What is a sous vide? Have you ever used one?
I only saw them being used on Masterchef before getting one last week.
To my excitement a huge parcel arrived on my doorstep, inside there were 6 kitchen appliances made by the German brand “Severin” and distributed by Homespares which carry over 13,000 items in stock.
This was to take part in a challenge called “The Great Oven Ban” where for 1 week I had to ban my gas cooker and my oven and only use these appliances for all my cooking. I had never used these appliances before.
How did I get on?
It has been a busy and interesting week for me. In the next few posts I will be writing about these gadgets, with the recipes I have come up with whilst giving my opinion about them.
I was immediately drawn by the sous vide. I heard a lot about it: I remember going to a restaurant one day and having a really juicy steak. When I asked the waiter how they cooked it so well he spent 20 minutes telling me about a magic appliance called sous vide which cooks meat to perfection.
Now sous-vides are not just for restaurants as they have become a popular gadget for the home cook too.
It always comes with a vacuum bag sealer.
A vacuum bag sealer is very easy to use and it seals the food in seconds.
Forget about the traditional methods of cooking, a sous vide cooks in a different way: the food is sealed in an airtight plastic bag then cooked at low temperature in a water bath for longer than normal cooking times, usually at 55 to 65C or 131 to 149F. Pasteurisation of the food is achieved at a core temperature of 62C.
Heating food evenly ensures that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside whilst retaining moisture and flavour.
The first thing I cooked was steak with asparagus for dinner.
I seasoned the meat and put it in a bag and vacuum packed it, then I did the same for the asparagus so they were both perfectly sealed and there was no air in them.
I filled the sous vide tray with warm water (to shorten the time before the required cooking temperature is reached) and I placed the bag containing the meat in the tray making sure it was completely covered in water.
After putting the top on I programmed the unit by choosing the temperature (56C or 133F), I set the timer for 1 hour and 50 minutes. I added the bag with the asparagus too during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
The result? The steak was cooked evenly, was very tender, moist and tasty. The only thing is “the looks”: you need to sear it quickly on a griddle pan to give it that chargrilled yummy look. The asparagus were beautifully cooked and they tasted very good.
I drizzled some olive oil on the steak and some oil and lemon on the asparagus and served it just as it was.
The day after we had salmon: I seasoned, vacumed packed and cooked my salmon steaks in the same way.
This was particularly good (my favourite!): tender, moist and full of flavour. I served it with olive oil, lemon juice and chopped parsley on a bed of radicchio. This was a very healthy, light and nutritious meal indeed!
So what do I think about a sous-vide?
-The beauty of this cooker is that you can perfectly cook meat and fish and then if you don’t want to consume it on the same day you can store it in the fridge for later or for another day.
-It is peace of mind as you put the food in the sous vide, set the timer and forget about it. You will know that the food will always be cooked in the same way and to perfection.
-If you are serving the food for a dinner party you will need to make it more appealing by quickly searing it in a pan or just to give it another layer of texture.
I was sent a “Severin” Sous-Vide in order to take part on the “Great Oven Ban Challenge”. All opinions are my own.