Nowadays, chefs can show off their menu by writing things like “Roasted strip cooked during 24 hours” which tempts the diner to savor that dish. The important thing is to understand the benefit of cooking the products with this method and understand well what it is about.
We go for the basics; this is a system and therefore consists of several phases. First we have the “Sous-Vide”, we talk about sealing a product in a bag in an environment practically without oxygen. This can be used both for conservation and for cooking; now if we talk about Sous-Vide Cooking is to apply heat to this product in the bag (which must be heat-resistant) and in a constant temperature controlled environment. This environment is usually water or water vapor (which is the best heat conductor). Fundamental is that in many of the cases, we look for tender, sweet and juicy textures. This is obtained by applying, in the second phase, the discipline of slow cooking, which is cooked at a controlled temperature and long time: starting from 45 minutes and going through more than 48 hours. The latter is not exclusively associated with the Sous-Vide; we can achieve similar textures with cooking methods such as candied, poached and braised.
Why so much time and controlled temperatures? We must understand that the great majority of Sous-Vide cooking is applied to proteins, especially those of high collagen (Osso buco, Silver, Cheeks …) that to achieve those very tender and sweet textures, a large part of their collagen must be melted, which starts to denature at 50ºC (and others may require a higher temperature). Once exposed a great amount of time, the collagen is denatured and becomes gelatin. In the case of low-collagen proteins (loins, fillets, etc.) times are shorter and we can achieve very even cooking colors.
There are many advantages in applying this system, this sums it up:
- Exact and constant cooking points
- Respect for nutrients
- Significantly reduces moisture losses
- Very productive technique
- Hygienic and safe technique
- Decreases or eliminates oxidative reactions and rancidity
- Achieves textures difficult to manage compared to the traditional systems.
The issue of losing less weight or reducing the reduction in cooking is one of the attractive points of the Sous-Vide Cooking System, this is because the cooking environments are below 100ºC, which is the standard boiling point of water, therefore we lose less liquids, besides that it stays inside the same bag.
The equipment to be used to achieve these firings is significant, we have to start a sealer or vacuum packing, this can be bell or external. After the bags to seal, which must be thermoresistant and hermetic (They are measured in microns). Immediately we must demystify certain social commentaries that associate these plastic bags to contamination and diseases. This is false since the bags are made of polyethylene: they do not dissolve any component at high temperatures and do not have BPA or PVC (these are harmful).
Finally and the most referred is the cooking system, one of the most used is the Immersion Circulator. This device allows to control a container with water in movement and precise temperature to do our cooking. It is one of the most popular and are very simple to use in addition to transportable, are available in various brands and sizes.