICIA-CR 2/24/2018
Sounds interesting. Never heard about it before. Thanks! Report
CHERYLHURT 2/24/2018
I have a slow cooker, and a pressure cooker. Donít need anything else. Report
RAPUNZEL53 2/24/2018
Interesting! Report
KATHYJO56 2/14/2018
I don't think I will do this, but I loved the article. Report
I'm not going to another page to look at the device. If you can put pictures of food in the blog, you can put a picture of the cooker in the blog. Report
SHOAPIE 1/26/2018
Donít need one. Report
NELLJONES 1/26/2018
I would love to do sous vide, but I can't find a chart of times to go with the temp of the water bath. You can't check on food temp if it's vacuum sealed. Report
TCANNO 1/26/2018
No, not for me, no more room Report
MSROZZIE 1/25/2018
Finally a good use for all the baggies in my pantry. WooHoo! Report
No thanks, I have enough gadgets in my house and cannot afford to pay for another. Report
JVANAM 1/25/2018
You don't need a silver fork to eat good food. - Paul Prudhomme ~ 1/25/18 Report
thanks.. Report
SPARKNB 1/25/2018
Had heard of it, but wasn't sure exactly what it was. Thanks. Report
J38850 1/25/2018
I love how the Pulled pork is done. Never done it like that before. Going to try it soon. Report
FISHGUT3 1/25/2018
thanks Report
-SHOREIDO- 1/25/2018
Thank You Melissa and SparkPeople.com. Ummmmmmm good!! Report
Never heard of it before. Instant pot is on my wish list, will have to try. Report
"Either they've never heard of sous vide cooking or they're already diehard fans."

OR you recognize that the whole concept is terrible and you know that the sous vide cookers will end up pushed to the back of the cabinet in about a year from now. There's a sucker born every minute, and those suckers love sous vide! Report
RICHARDST47 1/25/2018
I have and use both Instant Pot and Sous Vide and use both to their full potential. Greatest technology since the Microwave oven. This information is great for the new Sous Vide user. Thanks Sparkpeople for all your helpful information.

Richartst47 Report
HAWKTHREE 1/25/2018
Hesitating to buy a new appliance, but I really want to try putting cream into sous vide to create a carmelized no-sugar-added for my morning coffee. Report
MSNOVADAWN 1/25/2018
I recently purchased an Instant Pot Ultra and you can make Sous Vide in this model. My husband cooked a cap steak in it then finished it off with a nice sear on the grill. He said it was good, but he prefers the grill as it's a lot easier. Heh Report
RHOOK20047 1/25/2018
Interesting concept. Report
RO2BENT 1/25/2018
Supposed to be phenomenal Report
PICKIE98 1/25/2018
I prefer my crockpot that only costs $.03 for 8 hours on high! Report
NEPTUNE1939 1/25/2018
great Report
MAREE1953 1/25/2018
My husband loves to cook and added the sous vide last fall (alternative to grilling as our cold winter temps move in). We're enjoying the precision, the flavor, preserving natural juices. He just finishes meat off with braising under broiler or in skillet. I'll be sharing this article with him. Report
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