Sous Vide 101: Ditch the crockpot, Sous Vide is the next big thing. It cooks food to perfection and will not overcook your food. Here are some tips, a basic tutorial on how to use the machine, and a demo of our Sous Vide Supreme vacuum sealer.
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I’ve been eyeballing sous vide machines for the past six months- I didn’t know they existed before that. I was really frustrated with my crockpot overcooking my food and inconsistent results. Crockpot cooking made me feel like I was a slave to my kitchen and needed to keep an eye on the food all day to avoid over cooking. Not only that, but my food was often finished way before or way after my husband got home which threw dinner time off. Well NO MORE. My awesome brother sent me the Sous Vide Supreme Demi as a gift, along with the Sous Vide Supreme Vacuum Sealer, as a late birthday and early Christmas gift. What a cool guy huh?!
So what is a sous vide machine? It’s a method of cooking that a lot of restaurants use where food is placed in vacuum sealed bags and cooked in a water bath. The setup allows the food to cook evenly without overcooking the outsides and under cooking the insides. As there is nowhere for the moisture to go in the vacuum sealed bags, the food retains all of its moisture. No dry food. The great part of this machine is that clean up is minimal. You just empty the water out of the machine and dry the machine with a dry towel. If you want more information on how sous vide works, this Wiki article is very helpful.
I should probably state that you should NOT actually say goodbye to your crock pot. They’re still really cool and useful for certain types of recipes- your chili, soups, buffalo chicken dip, etc. Essentially WET stuff. A sous vide is more for items like meats, veggies, eggs (if you want poached), And you can really only cook one thing at a time in the sous vide (just like the crock pot) because different things cook at different temperatures (you could, however, cook two different chicken recipes at the same time). But you will never want to cook MEAT in your crock pot again. I tried a chicken dump recipe in the crock pot and it came out dry and yucky… same meal in the sous vide was AMAZING.
When I got this machine I had absolutely no idea how to use it… or the vacuum sealer for that matter. And I was staring at it blankly with two kids whining at my feet. I’m going to save you some trouble and explain what I’ve learned… it will be basic, but hopefully it will get you started.
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Tutorial: How to Use a Frozen Crockpot Meal in your Sous Vide Machine
Vacuum Sealer Tips
- 1.5 tbsp: The max amount of liquid that can be inside that bag with your food. Meh. This was a huge bummer for me because I wasn’t sure how to make my normal crockpot recipes. If you go over and the fluid gets into your vacuum sealer, you can RUIN your vacuum sealer. Don’t do that. They’re not that cheap to replace.
- Solution: Freeze your liquid (or the whole meal) before you put them into the bag to seal. If you want, you can separate the liquid into ice cube containers and freeze.
- We were thinking that if you have large chicken breasts that you may want to cut them in half so they’re thinner…. this will just allow the spices to get into it all.
- Apparently you can reseal your chip bags with this! I haven’t tried it yet but I’m pretty excited for this feature.
Sous Vide Machine Tips
- Your food needs to be entirely submerged in the water. Fill the water to your minimal fill line, but add water once your food is submerged if it’s not completely covered. You want water to be able to circulate around the meal. That’s what the rack is there for.
- You can cook your meals in one day if you’re cooking the same type of meat- ie. cook 3 chicken meals for the week- then leave them sealed in the bag in the refrigerator (or freezer). My understanding is that you just need to put the sealed bag in hot water to warm it all up when you want to eat it. Just make sure they all fit and can have water circulate around them.
- I have successfully cooked the meals from frozen with no ill effects (no dryness, etc.). That’s something I never was able to do with my crock pot.