Getting Started with Sous Vide Cooking

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.

How to use your sous vide machine.

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. 

This post includes affiliate links to the products that I used. If you use those links, you help support my blog. Thank you.

    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.

    Supplies
    Supplies listed below may include affiliate links to the products.

    Tutorial: How to Use a Frozen Crockpot Meal in your Sous Vide Machine

    Step 1: Fill your machine to the minimal fill line.
    Step 2: Turn on sous vide machine. Push "Set temp," set the temperature for your particular meat type (there's a handy chart inside the package), and hit start. The machine will take some time to heat up the water.
    Step 3: Turn on your vacuum sealer. Get out a bag and fold the top of the bag over a bit so the area that will be sealed doesn't get any food on it. Take your frozen meal out of it's original container (mine was in a ziplock) and place it in the sealer bag.
    Step 4: Unfold the top of your bag. Insert the open top of the bag into the vacuum sealer, putting the opening in the area labeled "vacuum channel."
    Step 5: Set the machine for Normal and Moist. I selected moist because my frozen meal had some moisture in it from slight defrosting.
    Step 6: Close the top of the machine, pushing down on both sides until you here a click. Your machine will begin to suck out the air from the bag.
    Step 7: When you notice liquid rushing towards the vacuum channel OR when the air is completely out of the bag (whichever comes first), hit the "seal only" button. This will start the sealing process.
    Step 8. Wait for the red light to turn off. When it turns off, your bag should be sealed.
    Step 9: Once your Sous Vide Supreme Demi has beeped, signaling that it is preheated, put your still frozen meal into the rack inside the sous vide machine (alternatively, you could just let it defrost first). Make sure that it is completely covered with water (but don't fill the machine past the max fill line). Let cook. I let my meal go all day because I wasn't sure how long it would take to cook from frozen. The meal cooks through evenly.
    Step 10: Once cooked, remove the bag of food. Cut open. Serve with side dishes.



    I have to say that I've tried chicken in this and it was cooked to absolute perfection. I still need to tweak some recipes for the best results, but that's just a matter of getting the spices correct. The chicken itself was moist, cooked evenly, and yet not falling apart either. I'd recently frozen a bunch of dump crock pot meals- there were lots of duplicates and the ones I made in the crockpot were meh. When I took the same meals and made them in the sous vide, they were amazing. It was a perfection that I never would have been able to replicate on the stove or in the crockpot. 

    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. 

    Before and after with a chicken dump recipe.
    Sous vide chicken before.   Sous vide chicken after.


    Chicken dump recipe in the sous vide.

    Poached eggs (I cooked fully, but you can cook at a lower temp if you want them to be liquidy)

    Poached eggs from the sous vide.


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    Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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    DIY Danielle: Getting Started with Sous Vide Cooking
    Getting Started with Sous Vide Cooking
    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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