How to Cook Sous Vide
Welcome to the world of sous vide cooking. You're about to learn a new cooking technique that is easy to learn, easy to do, and promises to save you time and money, all while producing meals of exquisite flavour and texture. Sous vide is a safe and extremely effective method of cooking. Foods are vacuum sealed in air-tight pouches then submerged in a water bath at precisely controlled temperature, often much lower than those used in traditional ovens, but for a longer time.
After you've unpacked your SousVide Supreme, we recommend reading the included owner's manual. Now let's get cooking! The SousVide Supreme allows two configurations of the pouch rack. The normal position accommodates five average sized food pouches. The rack can also be repositioned to allow cooking larger pouches up to 12 inches in length. SousVide Supreme cooks food using heated water. So the first thing we want to do is fill the water bath.
Inside the water bath, you'll see two lines; one marked FILL and the other MAX. You want to start with water up to the FILL line. The level of the water will rise when you add pouches of food to be cooked. Water should never exceed the level marked MAX. Should the water pass the MAX line, simply remove some of the water.
Plug the power cord or power lead into a properly grounded outlet. Now simply press and hold the power button for three seconds. You should hear and feel a slight click. The water temperature indicator light will illuminate, and the display will show the current temperature of the water in the water bath. If lights do not illuminate, reposition your finger on the button and try again. To change the display from the Celsius to Fahrenheit scale, press the switch button in the upper right corner of the control panel.
Setting the target temperature is also easy. Simply press the SET TEMP button. You'll see a preset default temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Now press the plus or minus toggle until you achieve the desired setting. Press the START button to begin the heating process. You'll hear a tone, and the heating indicator light will illuminate red. The heating light will stay illuminated until the target temperature is reached. When the water has been heated to the target temperature, the heating light will turn green, and you'll be alerted with a repeating tone.
For most recipes, setting the timer is unnecessary. One of the great advantages of sous vide cooking is that precise timing is not required for consistent results. However, in cases where you do desire a timing function, all you need to do is press the SET TIMER button. Then use the plus or minus toggle to set the appropriate cooking time. Press START, and timing begins. After a few seconds, the display reverts to the temperature setting. If you want to view the timer, press SET TIMER button to view time again.
Once the desired water temperature is reached, it's time to add our food, for example, this boneless chicken breast. Before we insert the chicken into the cooking bag, we'll want to add some seasonings. Here, we're simply spicing the chicken with the included spice pack. Sous vide cooking locks in and magnifies flavour. So we need only enough to lightly season the meat. Refer to the owner's manual for various options to season your food.
Here's a tip -- fold back the opening of the bag before inserting the chicken to avoid spices getting trapped in the zip track. This can make it difficult to achieve the proper seal needed. Then in goes our chicken. Make certain to not overfill the bag. Remove as much air from the bag as possible. Then zip the top of the food pouch closed. In this example, we're using a hand pump vacuum sealer. However, you can also use your own vacuum sealing machine for this part of the process. Simply follow its manufacturer's instructions. It is important to use only food-grade plastic vacuum sealable pouches, certified by the manufacturer as suitable for cooking. Do not use standard zip closure bags meant for food storage.
Unlike cooking in a traditional oven based on food weight, sous vide cooking is based on the thickness of food in the pouch. Refer to the cooking temperature guide in your user's manual for optimum flavour and texture. One of the other terrific advantages of cooking with SousVide Supreme is although we have a minimum cooking time of one hour, we can leave our chicken in the water bath for 8, 12, or 24 hours with absolutely no chance of overcooking. Put the lid in place, top with the insulating pad, and you're cooking. Simple, yet precise. That's the SousVide Supreme.
Now let's try something that can be a real challenge to cook properly with conventional cooking techniques -- root vegetables, such as these carrots. For a nice flavour enhancement, we're going to add a teaspoon of chicken bouillon paste to the bag before inserting our carrots. We seal the package, this time using another vacuum sealing technique. Check to make certain the water bath of the SousVide Supreme has reached the correct temperature. In this case, the cooking guide in the owner's manual recommends 185 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours. If not serving the carrots immediately, we could simply turn down the water temperature to 135 degrees Fahrenheit, where the carrots can stay hot and perfectly tender for hours.
Let's do one more. This example shows how sous vide cooking can greatly improve on a dish that is difficult to prepare well with conventional cooking methods, even for accomplished chefs. A perfectly cooked steak. Most chefs agree that a beef steak should be cooked medium rare for the best flavour. That means the center of the steak should achieve a temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit. But with conventional frying or grilling, the outer layers of the steak are easily overcooked by the time the center reaches the proper temperature. We're going to fix that problem with a SousVide Supreme. This time, we want the flavour of the meat to really shine through. So we're seasoning with a steak rub, but feel free to use your own favourite steak seasoning or just salt and pepper. Checking our cooking guide, we see that an inch-thick steak should be cooked at the desired temperature for one hour. Again, with sous vide cooking, minimum cooking time is dependent upon the thickness of our steak, not the weight. But this steak is about two inches thick. With sous vide cooking, you don't just double the cooking time for meat as it increases in thickness. The cooking time increases exponentially. So for this two-inch steak, for example, we'll increase the cooking time to four hours. This steak will be cooked to perfect medium rare, through and through, in four hours. But this steak will still be perfectly medium rare in 8, 10, or 24 hours.
Let's check our food. The lid of the SousVide Supreme is cleverly designed to double as a tray. When you're ready to serve, just grasp the rack handles and carefully lift it out.
For food such as our carrots, which are commonly poached in simmering water, we can serve directly from the cooking pouches. For this poached chicken, we've decided to add a nice marinara sauce.
But for foods that traditionally benefit from heat seared exterior, such as our steak here, we're going to take one more step. Now we could put the steak under the broiler, on a hot grill pan, a charcoal grill, or even brown using a butane torch to sear the exterior. The heat must be very hot and the browning accomplished on only one side of the meat very quickly. The easiest and fastest way is to use a hot frying pan with foaming butter, 30 seconds, and voila. Bon appetite!
Cleanup is extraordinarily easy with a SousVide Supreme. Just turn it off, unplug the unit from the power outlet, and remove the power cord or power lead. A nice touch you'll appreciate with the SousVide Supreme is the offset positioning of the handles. This makes it easy and safe to move and empty the SousVide Supreme. Be sure to allow the bath water to cool before emptying. Finally, just gently wipe the interior and exterior of the SousVide Supreme, using a soft, dry cloth.
Congratulations! You've just begun to explore the delightful benefits of sous vide cooking with the SousVide Supreme.
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