By Chef Ron Spaziani

What’s the craze about Sous Vide cooking?  I’ll be honest…I was a little skeptical about using a Sous Vide cooker because I love classic cooking methods: grilling, broiling, baking, roasting etc. But then I cracked and purchased my first Sous Vide for some creative experimentation and guess what…it works great! For those who don’t know, it’s an alternative method of cooking that promises incredibly succulent meats and other foods without having to worry about overcooking, charring or timing. It may sound too good to be true, but sous vide is a real, high-tech cooking method that’s all about water. Let’s take a look at how it works and what its best used for.

Chefs often prefer the sous vide, the French term for “under vacuum,” method because it removes a lot of the problems with cooking demanding foods over traditional sources of heat.  There will sometimes be consistency problems, usually stemming from heat change. Sous vide, on the other hand, removes most of these difficulties. The machine heats precisely from all sides with a consistent temperature throughout cooking, ensuring a perfectly cooked piece of steak or delicious runny soft boiled egg. This method of cooking also locks in natural juices more effectively, making your meal more enjoyable and nutritious.

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There are some foods that lend themselves well to cooking in a Sous Vide including meat, seafood, eggs and vegetables. Despite the presence of high-tech cooking, however, sous vide is actually a very simple concept. It makes cooking a meal an easy feat, but you need patience! It involves two important steps:

  1. Sealing food and ingredients in a plastic bag or canning jar.
  2. Placing the sealed food in a pot of water heated precisely to the setting on the Sous Vide.

We’re not just boiling food; we are simply cooking it low and slow at an exact temperature, resulting in perfectly cooked food. With every good thing, comes some bad…sous vide has its limitations. For example, you probably can’t cook a 20lbs. turkey and also you must choose recipes that allow you to seal the ingredients in a plastic bag.

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But since I made the jump into Sous Vide cooking, I would highly recommend it. Here are some tips:

·       You must sear your meat after cooking in the Sous Vide. It gives it a great char that just can’t be accomplished without high heat. I recommend using a cast iron.

·       Season less and let the natural flavors of the food shine.

·       Don’t be afraid to lower the temp and increase the time. You can cook things like poultry without worrying about hitting a high temperature to kill bacteria.

·       Be patient and trust the temperature.

Once you are ready to go, try one of my favorite Sous Vide recipes below:

Chef Ron Spaziani: Recipe for Short Ribs

Ingredients for the Basil Balsamic Sous Vide Short Ribs

  • For the sous Vide Short Ribs
  • 3 to 4 pounds of short ribs
  • 2 teaspoons Chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Diced onion
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped carrots
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 Cup of Red wine
  • 1 bay leave
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the Basil Balsamic Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon of Honey
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • For Finishing
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest

Cooking Instructions

1.      At least 36 to 48 hours before serving

2.      Preheat your sous vide water bath to 137°F (57°C).Salt and pepper the ribs chopped garlic diced onion and about a cup of red wine. Place in a sous vide pouch and add the thyme and rosemary. Seal the pouches and place in your water bath. Let it cook for 36 to 48 hours.

For the Basil Balsamic Sauce

Place all the ingredients for the sauce into a blender or food processor and process until thoroughly combined.

For Finishing

Remove the short ribs from the sous vide pouches and pat them dry with a paper towel or dish cloth. Quickly sear the ribs on a hot grill or in a hot pan for about 1 to 2 minutes per side, until just browned. Place the ribs on individual plates, spoon the sauce over them, sprinkle with the remaining basil, and serve.

For more information on Sous Vide, Check out the articles below:

An Intimate Look at Starbucks New Sous Vide Egg Bites

Genius Sous Vide Cooking Hacks

Sous Vide Starter

Sous Vide Water Bath Cooking Goes Mainstream

Bartenders Latest Trick? Sous Vide Cocktails

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