The name is fancy, but the concept is simple. Food is placed in a bag and immersed in temperature-controlled water. This cooks the food slowly and evenly, with the chance of overcooking significantly reduced, as your food comes up to the temperature you desire and no higher. Abt Electronics has you covered with the equipment you need to take on this new technique as well as tips and tricks on How to Sous Vide at Home.
What You Need to Sous Vide
In recent years, the price of consumer sous vide machines, or immersion circulators, have come down to a very friendly price point. The units used in high-end restaurants can run into the thousands of dollars, not exactly approachable for the home chef.
An immersion circulator heats and maintains the temperature of water in a container. They are around the size and shape of a short paper towel tube, and clip to the side of your cooking vessel. Think of it as a high tech slow cooker, able to use precise temperature control for perfect results.
The choice of what cooking vessel to use is entirely up to you and determined by the size of what you are going to cook. Some cooks use any large pot that they have around in their kitchen, and others use containers specifically designed for sous vide. Whatever your preference, Abt carries pots and pans as well as sous vide containers.
The final item is a bag to cook your food in. This can be a special bag sealed by a vacuum sealer, or a humble disposable food storage bag that you probably have in your kitchen already. Benefits of vacuum seal bags include reliable sealing and robust construction, so hot water doesn’t enter your bag during the cooking process.
You might be wondering if cooking in plastic bags is safe, but restaurants have been using sous vide for decades. The temperatures used in this technique are under the boiling point of water, so plastic melting should not be a concern. The bags used are also BPA free, giving you one less thing to worry about. Many things in and around a kitchen have come under scrutiny at some time or another, including contaminated produce, canned foods, plastic storage containers, and nonstick pans, to name a few.
How Sous Vide Works
Place your seasoned food into a bag, seal it, and then place it into the container of your choice with the immersion circulator and heated water in it. The amazing thing about sous vide is it is a true ‘set it and forget it’ type of cooking. You don’t have to do anything except take the food out when it’s ready. Unlike traditional methods, there is no turning, stirring, or deglazing necessary.
An easy example of how unique and easy this cooking method can be is shown by cooking a sous vide steak. When preparing it on the grill or in a pan, getting the temperature just right can be tough without jabbing it constantly with a thermometer. If a recipe calls for cooking it for a certain amount of time and the steak is on the thin side, it will come out tough and chewy. Sous vide takes the variables out of the equation and gives you amazing consistent results.
Want your steak medium rare? Set the immersion circulator for 130 degrees. How about medium? Bump it up to 140.
The machine does the rest, gently bringing your food up to temperature and keeping it there. Burning or overcooking your meal is not part of the process with sous vide.
Especially with proteins, many cooks like to give the food a quick sear in a pan to promote browning and develop a crust and additional flavor after it comes out of the water bath. The cook times of sous vide can benefit the patient and organized chef, where the food can go in and cook away while you free up time to do something else.
Sous Vide Benefits and Features
In addition to the time savings and ease of not having to stand in front of a stove, food cooked sous vide has numerous other benefits. It’s all about the food at the end of the day, and the flavor and nutrients stay locked inside the bag as you’re cooking it. Moisture also stays inside the bag, leading to tender and juicy results. Marinades and seasonings have a chance to infuse into your dish, rather than falling to the bottom of the pan or evaporating.
Another convenient feature is that you can prepare meals and store them for later, right in the cooking bag.
All immersion circulators we carry have built-in thermometers to digitally regulate the temperature of the cooking water. Some even have mobile apps where you can set the temperature and monitor the progress of your cooking, in addition to being able to prepare the end product based on photos of how you want the item to look.
Let’s Get Cooking
From a wide selection of immersion circulators to vacuum sealers and vacuum bags, Abt has you covered with everything you need to get started cooking sous vide. Check out our How to Sous Vide at Home article for more information, or contact our kitchen experts at 847-954-4100.