Sous vide cooking isn’t just for professional chefs anymore
Your first instinct is probably not to seal everything in a plastic bag and drop it in some water. But if you love precision, consistency and, yes, even perfection in cooking, it’s time to try sous vide.
“It’s quite a game-changer in the kitchen,” says Francis Turck, Senior Executive Chef at The Cliffs.
Sealing raw ingredients in an airtight bag with seasonings or marinade is just the first step of sous vide, which translates to “under vacuum.” The vacuum-sealed food is immersed in temperature-controlled water, gradually cooking until it reaches the desired temperature. Because the water never gets hotter than the selected degree, ingredients are never overcooked.
“With sous vide, you get the same results every single time,” explains Bill Klein, Executive Chef at The Cliffs at Walnut Cove. Some proteins, like delicate seafood, emerge from the immersion circulator ready to plate, but others must be finished with a quick sear to achieve delicious browning and caramelization.
“Sous vide cooking delivers such an incredible product,” says Turck. He and Klein both prize the technique for its precision and consistency, making restaurant-scale meal service a dream, but sous vide cooking is also perfect for home cooks who like to prep ahead, host parties, or experiment in the kitchen. “In some ways, sous vide is like a modernist Crockpot,” Turck laughs. “You set it and forget it … only it’s way more precise.”
If consistency is one appeal of sous vide cooking, creativity is the other. “The possibilities are endless,” says Klein. The process of vacuum-sealing literally infuses the marinade into the ingredients, intensifying flavor and tenderness. For Turck and Klein, the inspiration doesn’t stop with proteins. They like to experiment with vegetables, eggs (just ask Turck about the difference a one-degree can make), even sous vide desserts, such as crème brûlée and pots de crème.
The chefs demonstrated these techniques and more in a recent sous vide cooking class for a few members at The Cliffs. “There are so many amazing applications for sous vide cooking,” Turck says. “I hope every home cook gets to try their hand at it.”
MAPLE & DIJON SOUS VIDE PORK CHOPS WITH PARSNIP-APPLE PUREE
YIELD 4 SERVINGS
INGREDIENTS FOR PORK:
4 Boneless Pork Loin Chops (1-inch thick/6-8 oz each)
1.5 Tbsp Kosher Salt
2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
4 oz Pure Maple Syrup
4 oz Dijon Mustard
2 sprigs Fresh Rosemary (stems removed)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil (reserved for searing)
- In a vessel with water, preheat your sous vide precision cooker (immersion circulator) to 138 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Season the pork chops with salt and pepper and place in a vacuum seal bag. Add the maple, dijon and rosemary into the bag and vacuum seal the bag.
- Place the sealed bag into the heated water bath and cook for 60 minutes.
- Remove the chops from the bag and reserve the marinated liquid.
- Heat a cast iron sauté pan until hot and add the olive oil. Add the pork chops and sear for 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown.
- Add the reserved marinade liquid and bring to a quick boil then remove from the heat and serve.
INGREDIENTS FOR PARSNIP-APPLE PUREE:
1 Lb Parsnips (peeled and sliced into ½-inch pieces)
1 Cup Heavy Cream
1 Granny Smith Apple (peeled, cored, and sliced)
3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2 tsp Kosher Salt (plus more to taste)
1 tsp Ground White Pepper (plus more to taste)
- In a vessel with water, preheat your sous vide precision cooker (immersion circulator) to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine all the ingredients in a vacuum seal bag and seal the bag.
- Place the sealed bag into the heated water bath and cook for 90 minutes.
- Remove the ingredients from the bag and place into a blender and puree until smooth.
This story was featured in Cliffs Living magazine. To read more stories like this one and learn more about The Cliffs, subscribe here.