It’s one of the biggest cooking trends this year, due to its ability to keep food fresher for longer and create restaurant quality meals effortlessly and consistently.
Once the domain of top chefs, Sous-vide (pronounced sue veed) is gaining popularity with passionate, home cooks who can produce hatted restaurant-quality cuisine in a snap using the French food preservation method.
With the availability of household kitchen appliances, such as Miele’s Vacuum Sealing drawers and Steam Combination Ovens, home cooks are being empowered to prepare gourmet dishes such as Shannon Bennett’s recipe for Sous-vide snapper, chargrilled leek 65°C hen egg and mustard mayonnaise.
From industrial food preservation to gourmet must have
Sous-vide is a method of cooking in which food is vacuum-sealed and then placed in a water bath or steam environment at low heat. French for “under-vacuum”, the method was first developed as an industrial food preservation method, before evolving into a way to cook a wide range of foods.
The transition from a storage solution to cooking technique started in the French Michelin Star restaurant, La Maison Troisgros, where it was discovered that cooking foie gras using the method delivered a better texture, quality appearance and no loss of excess fat.
Chefs have since appreciated the multiple benefits of Sous-vide, such as extended food freshness, saving preparation time and improving the quality and taste of the dish.
Preserving food freshness
Vacuum sealing food hinders the growth of bacteria and mould, keeps food fresh and prevents freezer burn.
This is good news for households, given that Australians throw out four million tonnes of food worth around $8 billion each year as a result of food spoilage.
Vacuum sealing appliances, such as the Miele Vacuum Sealing Drawer with three settings, extracts up to 99.9% of the air from the vacuum-sealing bag, providing ideal conditions for keeping food fresh longer.
Miele’s representative says the basic function of the vacuuming drawer is impressively simple.
“You put your food into film bags or containers and place them in the draw. The air gets extracted and the bags are sealed airtight.
“The package is perfect for storage, but with the bags it’s also ideal preparation for tasty Sous-vide cooking.
“You can pre-cook a range of meals, store them in the freezer, and simply place them in a Steam Oven when you’re ready to cook.”
The art of Sous-vide cuisine
The Sous-vide method sees food cooked at low temperatures, generally around 55° to 60°C, in water or steam for much longer than normal cooking times – anywhere between an hour to seven hours.
Dishes are cooked to perfection, with less stress to deliver a sensational gourmet experience.
Some dishes can be cooked over much longer periods, such as the Sous-vide Short Ribs made famous by David Chan of Momofuk, which cooks for 48 hours.