In the recent days, you have probably been caught in the hype of sous-vide cooking. I know you are also tempted to join this revolutionary movement. This is especially so because we realize that you can cook a healthy meal without overcooking or burning it.
The cooking process can really confuse you as a beginner but worry not because it’s something you can quickly learn.
Whether you are green in the field or have some basic information, you need to follow a guide for perfection. You will only find the guide in a good sous vide cookbook.
Unfortunately, just like sous vide cooking has taken the world by storm, there are thousand of sous vide cookbooks in the market all with varying information.
For this reason, it’s hard to choose a book that will help you. This article will guide you in choosing the best cookbook.
WHAT IS SOUS VIDE COOKING?
Image: cafe deluxe
You must have heard people use the term in high-end restaurants or during cooking competitions. That’s because those restaurants have used the cooking method for ages before people started using it at home.
The phrase is a French term that means ‘under the vacuum’ which is exactly what happens in this method of cooking. The chef marinates their proteins then vacuum seals it and put it in a pot of water. this means that the food never comes to contact with flames and a heated metal surface.
The machine heats the water to a constant high but not boiling point level. Yet it also maintains the temperature never fluctuating between high and low. It’s simply like you are cooking in a controlled water bath.
You can cook almost anything with this method of cooking from eggs, meat, fish or seafood the list is endless. What’s more, the result is unparalleled because it cooks way better than the traditional method of cooking.
WHY SHOULD YOU COOK SOUS VIDE?
This method of cooking gives you a controlled temperature making your food slow to cook within a set time. You get consistent results from a consistent method of cooking.
The food retains its taste because it cooks in its juice. You develop a juicy moist and tender dish.
The traditional method of cooking results in waste from drying out.
A good example is, when grilling a steak, it loses some percentage of the meat because it dries out. Sous vide cooking retains the same volume of meat.
When you are cooking traditionally you must constantly check the food to confirm that it reaches the desired consistency. When it comes to sous vide you don’t need to protect the food from overcooking. You just set the temperature and time the meal takes to cook then go check it when the time lapses.
It lets you focus on other roles as you cook in the sous vide. Because it will take the set time you set it to and you don’t have to worry about overcooking.
As earlier stated, the results you get with a traditional cooking method are nothing like sous vide cooking. It cooks your meats from edge to edge and from the center to the outer part.
SOUS VIDE COOKING TECHNIQUE
Image: cafe deluxe
This culinary technique cuts beyond fashion to offer you a professional meal that is not only succulent but well done too. It’s like poaching your food in a vacuum bag under a specific temperature. The machine has water that retains a steady temperature while circulating and ultimately cooking.
This circulation helps to maintain the temperature. The method suits those who want to limit the amount of fat/oil they use in food. You don’t need to add fat or oil, especially in the proteins because the food will cook in its juices.
This will leave your food not only rich in flavor but also soft, juicy and moist. Note that, if you love searing your meats you won’t do it before placing the meat in the sous vide. Rather you can do it once it’s cooked.
WHICH ARE THE BEST MEALS TO COOK IN A SOUS VIDE
Sous vide cooking is versatile in that it allows you to cook a wide range of proteins and veggies. Most people think it’s good for cooking meats only but that isn’t true.
Since the technique ensures overcooking is off the window you can use it to cook meals that tend to overcook or dry out. This includes steak, pork chops, seafood, duck breasts, turkey, and chicken breasts.
If your meat has lots of connective tissues use this method. Some of these meats with connective tissues include chicken feet, oxtail, and the beef tongue.
Except for those times when you want to fry your eggs, you can use it to cook scrambled eggs, poach the egg, make eggnog or pasteurize it to use in your raw cookie dough.
The best part is that you can use it even for your veggies. I know this is a surprise to many but veggies like carrots or asparagus will wow you if you sous vide specific recipes.
You can use your sous vide even for deserts. All those desserts that you cook in a Bain Marie will work perfectly when cooked using this technique. Consider cooking pumpkin pie, cream brulee or cheesecake using this method. Also, make the ham and delicious burgers.
Other meals you can use this method to cook include mashed potatoes, beef stock and puree which I love and it took a friend to convince me to prepare it using this method. It wowed me and I’m sure it will wow you.
HOW TO SOUS VIDE
We will try to break it down into a few steps to make it easy to understand.
- Step 1: There is the equipment you need for the whole cooking process.
The first one is a sous vide cooking equipment which was initially utterly expensive but today you can even improvise if you have a sous vide precision cooking machine, a large pot to hold water and a vacuum seal bag.
- Step 2: The preparation of the meat
By preparation, we are referring to the seasoning process or marination. The seasoning part will determine the flavors of your meat. When cooking sous vide you can decide to use only salt and pepper. But, if you want to add a little more flavors, feel free to play around with your spices.
