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Feb 16, 2005 05:54 AM

Sous Vide

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Please explain sous vide for me. Technique, Hardware/Equipment and alternatives to the standard etc.? Does it really make the 'stuff' taste better?

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  1. Just yahooing around gets me this. I had never heard of this before. Can you imagine Ducasse, Robuchon, Trotter - all cooking things in plastic bags... sounds interesting - time to get the foodsaver cranking.


    5 Replies
    1. re: applehome

      I've had salmon sous vide, and the texture was like nothing I'd ever had before-- almost oddly moist and buttery, and the flavor remains pretty intense, since there's nowhere for it to escape, in the plastic bag.

      1. re: Jess

        Do you taste the plastic bag?

        1. re: wally

          Not at all. I'm sure they use some sort of special-for-heat food grade bag. I asked the server what sous vide meant at the end of the meal, and was shocked to learn it had been cooked in a plastic bag; I never would have guessed.

      2. re: applehome

        Thanks. I found it this morning and several other articles on charlie trott along with some recipes he did. I also found one that recommends brining before sous vide.

        I will post something when I am done. I am almost done brining my chicnken. There was also a mini-thread somewhere on egullet, which I had to dig to find. The person experiment with Glad Press N Seal which I have. So I will be using the Glad Press NSeal in a freezer bag and boneless chicken breasts. I am using this for chicken salad!

        PS. There is also an article where Rocco Dispirito sous-vides something and when its done he zaps it briefly on the grill for clor. I will use the broiler. He warns that you should keep grill only briefly(I would guess a minute) because its already cooked.

        I will also experiment with searing and then sous-viding with seasonongs for more flavor. Will post results after all experiments

        I googled every different combos of words to find all of this info. Obviously it has not caught on here(in america)yet for home cooks.

        1. re: applehome

          The link is no longer valid, but the page can be found on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine:

        2. Sous vide literally means "under vaccuum." Food is prepared, then vaccuum-packed into food-grade plastic. It is warmed or cooked in a steam oven, aka "four vapeur." That's an appliance that is only starting to be introduced (as steam convection ovens) in the States but have been available in France/Europe for a few years.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kirk

            You can do a low-rent version at home by wrapping your food tightly in plastic wrap, then foil, and then poaching it. Not bad.

          2. My favoured method for this is to use a slow cooker on low and then my food saver to vacuum pack tough cuts of beef like shin, then cook them in the slow cooker for 12-14 hours. Wonderful!

            1. Wikipedia has a write up on Sous Vide with several links.


              1. Sous vide means literal translation - without air...while Jordan Sparks may not be able to breathe with no air...chefs are able to do remarkable things with food...and no air!!!

                basically you place well seasoned/marinated food in a plastic heat resistant bag, vacuum seal it, and essentially poach it at a specific "controlled" temperature for extended periods of time. I hav had short ribs sous vide in a rosemary demiglace that were left in an "immersion circulator" for over 40 hours...the most tender wonderful flavored meat I have ever enjoyed...I highly reccommend it. you can do a simplified version at home...with the right tools. you will need a food saver or similar type vacuum sealer, a large (I reccommend 20 qts.) pot of water, and a candy thermometer. first ingredients in the vacuum bag, obviously this is the time to season...marinate...rub, and vacuum seal. attach thermometer to side of pot, and bring water up to approximately 160 degrees F (also ideal poaching temperature for eggs)and place bag in water...if it is a piece of chicken or fish, it should take about a half hour or will be well worth the wait. if you are using a piece of meat that typically requires being braised (short ribs, ribs etc) i would season & sear them first, and then place in bags & seal...they will need a lot of time and need to keep the water at a constant temp for hours....and would require the services of a 2nd pot of water & candy thermometer (you will need to add water occasionally, and you must add water that is at the same temperature for it to work. for this type of cooking (long term) I would really suggest an immersion circulator...hope this helps...

                1 Reply
                1. re: keegiep

                  Yes - three years ago, when the question was asked, it was a new concept to many of us here. Since then much has been written not only on the what, how, and why but also the need to take some care making sure that specific temps are reached and maintained for certain lengths of time. It's an ideal way to culture anaerobic bacteria (botulism) if you're not careful.