In recent years, the sous vide technique has taken the cooking world by storm, revolutionizing and simplifying culinary methods that were previously only used in professional kitchens. On January 26, International Sous Vide Day is being celebrated in cities across the globe, including Washington, D.C., where leading sous vide manufacturer and distributor of sous vide foods, Cuisine Solutions, calls home.
Sous vide is French for “under-vacuum.” At its most basic level, sous vide involves sealing food, typically a protein with its marinade and spices, in an airtight or vacuum-sealed container (a Ziploc bag or an unsealed glass container that floats works too) and submerging it in a temperature-controlled hot water bath that never reaches a boil. The protein stays underwater for what could be hours or even days, in some cases, preserving its moisture and allowing for flavors to fully develop. Slow and steady wins the race with this method.
The science behind the sous vide method is simple. With the help of the bath’s circulating water held at a regulated low temperature, there is an assurance that the protein being prepared will not overcook and lose nutrients. Unlike grilling, the sous vide method allows for consistency in doneness, ensuring there are no hot or cool spots on the protein. Since the protein never comes into direct contact with a heat source, the final step in the process is a quick sear using a grill, stove or blowtorch, which will caramelize or crisp your the food’s exterior without further cooking the inside.
This method has proven to be a god-send for both restaurants and home chefs aiming to serve a perfectly medium-rare steak or a moist and flavorful pork chop. With sous vide, chefs and home cooks can be guaranteed that money spent on an impressive cut of meat will not go to waste at the hands of an overheated grill or cast iron pan. Cooking sous vide eliminates the need for leaning over a hot grill, monitoring internal temperatures and unnecessary food waste. Just seal your food, attach the device to a pot or container, select temperature settings and let it work its magic.
Before you get started, you need to get your hands on the right device. We’ve found two devices that will do the job perfectly and seamlessly for you:
Anova Precision® Cooker Pro
The Anova Precision® Cooker Pro is revered as one of the most precise and effective sous vide machines. You can use the Anova app on your phone to connect to your device and access a plethora of recipes that you can try out at home. With the ability to heat up and circulate up to 26 gallons of water at any given time, this is the machine for you to tackle anything from a dinner for two to a Thanksgiving feast for 25. $399, anovaculinary.com.
Joule Sous Vide by Breville
The Joule Sous Vide is the smallest sous vide device on the market, but it packs a punch. It works with iPhone and Android allowing for the ultimate convenience in cooking. Weighing just less than a pound and a half, the machine works quickly to heat up the water to your desired temperature, getting the food to your plate as quickly as possible. $199.95, breville.com.
After choosing your device of choice, start tackling basic recipes. The only way to master the sous vide method is by diving right in. Here are five simple and exciting recipes to jumpstart your sous vide journey:
- Sous Vide Steak from Bon Appétit
- Michael Voltaggio’s Crispy Chicken Thighs from Williams Sonoma
- Smoked Mushroom Soup from Sous Vide Magazine
- Honey Glazed Shrimp Skewers with Pineapple
- Honey Peanut Butter Custard Popsicle
From home cooks to Michelin-starred restaurants, sous vide is utilized on a global scale. The methodology can be found in airlines, your neighborhood steakhouse and even school lunch programs. Based in Sterling, Va. Cuisine Solutions is known as the authority on the innovative cooking method servicing over 22,000 restaurants with their sous vide foods (including Starbucks’ beloved sous vide egg bites).
Join Washington and Cuisine Solutions to celebrate International Sous Vide Day at the Conrad’s Estuary restaurant with a brunch composed of sous vide bites. Participating chefs include Kyle Connaughton of three Michelin-star SingleThread, two-time “Top Chef” contestant Carla Hall, Estuary’s Bryan Voltaggio and Unconventional Diner’s David Deshaies.
Jan. 26, 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m., Conrad Washington, DC. Tickets are $125 and can be purchased here.