When cooking meat, I often use ground black pepper, curry, ginger, soy sauce and harissa paste. You can use almost anything you want. With this process, you can have a dish full of flavor because the seasoning gets absorbed within the meat making it flavorful.
- Step 2: Vacuum Sealing
You have the vacuum seal bag, right?
Immediately after the marination, place it in a vacuum seal bag. For safety, choose a gold standard food grade vacuum seal bag or the normal resealable freezer bag. Before you seal it consider adding aromatics like bay leaves or rosemary for a sweet aroma.
Let the leaves remain in contact with the meat before you seal. If you desire, add some ghee or butter but avoid liquids that deter the flavor sealing process.
Go ahead and follow the manufacturer’s instruction for the proper sealing. If possible seal it two to three times to ensure it stays sealed.
- Step 3: Temperature setting
The good thing about a sous vide is that it gives you the pinpoint temperature set to choose. But before that, fill your large pot with water then set the temperature depending on what you are cooking.
I always use the given temperature ranges just to be sure. You see, it depends on whether you want your meat rare, medium-cooked or fully-cooked. A good example is that the medium-rare meat temperature ranges between 130˚F TO 139˚F.
If you will set your sous vide machine at this temperature you will have medium-rare meat. The setting temperature part may confuse you but when you have good brands this won’t be an issue.
The brands have software to determine the correct temperature to cook your food if you key in the details on the app. Once you set the temperature and the water reaches the set temperature, place the vacuum sealed bag in the water and let it circulate around.
Note that, some bags need you to pin at the side of the pot just to be sure that the seal doesn’t fail.
- Step 4: Decide how long the food should sous vide
You need to know how long the food should take to sous vide. This is because the cooking process involves heat the food, tenderizing then make sure it’s safe.
It may take between 1 to 2 hours for the meat to heat up entirely.
The tenderizing process determines whether your meat will be chewy, fatty or fully cooked. If you have a big chunk of meat you may want to tenderize it for up to 2 days. However, some meat parts will take 2-24 hours just know the kind of meat you are prepping.
For the food safety, remember to keep the food at 40˚F and 134˚F for a short duration otherwise your food safety becomes risky. Take anything less than 4 hours at such temperature.
- Step 5: Finish
Remove your meats or other thing being cooked from the water and let it rest for between 10-20 minutes. Go ahead and serve or if you need to sear it remove the meat from the bag and dry it with your kitchen towel.
In a hot skillet, sear it on both sides to form the crust you need.
BEST SOUS VIDE RECIPE
Sous vide steak
Often, the thought of something to cook using the sous vide method brings to mind the steak. This is because whenever you decide to cook your steak the traditional way, you either overcook it or you find that the mid-section is not as done as you wanted it to.
The sous vide excuses you from such trauma because though it takes time, it cooks as per set instructions.
- Consider choosing a steak that is 1 and a half to 2 inches thickness. This ensures that it gets evenly done and no side is overcooked.
- Next, choose the right temperature. If you want it rare choose 120˚F if you want it medium choose 140˚F and if you want it well done chose 160˚F. Remember, the temperature determines the moistness and juiciness of your meat.
- The time you take to cook it also matters so, find the correct temperature vs timing from the cookbooks below to go by.
- Start by preheating your precision cooker.
- Using salt pepper and other aromatics, season your steak on both sides.
- Insert it in a vacuum seal bag and seal it.
- Place the steak in the water bath and let it cook for as long as you set the time.
- When the time lapses remove it from the vacuum bag and serve.
- Some people love it seared so take your time to sear the steak now. Place a skillet pan on your heat source, then add a tablespoon of vegetable oil, place the steak on the pan and if you like add your aromatics then repeat the same process on the other side.
- Finally, you can add some cooking wine to make it tastier and continue to light grill as you set your table.
- Serve hot.
For a more detailed discussion about the steak, sous vide check this blog link.
Other recipes to try include:
- The Hainanese chicken
- The chicken teriyaki
- The Chinese Char Siu-barbecued pork
- The sous vide mashed potato with garlic and rosemary
- Crème Brulee
11 BEST SOUS VIDE COOKBOOK
1. The Complete Sous Vide Cookbook
To begin with, Chris is a renowned chef who owned a restaurant back in Toronto Canada. He has an undying passion for international cuisines and all kinds of food. This makes him an expert in the culinary field. He is also an instructor in the industry.
The book brings the high-end restaurants home. The book shows how cooking is easy when you know the right technique to employ. It features 175 hands-on recipes from all over the world for trial and it gives you the international ingredients to use for the same.
Though written by a chef, the book gives you basic Info like the tips to employ when choosing meat or fish. Since cooking is more practical than theoretical it gives you the DIY to practice. It’s even surprising that you can brew your coffee using sous vide cooking.
