What is sous vide?

Sous vide (pronounced sooz veed) is a cooking technique that uses a controlled water bath to slow cook foods to perfection. Popularized by famous chefs like Thomas Keller, sous vide is commonly used in fine dining restaurants, and is now starting to enter home kitchens. Sous vide is used most often with proteins like beef, pork, chicken, fish and eggs because it simplifies the cooking process and ensures perfect results.


Photo by Parsa Lotfi

How does it work?

Sous vide uses a device called an immersion circulator to heat a water bath to an exact temperature. Food is sealed in an airtight bag or jar and then placed in the bath for a range of time, depending on the food. Once the food is fully cooked, it is usually put in a hot pan for a few seconds to give it a nice sear on the outside.

The beauty behind sous vide is that it not only cooks your food to the perfect temperature, but it also prevents overcooking because the food cannot become hotter than the water bath. This reliability is one of the main reasons professional kitchens employ the technique.

So, what does sous vide have to do with me?

Well, chances are you’ve probably been served sous vide-prepared food in a restaurant. That perfectly tender steak you wish you could replicate was probably cooked sous vide and finished on the grill. Even Chipotle relies on the technique for its delicious carnitas and barbacoa.

While sous vide was once the domain of exclusively fine dining restaurants due to prohibitively expensive immersion circulators, it is now starting to enter the home market with devices under $200. So while it is still a little pricey, especially for dorm rooms, expect sous vide to get cheaper and more common in the coming years.

Keep calm and cook on: