Those words - Sous Vide - seem to strike fear into the hearts of many home chefs
Everyone thinks you need to spend a small fortune on equipment, to be able to copy what the professional chefs do in their well-stocked, well-equipped kitchens
But you don't!
You can cook sous-vide at home with five relatively inexpensive items, that you most likely already have in your kitchen: -
1) Large soup/stew pot, the bigger the better
2) large freezer bag (big enough to hold the amount of food you're cooking)
3) Temperature probe
4) Clips to hold thermometer & bag
5) Clingfilm/Clingwrap/Saran Wrap
You will also need a heat source, but if you're cooking, then I guess you'll already have a stove in your kitchen. A pen and paper could come in handy too.
There are two reasons I say a large soup/stew pot - it needs to be large enough that it will easily hold the amount of food you're cooking, and the greater the volume of water, the more stable the temperature
What temperature should you cook at, and for how long?
There are many sites on the internet already, which will tell you exactly how hot and how long, just search for 'sous vide temperature pork' or something similar, and quite a few will be there in the results
Fill your pot 2/3 - 3/4 full with water, place on your stove and turn up the heat.
Clip your thermometer to the edge of the pot, and monitor the temperature.
When the temperature starts to approach the temp you want to cook at, turn the dial down.
If you follow the instructions at the end of this page, you will already have a chart which shows you what number on your dial to turn down to.
Monitor the pot for the next 15-20 minutes, making sure that the temperature is stable.
While your pot is stabilising, you can prepare whatever you are cooking sous vide.
In this instance, I was cooking a ham joint, which weighed 700g/1.5 pounds.
Place the food, along with any oils or other flavourings in a strong freezer bag, large enough that all of the food can be spread out. You don't want any of it overlapping, as that will increase to cooking time.
Once the water temp is stabilised, you can add the bag to the pot.
Keeping the top of the bag open, slowly lower it into the water.
The water will displace the air in the bag, doing the same as an expensive vacuum machine!
Seal the bag, and clip to the side of the pot, making sure the bag is not resting on the bottom.
Move the thermometer around the pot, and use it as a second clip for the bag.
This puts both clips in the same area, which will allow you to cover most of the pot with some clingfilm/clingwrap/saran wrap. This covering stabilises the temperature, as it stops heat and moisture escaping from the pot.
Be sure to check the temperstureon a regular basis during the long cooking time!
Cook for as long as the charts say. Once cooked, remove and, if wished, sear in a hot pan to add some colour.
There you go, cooking Sous Vide at home, without having to pay out hundreds of $/£/€'s
** Learning what temperature your hob works at**
This method can take a long time, and I did this at times when I could spare an hour or two.
Please bear in mind that it only needs to be done once, when everything is written down, you never need to do this again.
I printed out an excel sheet I designed, and marked the temperatures on it.
Basically, I placed a pot of water on the hob, and turned the dial to the 'min' mark
Then waited for the water to get to a come up to a stable temperature, then monitored it for the next 60 minutes, marking the temp at 10 minute intervals. Over a period of around two weeks I did this for all the numbers on the dial, including the half way point between the numbers. Your cooker/stove may be different, but the process is exactly the same
Now, whenever you cook sous vide at home, you know exactly what number to dial up, for any temperature!