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What is Sous Vide? All You Need to Know About this Cooking Technique

Blog • December 27th 2023

Table of Contents:

What is Sous Vide?

The sous vide technique involves vacuum sealing food in a bag and then submerging the bag in a temperature-controlled water bath. Although it may not sound glamorous, sous vide cooking can result in exceptional results. This is thanks to the precise temperature of the water, which helps with consistent cooking, as well as the vacuum-sealed bag which locks in flavour.

What Does Sous Vide Mean?

Sous vide translates to 'under vacuum' in French. Pronounced sue-veed, it refers to the vacuum sealing stage of this cooking process. Like its name, the cooking method was developed in France by Bruno Goussault and George Pralus in the 1970s.

What are the Advantages of Sous Vide Cooking?

There are many advantages to sous vide cooking which is why it is such a popular method across the culinary world. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider trying it at home:

  • Flavourful - When you sous vide meat, it is being cooked in all its tasty juices. This ensures that your cut of meat stays tender, moist and flavoursome.
  • Healthy - Sous vide cooking is considered to be one of the healthiest methods. More nutrients and vitamins are retained compared to all other cooking techniques. On average, around 20% of the nutrients are lost with traditional cooking methods compared to only 3% with sous vide.
  • Consistent - Since you are able to keep the water bath at a specific temperature, it is easier to produce very consistent results. Unlike when using an oven or stovetop, there are no hot spots or temperature variations with sous vide. As a result you can cook a perfectly even piece of meat from edge to edge. From large lamb joints to individual beef steaks, it delivers a consistent cook.
  • Simple - Once started, this method requires little maintenance. Simply set the timer and you can focus on preparing other elements of your meal without having to constantly monitor the progress of your meat.

How to Sous Vide at Home

There are a few ways to sous vide at home depending on the equipment available to you. Whatever tools you are using though, it is essential to start with a prime cut of meat.

  • Step 1: Preheat your water - there are a few ways to do this. One technique involves an immersion circulator in a container of water. This kitchen tool works by sucking in water, heating it to the specified temperature and then circulating it back out into the container. If you don't have an immersion circulator, you can use a slow cooker filled with water. The limitation of slow cookers is that they don't circulate the water so the temperature control isn't as accurate. You could also purchase a sous vide water oven. These appliances are relatively expensive, however once you try sous vide cooking you might find they are worth the money.
  • Step 2: Season your meat - rub your chosen herbs and spices into your meat.
  • Step 3: Vacuum seal your meat - using a food-grade cooking pouch, vacuum seal to lock all the flavourful goodness into your meat. If you do not have a vacuum seal machine, this is not a problem. Simply, place your meat in the cooking pouch and seal almost completely leaving about an inch open. Lower the meat slowly into a large container of water and the water pressure should force all the air out of the bag.
  • Step 4: Place the sealed bag of meat into the pre-heated water - set a timer and leave the meat to cook perfectly in the temperature controlled water.

A great alternative to sous vide is the confit method. Confit involves submerging and gently cooking meat in oil or fat rather than water.

What is the Best Meat to Sous Vide?

Sous vide cooking yields fantastic results for a wide range of meats. It is an excellent option for cooking our free range chicken breasts as it makes it easy to keep them juicy and succulent. Thick cuts of beef such as chateaubriand or our fillet barrel steak are also superb cooked sous vide. The technique removes any need for guesswork or meat thermometers whilst still making it possible to prepare your meat to your preference.

Sous Vide Better Meat with Farmison

Part of our mission at Farmison is to make restaurant-quality meat more widely available. That means delivering the finest grass-fed beef, free-range pork and more direct to your door. Our collection of recipes and cooking tips help you to turn these prime cuts into truly exceptional dishes. Whether you are trying sous vide cooking for the first time, hoping to elevate your Christmas roast or impress a special someone with a romantic meal, Eat Better Meat with Farmison.