There has been a culinary rebirth recently as once again Sous Vide has become the latest gastronomic craze, and guarantees perfect results, but the art of Sous Vide cooking may seem to be somewhat of an alarming concept for the home cook and even some professional chefs completely turn their back on this well established but alien technique and I used to share the same concerns until I actually embraced the art and now I look back and wish I had made the move much sooner.
Pretty much everyone who eats out and loves fine dining will almost certainly have eaten food which has been prepared Sous Vide and if you have ever splashed out on a tasting menu I can pretty much guarantee you would have eaten at least one course where a water bath has been used to perfect a dish. About 18 months ago I acquired a Sous Vide water bath, a bit of kit that promises “perfectly cooked meals at the push of a button”. Until recently, cooking sous vide was the preserve of the restaurant, a buzzword for food geeks cooing over pinkish beef and a nifty means of guaranteeing a restaurant’s consistency. Not any more. Sales of home Sous Vide gadgets are on the rise and this elegant, simple-to-use piece of equipment will help you to achieve restaurant-quality dishes in your own kitchen. They are simple to use and they do look rather swish.
So what is Sous Vide?
Sous Vide (pronounced soo-veed) means “under vacuum” in French. It was originally used in the early 1970s to minimise product loss when cooking “foie gras”. The Sous Vide cooking technique involves cooking food in vacuum-sealed pouches, submerged in a water bath held at a precisely controlled temperature. Heating foods to the right temperature, for the right length of time is the key. Generally temperature depends on the kind of food and would vary for meat, fish and vegetables, but also depends on personal taste. For example whether you prefer it cooked rare or medium.
When cooking, the heat induces chemical reactions with different effects at different temperatures. For example, the different proteins in the albumen of eggs coagulate at specific temperatures. Just a few degrees difference in cooking temperature will affect just how much the egg white solidifies. Temperature affects meat in the same way. Cuts with high collagen content, such as a pork belly, should be cooked for longer and at higher temperatures. This will break down the tough connective tissue. Meat with little connective tissue, like fillet steak, would get tough if cooked at those temperatures. Just a few degrees can make a difference in an expensive cut of meat. Whatever you cook, one things for sure.. The end result is perfectly cooked food.
What equipment will I need?
In my opinion if you are looking to buy your first Sous Vide water bath, then I would suggest you visit SousVideTools.com They are currently offering a fantastic promotional deal which includes the SousVide Supreme™ Demi Water Oven, the SousVideTools Sous Vide Pro Vacuum Sealer, 20cm x 6m Vacuum Sealer Rolls, Sous Vide – The Art of Precision Cooking Cook Book, and a Temperature and Cooking Time Reference Guide by Food Type. This is an amazing offer, everything you need to cook your first Sous Vide meal and all for under £300. An amazing Christmas gift idea for the home cook or aspiring chef in your life. Full details can be found here.
Book Review – Sous Vide – The Art of Precision Cooking.
“A glimpse into the world of sous vide cooking showcasing everything from curing and smoking techniques to fish, meat, vegetables, fruit and butter recipe ideas.”
I purchased my copy of this wonderful cookery book from SousVideTools.com on the release day and I have to admit, in my opinion, it is the best example of a comprehensive recipe book aimed for the professional and home cook alike. Whilst there has always been a variety of information online for chefs and home cooks looking to cook Sous Vide, most publications tend to be quite “Americanised” for the home cook or very technical for the professional chef. There was also a gap in the market for a book at a reasonable price point. The Art of Precision Cooking has taken care of these issues, and taken care of them very well.
As I have mentioned one of the joys of Sous Vide cooking is its simplicity to create the perfect results every time and with a little guidance you can create your own perfect dishes both at home and in the professional kitchen. The idea behind the book, Sous Vide – The Art of Precision Cooking is to take readily available cuts and types of meat and suggest the preferred cooking times, this Sous Vide element them becomes the star of the dish and chefs and home cooks alike can add their own creativity to make the dish work for them, whether this be adding a butter, using a marinade or cure, adding herbs or spices the possibilities are endless and the book provides various recipe suggestions along with each dish to guide the less adventurous cook until they find their feet. Adding the regeneration times to each dish hopefully dispels the myth of Sous Vide cooking taking longer as although the initial cook can take a while it does look after itself leaving you free to do other things. I find the most advantageous benefit of Sous Vide cooking to be the fact that it is impossible to over cook an ingredient as once it has reached the desired internal temperature, it doesn’t matter how long you leave it in the water bath.