2. Under Pressure: Cooking Sous Vide
I love Thomas Keller’s work and have always enjoyed his insightful articles. This one is no exception especially because it was one of the ground-breaking books on the sous vide topic. Thomas Keller who is also a chef shows the world why the technique is a game-changer for the cooking industry.
I like the fact that he uses imagery and even lets other chefs guide you in the cooking process. Nonetheless, Keller must have written the book for professional chefs because some of the equipment mentioned to in the book are only found in high-end restaurants.
The book was thirsty to share the recipes so, after the brief introduction, he goes to the recipe. They are recipes you can try if you have all the ingredients and equipment needed. Otherwise, I think it wasn’t geared towards the common person’s use rather a chef.
3. The Science of Good Cooking
The book is proof that without the right technique success in the kitchen remains a dream. The book explains the 50 fundamental principles to employ in the kitchen as a cook. What I like about the book is that it explains these principles in the simplest way possible.
This book contains 400 recipes and was written for America’s test kitchen. They scientifically test their theories and methods of preparing food before writing. This is for those who love precise cooking. Among the tested method is sous vide cooking.
Remember, this book isn’t solely dedicated to the sous vide method of cooking it has various other methods but it can act as a good guide to you as you cook. The book is meant to improve kitchen cooking by mixing easy recipes and instructions on how to cook good food.
4. Sous Vide at Home
Lisa comes up with a book that will relieve you of the stress of cooking. The book features 288 pages of information and guidance to create the perfect meal at home. Lisa is influential in this arena because she is the founder of Nomiku company that invented the immersion circulator.
If you are anything like me who loves reading books with imagery then this is a good book for you. Using a friendly tone, she gives you the hands-on recipes to try and the temperature to use when cooking. Her recipes include stories that make you connect easily with her.
Bottom line you can’t help but understand her love for the method.
5. Modernist Cooking Made Easy
This Jason book focuses on understanding the idea of low-temperature sous vide cooking. For years, it was rated as the best sous vide book and it remains among the list of the best. The book has 284 pages that explain the magic of this cooking technique.
Jason leaves no table unturned he explains how the technique cooks your food and then catches onto details like the salting, smoking, and searing processes that others haven’t mentioned. The chapters are detailed, in fact, you have a chapter on the art of proper sealing then time and temperature.
A beginner will use this book successfully because he even describes the time you should take when cooking each meal.
6. Learn Sous Vide
Are you looking for a book free of fluff and rich with information?
It quickly lets you in on what the sous vide method is and the equipment you need for the perfect cooking. Next, you learn how to cook with the tools mentioned and the viable time as well as temperature for each meal.
It then has a guide to the perfect searing as the author understands the essence of searing to a sous vide meat.
7. The Effortless Sous Vide Cookbook
Carey is a chef who is enthusiastic about sous vide cooking. He has tested the technique with various recipes he comes up with. He has found that it’s easy to make your meal using this technique but the right recipe to follow is tricky.
With his book, he presents your normal day to day easy to cook food as you maintain the high-end restaurant standard. The book features 140 recipes together with basic to do things for a perfect meal. regardless of where your kitchen is, the book will transform it into a star rated level kitchen.
8. Cooking Sous Vide
If you are a complete beginner this book is for you. It gives you basic and easy to understand information on how sous vide works. It further explains to you how to cook each food properly. This author being a chef, food writer and educator gives you 70 unique recipes.
The recipes are easy to understand. It further has a broad concept on topics like searing meats and making infusions. This book will suit you if you are a beginner but if you aren’t, then look for another book.
9. Sous Vide The Cookbook
The book makes using sous-vide cooking easy. It uses the beginner’s level sous vide instruction for you to grasp at whichever level. It then dedicates a chapter on the time and temperature as this matters when cooking sous vide.
The book is brightly colored for easy reading with great food images. This guide gives instruction as to what to do with the recipes from the sous vide Supremes’ culinary team. It then has the how-to topics to encourage you into practicing the cooking.
10. The Complete Sous Vide Supreme Cookbook
This one works alongside sous vide supreme water oven. However, whether you own a water oven, immersion circulator or a combi-oven this book will help you massively. With its 80 recipes that are applicable on the day to day basis, you have a book to guide you through the process.
Like most other books, it has a time and temperature chart to guide you when you are cooking your meats and other dishes.
11. Sous Vide Cookbook
Do you want to be a sous vide master? Buy this audiobook. It has 120 up-to-date recipes for you to practice with. It further includes the recent techniques of sous vide cooking that will transform your kitchen completely.
This book is for you if you have some little experience with the new technique or are just now beginning. It offers you the safety precautions details when using the technique while explaining the 3 types of sous vide ovens and how to use them.
The book is detailed enough to enlighten anyone interested.
All the books are amazing and insightful but on a personal level, I connect better with Sous Vide at Home. Lisa makes it easy to understand with the recipes and step by step guide. I don’t need a chef’s profession to sous vide with this book.