Sous-vide pronounced “sue-veed” means under vaccum.
Of late, this is a cooking technique which broke all traditional mindset of how to obtain tender food. Culinary history has always been aware of the impact of sealing food in a bag to resist oxidation and undergo preservation; however the concept of cooking in the same bag while tenderizing the food and keeping all juices intact was completely new.
A short story of the earliest account of Sous Vide… With the idea in mind that food would benefit by less heat while cooking, Count Rumford came up with an experiment to slow cook mutton under pressure. After waiting 3 hours he became frustrated with the result of his raw mutton and chucked it back in the water for the maids to clean. They had the idea that it wasn’t there to throw,so left it as it is. The next day the maids and Count Rumford come to the kitchen to find a perfectly cooked piece of mutton that was soft, moist and full of flavour
—— Johns sous vide presentation.
A traditional French preparation method, en papillote which involves cooking in a parchment paper to avoid disintegration of tender food and retention of flavours is a form of sous-vide. Many earlier cultures cooked tough meats in clay pots, applied low temperature cooking in sealed vessels and roasted whole pigs slowly underground. In 1960, with the discovery of stable, high temperature resistant food grade plastic, the American and French engineers started using sous-vide.
Why is it so relevant today?
With sustainability being the most important need of the hour like never before, there is an urgent scramble for ways to avoid wastage and utilize the maximum available resources with minimum waste. Success of a chef largely depends on his/her ability to produce viable preparations utilizing the minimum available produce. With sous-vide the shrinkage levels and food wastage is reduced to a large extent. With the availability and application of tough cuts in question, sous-vide has a huge solution. The classical technique of slow-cooking is taken to a whole new level and amazingly tender meats are rendered by the process with an improved flavour and no loss in volume and texture. Thus, the products evolved is cost efficient, superior quality and most importantly succulent….
Sous-vide cooking is the single greatest advancement in cooking technology in decades”. Heston Blumenthal.