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Sous Vide Cooking Hits the Mainstream

A decades-old cooking process has finally become common in the culinary world. Sous Vide is a French term that translates to “under vacuum”. The process of cooking food in vacuum-sealed packages at a very tightly controlled low temperature in circulated water is generally known as cooking with the Sous Vide Process. This is a departure from traditional cooking methods that use high heat to cook the food to a desired internal temperature, then quickly remove the food within internal temperature range including carry-over temp.

The modern Sous Vide process was developed in 1970s French kitchens to cook tough cuts of meats, such as short ribs, with minimal shrinkage. This process has since been applied to vegetables, sauces, meats, seafood and game to achieve texture and doneness not found in other cooking techniques. Chances are if you have had a slab of prime rib at the Ponderosa or sliced roast beef or turkey from the deli, you have eaten products prepared with this method.

In recent years, Sous Vide cooking has spread throughout the professional world and is rapidly entering the mainstream. Raised awareness in the culinary media, the availability of value-priced circulation equipment, temperature-controlled work stations and non-commercial vacuum packaging have greatly enhanced the popularity and acceptance of the process. While still water baths and Combi applications are gaining in popularity, water circulators remain the most popular cooking method.

Sous Vide cooking has a number of key advantages:

  • Taste: Juices and flavors are “locked in,” greatly enhancing the taste of the food.
  • Consistency: The consistency of the food is enhanced. Meat in particular becomes very tender and succulent.
  • Advance preparation and storage life: Food portions can be prepared in advance, then vacuum sealed and stored in a refrigerator for comparatively long periods of time. This is ideal for coping with the peaks and troughs in activity and for master kitchens supplying “satellite” kitchens.
  • Space saving: Sous Vide cooking takes up relatively little space, which is ideal for kitchens where space is at a premium.

If you haven’t yet sampled Sous Vide prepared foods then you should definitely give them a try. You’re in for a burst of flavor! Unless it is rutabagas, then I would just go for the chicken……

My next post will explore the actual Sous Vide cooking process. Be sure to come back and check it out!

Enjoy the food!

Michael Williams

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