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On-air guest for Cook’s Essentials® Meredith Laurence boasts an extensive culinary resume—including a stint as a chef in France. Who better to help us understand this new-but-old method of French cooking?
InsideQ: How does sous vide cooking work?
Meredith: Sous vide literally means “under vacuum”, but that doesn’t really tell you much. The way it works is you put food in a bag and remove as much of the air as possible so the bag sinks when you put it in water. The sous vide machine circulates the water and keeps it at a precise temperature. When you can set the temperature, you know your food is never going to get hotter than that temperature.
InsideQ: What are the benefits of this type of cooking?
Meredith: The food cooks in its own juices in the bag and becomes very tender over a period of time. You can cook a stew in a bag or a single steak. Or, you can cook ten steaks at the same time. The sous vide method gives you great precision which results in fantastic taste; and super-tender meats, fish, and vegetables. And it’s incredibly easy to do.
InsideQ: Why do you love sous vide cooking?
Meredith: It’s carefree! Once you prepare the ingredients, seal them in a bag, and set the temperature of the sous vide device, you can rest assured that your food is going to be cooked properly. The other reason I love sous vide cooking is that the results are spectacular. Steaks come out perfectly cooked; chicken is moist and tender; fish has a butter-like texture; and burgers are juicy.
“The sous vide method gives you great precision which results in fantastic taste.”
InsideQ: What do you think of the new Cook’s Essentials® Sous Vide Precision Cooker with Sealer & Bags (K46624)?
Meredith: It’s so easy to use! This immersion cooker only has two buttons that you have to set—temperature and time. It has a small diameter so it doesn’t take up too much room in the pot or container you’re using, and it’s super quiet.
InsideQ: Any tips?
Meredith: The trickiest part of sous vide cooking is to get all the air possible out of the bag so it will sink in the water and not float. The Cook’s Essentials Sous Vide Precision Cooker provides you with bags and a hand pump to remove the air, but there are a couple of other ways you can do this with a regular freezer bag. One is to carefully submerge the food in the bag into the water while the bag is open. The water will displace the air and then you can seal the bag. The other way is to lay the food down on a counter or let the food hang over the end of a counter and then force out all the air and seal the bag.
InsideQ: Favorite sous vide recipe?
Meredith: I love cooking steaks—they amaze me every time—but I’ve also made a chicken tikka masala that I love. Once it’s cooked in the bag, I cool it in an ice bath and then freeze it. I make my own freezer dinners, that way I have something delicious for any day of the week.
InsideQ: Is sous vide a trend or here to stay?
Meredith: Sous vide cooking is here to stay. Chefs have been sous vide cooking for decades, but it’s only just now becoming something that home cooks are having fun with. I think the movement is just starting, and once people start to experience the results they will cook this way more and more. Now I have to go take my pulled pork shoulder out of my sous vide cooker and shred it!
InsideQ: Thanks, Meredith! Enjoy your pulled pork!