Sunday, May 29, 2016

SOUS-VIDE COOKING - It doesn't get any easier than this!


You may or may not have heard of sous-vide cooking. I know I hadn't until I attended a cooking class and the chef was demonstrating this method with an immersion circulator. It definitely had me curious, but not so much that I wanted to run out and buy one. Looked complicated. It is a machine afterall, I knew I'd screw it up. It intimidated me. And the list went on. However, after seeing an immersion circulator demonstrated at another cooking class I thought, "I might actually be able to work that thing," while my husband probably sat there thinking "I like the idea of my wife not overcooking my meat or fish any longer." So guess what I got for Christmas? :) Then my research began. What is it? How do I use it? And what all can it do? After five months of experimenting with my precision cooker, which has been renamed "my baby", the question is "what can it NOT do?" 

Sous vide, french for "under vacuum", is a cooking method that has been used for years. Food is placed in a vacuumed-sealed bag and submersed in a water bath that is temperature-controlled. Typically the food is cooked for longer periods at an accurately-regulated temperature much lower than normally used for cooking, ensuring the food is cooked evenly on the inside without overcooking the outside. This method of cooking can be done simply by using a kettle on the stove. However, with a regular food thermometer, it made the task of regulating the temperature very tedious and left you standing guard, ready to adjust the heat if the temperature started rising or lowering. With the invention of immersion circulators, the painstaking task of keeping the cooking temperature held steady is eliminated!

There are several different types and brands of these immersion circulators on the market. The one that I received as a gift was the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker. A printable temperature guide allows you to forgo the stress of standing over the stove trying to cook your meat or fish at that perfect degree of doneness only to realize you have overcooked it... again! NO MORE OVERCOOKED FOOD! Instead, perfectly cooked, succulent, melt-in-your-mouth bites of food that have completely lead you to believe you are a very high-qualified chef, even if it's just in your own kitchen!

Once you start using the sous-vide method using an immersion circulator, it will be difficult to go back to standing over the stove calculating cooking times all the while knowing you still have several side-dishes to complete as well. Let the precision cooker handle the entree while you concentrate on your five-star side dishes. 

It has been so much fun trying new and different appetizers, entrees, and desserts with my precision cooker.  After seeing a video recently of a chef making one of my favorite desserts, creme brûlée, using the sous-vide method, I'm very eager to accept that next challenge to see if I can create that same delicate dessert. And since my husband recently bought me a kitchen torch, I've already gotten a head start! (note: do not have torch pointed toward a kitchen towel when lighting.) 

Whether you're a professional cook or an amateur, once you see how easy it is to cook with an immersion circulator, you'll want to keep trying new things for your family and friends to enjoy!

Below I have attached photos of just a few of our favorite dishes cooked the sous-vide method with my baby, the immersion circulator.

Sea Scallops - 123 degrees for 30 minutes

Swordfish - 130 degrees for 45 minutes

Poached Eggs - 145 degrees for 2 hours

3 lb. Turkey Breast - 145 degrees for 3 hours

Lamb Shoulder Chops - 132 degrees for 4 hours

2 1/2 lb. Pork Tenderloin - 144 degrees for 4 hours

4 lb. Brisket - 131 degrees for 48 hours

Boneless Pork Ribs - 140 degrees for 5 hours

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