Sous vide (pronounced sue-veed) was once a means of cooking available only to those with professional chef backgrounds and experience. In French, the term translates to "under vacuum," and sous vide is the process of sealing food in airtight containers—commonly a vacuum-sealed bag—and cooking it in temperature-controlled water.
High-end restaurants have used sous vide cooking for decades to cook food to the desired level. But now, the technique has become more accessible and affordable, and many cooks can enjoy sous vide cooking at home. You may have heard about sous vide, or perhaps you're unfamiliar with it but interested in trying it yourself. If so, we're excited to share yet another journey toward delicious food and great recipe ideas.
How Sous Vide Works
A sous vide machine utilizes a heated metal coil to warm water to a constant temperature, which never fluctuates too high or low extremes. That translates into a cooking process that is gradual and controlled. Proteins like steak, pork, chicken, and some fish that cook for extended times are slowly heated until the entire piece reaches the temperature of the water. Since the water will never go past the desired temperature, the meat takes much longer to cook, which means you'll never have an overcooked piece of protein.
Herbs, marinades, sauces, and spices also can be sealed in with the protein. Sous vide means there's no contact with heated surfaces, flames, steam, or smoke, and the water rarely comes to a boil.
Sous vide takes away the guesswork of poking a piece of meat multiple times with a meat thermometer or burning the outside while undercooking the inside. You don't have to guess with sous vide. Set a temperature, and thanks to the sous vide's secondary function, water circulation, the constantly moving water ensures there's never a too hot or too cold spot within the cooking pot.
The only hands-on part of the sous vide process is placing the proteins and anything else you want into the bag and removing the food from the bag. However, since the sous vide eliminates any contact with a hot surface, the meat won't have any caramelization, crispiness, or charred—this can be done by quickly searing it before you place it into the sous vide bag.
Equipment for Sous Vide
Before you can begin experimenting with recipe ideas, you'll need the right equipment for sous vide. Here's what we recommend to have on hand:
• 1 Immersion circulator – the device which is inserted into a tub or pot of water that circulates the water and heats it to a precise temp
• A pot for the water. However, you might wish to consider a Cambro container in small or large, as plastic is a better insulator.
• Cast iron skillet to give any protein that quick sear that grants the deep brown crust to your proteins
Sous Vide Recipe Ideas
Sous Vide NY Strip Steak
• 1 Wholey's 12 oz. USA N.Y. Strip Steak
• ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
• ¼ teaspoon onion powder
• 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus a pinch more
• ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus a pinch more
• 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
• 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
• 1 tablespoon neutral or grapeseed oil
How to Prepare:
1. Clip, or stand (depending on your sous vide machine) the immersion circulator to a large pot or Cambro container and fill the container according to the manufacturer's instructions. (Remember that the water will rise when you drop the steak into the water.)
2. Rub steak on all sides with garlic powder, onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4th teaspoon freshly ground black pepper—place steak in the vacuum bag.
3. Lightly bruise the sprigs of rosemary and thyme. You can do this by smacking them against a cutting board or lightly rolling them back and forth in your hands. Add the herbs to the bag.
4. Vacuum seal or partially close a resealable bag and ensure you remove as much air as possible to keep the bag from floating and place it in the water bath. If using a resealable bag, push down into the water to remove more air, then fully close. For proper cooking, the bag must be completely submerged. Turn the machine on and heat the water to 130°. This is the ideal temperature for a perfectly medium-rare, tender steak. If you prefer different doneness, adjust the temperature to 5° for your steak to be more or less well done.
5. Using a small clip, secure the top edge of the resealable bag to the rim of the pot or container, positioning it opposite the machine's water outlet to keep the bag submerged. If using a vacuum-sealed bag, you may need to set a small plate or weight on top of the bag to prevent floating—cook steak at 130° for 2 and ½ hours.
6. Remove steak from bag, pat dry with paper towels, season all over with salt and pepper, and let air dry for a few minutes.
7. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot. Add oil and cook all 4 sides of the steak until a deep golden crust forms, 1-2 minutes. Slice steak against the grain and serve.
More Sous Vide Recipe Ideas
What else can you sous vide?
• Sous vide butternut squash and apple soup. Letting veggies cook slowly keeps them tender and tasty, and a soup like this can be pulled together within 20 minutes and frozen perfectly.
• Sous vide chicken. Don't miss out on plump, juicy chicken meat with crispy skin by cooking chicken sous vide and finishing it with a crispy sear in a skillet after.
• Sous vide apple & rosemary pork chops. Never overcook your pork chops again!
• Sous vide chuck roast.
• Sous vide filet mignon.
• Sous vide pulled pork.
And that's not all! Sous vide cooking can create delectable desserts like Crème Brûlée, cheesecake, coffee, Bananas Foster, and butter-poached pears, for example!
We know that trying new things can sometimes be stressful, but with Wholey by your side, we're happy to help guide you to fresh, delicious meals, means of cooking, and recipes that will make mealtimes better and more accessible for the entire family. We hope you enjoy these sous vide recipe ideas!