Sous Vide – Why I’m converted!
At first, I was honestly a bit skeptical. I have (up to now) been more of an old school touchy-feely kind of guy where cooking meat is concerned. I did a catering gig back in January and wanted to put some of the profits towards helping me grow more in the kitchen. That’s when I decided to grab me an Anova. Before I continue, I am writing this article of my own volition; Anova is not paying me nor have they contacted me whatsoever ALTHOUGH I wouldn’t complain if they did;)
When you hear ‘sous vide’ I am sure most people start to think hold on a sec there Mr fancypants, I just wanna cook a good piece of meat for family/friends why do I need to go and drop $100 on this piece of equipment, when I still need to use a frying pan in the end anyway?? To be honest, a good percentage of the time you are correct but if you are cooking for a large group, for a dinner party or just wanna save some money on your weekly meat bill whilst still getting to eat great steak then Mr fancypants here can certainly help you out!
So what is sous vide? Firstly it’s pronounced “Sue Veed”. In French the term means to cook under vaccum. Well, I’m no scientist so I’m not gonna get into the nitty gritty too much – just enough for you to get a basic understanding. More importantly I’m gonna let you know the benefits of using it, first hand! Sous vide is a form of cooking with water. Using a machine like Anova or Joule you place your food in a vacuum packed bag and into a water bath that is being regulated to your specific temperature using an immersion circulator. In professional kitchens they are known as sous vide water ovens and will set you back, not to mention take up a ton of space, WAY more than the amazing home versions created in recent years. By cooking at a constant regulated temperature there is no way to undercook or overcook your meat – sous vide companies describe it as “fool proof”. BUT, that aside, to me one of the best qualities of using sous vide is the decreased wastage. When cooking meat the conventional way, you lose a certain % of it’s volume so that 250g piece of meat is actually only about 200-220g by the time you serve it. No fair! With sous vide that % of loss disappears. Winner winner chicken (or steak) dinner! I get to eat what I paid for!
Ok, boring “facts” aside. the best thing about sous vide is unlike conventional ways of cooking where you rely on oven temperatures which can fluctuate easily and frying pans that require you to stand at your oven/cooker sweating, the sous vide does the majority of the sweating for you so that you can focus on actual conversation with friends/family or getting the rest of the amazing meal ready. How many times have you been running around the kitchen like a lunatic (while your partner is waving a towel at the smoke alarm), having a fight that ends up necessitating couples’ counseling when you should be “enjoying” having your mates over for beers? The beauty of the machine is the flexibility it offers because once the steak hits the desired temperature in the water bath it will stay at that temp for a period of time unlike with a frying pan which gives you a short 1-2 min window as to when your meat is overcooked. I guess the ONLY time this doesn’t work in your favour is if you are trying to escape that boring story you have heard your know it all mate for the 100th time……….. For me, I look at it more along the lines of being able to enjoy another glass of wine and focus on the other components of the meal.
Now reading through this you may be thinking that all I do is sous vide everything and that AnotherFoodBlogger’s kitchen is full of vacuum packed goodies everywhere but the truth is it isn’t! I LOVE cooking steaks on my grill or slow cooking things like pork butt or lamb shoulder. Sometimes you really just can’t beat the aromas they bring to the kitchen and the grilled flavour you get from meat & veg. I generally use mine (anova) if I know I am under pressure to do other things around the house so I can focus on those or if we are having a dinner party but mostly when I want to elevate cheaper cuts of meat into the gloryland of fillet steak! I STRONGLY believe everyone needs to learn how to cook the “old school” way and I’ve already started my nearly 2yr old on that path. So try to learn the art of searing and resting a steak properly before becoming a scientist in the kitchen – check out my article here to help you. However, for those of you who just cant be bothered or can’t seem to get it right then well, sous vide is gonna make your day a whole lot better!
Cost wise you can get them here in Brisbane, Australia for about $190 and in the US it’s about $100 on Amazon – gotta love Amazon prime! So it’s not going to leave you bankrupt and it will allow you to buy cheaper cuts like lamp rump instead of the loin or backstrap. If you do this once a week then very quickly you will have made your money back. Anyone else got this crazy logic like I do? Recently, we booked a flight home to Ireland for our family of 3. I won’t tell you the cost of flying Brisbane to Dublin but it turned out if we flew a day earlier then we would save $1000. FANTASTIC! So like the good and smart couple that we are we booked a trip to Byron Bay with the money we ‘saved’……… #sensible
Anyways, all in all I can honestly say it has been one of my better kitchen purchases over the past few years. So if you, like me, are an avid cook or wanna “pretend” you are to your friends, then get on the sous vide buzz. You won’t be disappointed. Below, is a link to a dish I did recently so check it out and I hope it will inspire you to cook.
Happy Cooking & Happy Eating!