Sous vide means under vacuum so the first thing you need to do is buy a vacuum sealer. I would look at a mid-range option here, with bags that are readily available and cheap. I have an expensive vacuum sealer which needs special embossed bags. These are more costly per bag than the smooth ones.
There is a way around the problem which works most of the time. If you have a machine that only takes embossed bags you can put your food in a smooth bag. Then cut a strip off an embossed bag, about 2cm thick. Place the strip into the bag, making sure it goes right to the bottom of the food and extends past the sealer part of the machine. Now seal your bag. Once the air is vacuumed out create a second seal above the strip.
I found these food saver rolls in France and they are embossed and work with my machine. The great thing about getting the bags on rolls is that you can determine the size you want. I would recommend double sealing the edge before you cut off the length you need.
The second step is to check the temperature of your water. Set your machine to 50º Celsius. When it has reached the temperature, place a digital thermometer into the water. Mine is 2% out and I adjust this temperature chart accordingly. With a start temperature of 23º Celsius it takes 30 minutes for the water to reach 42º Celsius and 40 minutes to reach 48º Celsius. I also take this time into consideration when using the table.
Sous Vide Temperatures and Times
|What are you cooking?||Temp||Time|
|Chicken Fillets||65º C||1.5 – 4 hours|
|Chicken Thighs & Drumsticks||72º C||1 – 4 hours|
|Crayfish Tails||51º C||30 minutes|
|Crème Brûlée||83º C||1 hour|
|Duck Breasts||57º C||2 – 4 hours|
|Eggs: Scrambled / Creamy||76º C||1 hour|
|Fish||50º C||30 minutes|
|Lamb||55º C||1 – 4 hours|
|Octopus||77º C||5 hours|
|Pork Belly||77º C||6 – 8 hours|
|Pork Chops||60º C||1 – 4 hours|
|Sausages||60º C||45 minutes – 4 hours|
|Scallops||51º C||30 minutes|
|Steak: Rare||53º C||1 -2.5 hours|
|Stewing Beef||60º C||4 – 24 hours|
|Venison Steak||54º C||45 minutes – 2 hours|
I will add to this table as I carry on experimenting.
You never have to worry about the internal temperature of your meat. When cooking a steak, the meat will be warmed through, and the fat will be perfectly rendered. All you need to do is give the meat a quick sear to add some colour.
The hype over eggs:
I have tried the 63º C egg and so far we have not got it perfect. I think if you are only going to use the yolk then this is the way to go. But you end up with semi-cooked egg whites that are of no use. You may as well use an ordinary egg boiler. I also tried making whipped egg yolks, again with no success. I have a book on order that will hopefully give me more information.
There is no quick meal solution!