Following research SousVideTools.com found that many aspiring chefs wanting to try Sous Vide in their own establishments were perhaps a little wary of how to apply the technique to their menu and clientele, they wanted to move away from Sous Vide’s scientific roots and let chefs see exactly how it can create beautiful dishes whilst saving on waste, core ingredient cost and as there is no shrinkage, the product you put in is the product that comes back out.
I believe that this book provides concise and comprehensive content suitable for the professional and home cook and in a format that is suitable for all skill levels. I hope it will help bring the same joy of Sous Vide cooking to you as a home cook or professional chef as it has to me. If you would like to order your own copy of Sous Vide – The Art of Precision Cooking you can visit the order page directly here.
I am not alone in my appreciation of this fantastic book. Check out the Amazon reviews for yourself..
“At last…! A UK Sous Vide Book that is tailored for the UK Market.
A superb balance of recipes and helpful chef tips to get you well on your way. I have been into Sous Vide for about 2 years and absolutely love it”.
“Not a glossy book to protect from spills and splashes but a creative design with good pictures, good writing and one of the best I have got my hands on. Its a step down from molecular gastronomy and instead a great book to help with putting great restaurant meals on your own kitchen table”.
Stage 1 Ingredients,
6 chicken thighs
6 chicken drumsticks
Stage 2 Ingredients,
200ml of Coconut Milk
100ml of Yoghurt
30g of chopped Coriander
60ml of Masala Marinade (see page 37 of the book)
Dry Cure (see page 24 of the book)
110g of Sea Salt
85g of Sugar
Zest of 2 Lemons
Zest of 2 Oranges
2 Bay Leaves
8g of Crushed Juniper Berries
4g of Black Pepper
5g of Dill or Thyme (optional)
Blend all the ingredients to a dry powder. If vac-sealed the cure will keep for three months.
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 lemongrass sticks, sliced
25g of sliced ginger
1 red chilli, sliced
5g of coriander seeds, roasted
5g of cumin seeds, roasted
5g of peppercorns, roasted
5g of fennel seeds, roasted
5g of curry powder, roasted
Zest of 1/2 orange
Zest of 2 limes
Zest of 1 lemon
500ml of tomato passata
Gently fry the onions, garlic, lemongrass, ginger and chilli until softened.
Add the roasted spices and zests.
Add the passata and cook for 20 minutes until soft.
Blend in a food processor to make the marinade.
The Marinade can be stored in the fridge for one month.
Firstly sprinkle the thighs and drumsticks with the dry cure and marinade in the fridge for 2 hours.
After 2 hours rinse under cold running water and pat dry with kitchen towel.
Pre-heat your water bath to 68C.
Mix the coconut milk and yoghurt together. Then in a hot pan seal the chicken thighs and drumsticks.
Put the chicken into a pouch, add the masala marinade, chopped coriander and vac-seal.
Now put the pouch into your water bath for 4 hours 30 minutes.
Keep checking the water bath to make sure the water is covering the pouch.
When the time is up the coconut chicken is ready to serve.
You can place the pouch in ice water and leave in the fridge for up to three days.
To regenerate from cold place the pouch in your water bath for 45 minutes at 75C, or place in a hot oven.
Use roasted mushrooms, red wine and chicken stock to create a nice red wine chicken as an alternative.
Remember, you can get your copy of Sous Vide – The Art of Precision Cooking here. if you are venturing into the wonderful world of Sous Vide, or want to buy a really special present for the aspiring chef in your life, then act fast and take advantage of the current promotional offer here.
The possibilities are endless!
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