What Is Sous Vide?

Like many culinary terms, the term ‘sous vide’ is one many of us are familiar hearing. An equal number of us who don’t happen to be French or at least fluent French speakers (or chefs), have wondered how to even pronounce it, never mind wondered what in actual fact it means. Though it can sound intimidating to try and get our tongues around the phrase upon first seeing it, fortunately it is a relatively simple term to get one’s head around.

What Sous Vide Means

‘Sous vide’literarily translates into English to mean ‘under vacuum’. Hence, ‘sous vide’ is a descriptive term, which derives from the process by which food stuffs can be prepared and cooked.

In a nut shell (of plastic bag, in this case), sous vide food is that which is first part-cooked undervacuum (hence the term) before finally being chilled for a length of time, or most often flash fried before serving.

What Is The Point Of ‘Sous Vide’?

The point of sous vide cooking is to best prepare food whilst retaining as much of its raw nutrients, flavour and tenderness as is possible. Quite simply, sous vide foods are served often at high-end restaurants and sous vide cooking has been adopted by most serious chefs as it provides a relatively simple means of cooking food stuffs such as expensive steaks and cuts of meat in the most even manner.

How Is Sous Vide Cooking Carried Out?

There are several ways to cook sous vide. The most common methods all include placing and sealing food in a plastic bag (or less commonly a canning jar) and then doing one of the following:

  • Place the item(s) into a water bath
  • Place the item(s) in a combi-oven
  • Place the item(s) in any cooker which features a reliable and accurate temperature gauge able to maintain a temperature within one or two degrees

The trick to successful sous vide cooking is being able to accurately know what temperature you are working with and to be able to control the temperature within a couple of degrees. Hence, in recent years most chefs and now many enthusiastic and / or more serious ‘home cooks’ have opted to invest in sous vide kitchen tools and gadgets, such as those available these days by suppliers like Sous Vide Tools, as specialist sous vide appliances guarantee the best results.

Once the temperature reaches its target, which will depend on what you are cooking sous vide, it is removed from both the appliance used to sous vide it and its bag or jar and most offered finished by being lightly / quickly seared or flash fried.

What Foods Are Best Cooked Sous Vide?

Anything could potentially be cooked sous vide. Most commonly the technique is used to perfectly (or as evenly and so perfectly) cook meat and fish as flesh can easily cook unevenly, lose its texture, fall apart or become tough when cooked by more traditional methods. Certain meats such as chicken which can be dangerous when undercooked are, when cooked sous vide, kept at their target temperature for a longer period of time in order to kill any possibly dangerous pathogens and so remove the risk of causing diners food poisoning.

Meat and fish are not the only foods which are cooked by the sous vide method though. Many modern chefs, excited by the technique and scope it provides for creating new recipes and as well cooking food stuffs in a precise manner choose to sous vide vegetables and use the technique to experiment. To join them, or if you are thinking of giving cooking sous vide a go yourself, The Great British Chefs website features over 100 different recipes which involve using the technique and creating some stunning and delicious results to get you started.

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What Is Sous Vide?

February 1st, 2016

Like many culinary terms, the term ‘sous vide’ is one many of us are familiar hearing. An equal number of us who don’t happen to be French or at least fluent French speakers (or chefs), have wondered how to even pronounce it, never mind wondered what in actual fact it means. Though it can sound intimidating to try and get our tongues around the phrase upon first seeing it, fortunately it is a relatively simple term to get one’s head around.

What Sous Vide Means

‘Sous vide’literarily translates into English to mean ‘under vacuum’. Hence, ‘sous vide’ is a descriptive term, which derives from the process by which food stuffs can be prepared and cooked.

In a nut shell (of plastic bag, in this case), sous vide food is that which is first part-cooked undervacuum (hence the term) before finally being chilled for a length of time, or most often flash fried before serving.

What Is The Point Of ‘Sous Vide’?

The point of sous vide cooking is to best prepare food whilst retaining as much of its raw nutrients, flavour and tenderness as is possible. Quite simply, sous vide foods are served often at high-end restaurants and sous vide cooking has been adopted by most serious chefs as it provides a relatively simple means of cooking food stuffs such as expensive steaks and cuts of meat in the most even manner.

How Is Sous Vide Cooking Carried Out?

There are several ways to cook sous vide. The most common methods all include placing and sealing food in a plastic bag (or less commonly a canning jar) and then doing one of the following:

  • Place the item(s) into a water bath
  • Place the item(s) in a combi-oven
  • Place the item(s) in any cooker which features a reliable and accurate temperature gauge able to maintain a temperature within one or two degrees

The trick to successful sous vide cooking is being able to accurately know what temperature you are working with and to be able to control the temperature within a couple of degrees. Hence, in recent years most chefs and now many enthusiastic and / or more serious ‘home cooks’ have opted to invest in sous vide kitchen tools and gadgets, such as those available these days by suppliers like Sous Vide Tools, as specialist sous vide appliances guarantee the best results.

Once the temperature reaches its target, which will depend on what you are cooking sous vide, it is removed from both the appliance used to sous vide it and its bag or jar and most offered finished by being lightly / quickly seared or flash fried.

What Foods Are Best Cooked Sous Vide?

Anything could potentially be cooked sous vide. Most commonly the technique is used to perfectly (or as evenly and so perfectly) cook meat and fish as flesh can easily cook unevenly, lose its texture, fall apart or become tough when cooked by more traditional methods. Certain meats such as chicken which can be dangerous when undercooked are, when cooked sous vide, kept at their target temperature for a longer period of time in order to kill any possibly dangerous pathogens and so remove the risk of causing diners food poisoning.

Meat and fish are not the only foods which are cooked by the sous vide method though. Many modern chefs, excited by the technique and scope it provides for creating new recipes and as well cooking food stuffs in a precise manner choose to sous vide vegetables and use the technique to experiment. To join them, or if you are thinking of giving cooking sous vide a go yourself, The Great British Chefs website features over 100 different recipes which involve using the technique and creating some stunning and delicious results to get you started.

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