We all know that time is precious. So how can you save more time while cooking? Here’s the solution: Sous vide cooking. Cooking your food in sous vide style indeed frees up a lot of your time that you can spend on other leisurely pursuits.
And since you know exactly what goes into the food you eat, you’ll feel a lot better and start to exercise more discretion for your health.
However, meal prepping can sometimes take a lot longer than it has to. This means that we need to batch cook to maximize the time we spend preparing our meals for the coming days or weeks. Here’s how I cook multiple items sous-vide style:
When batch cooking, stick to one type of protein. However, you can pair your protein with vegetables. Softer vegetables have a short cook time, so remove them before the protein is done cooking.
Please continue reading to better understand how to pair your items using sous-vide techniques.
How many steaks can you sous vide at once
Steak is a delicious meal that can be a basic weekday dinner or a special weekend meal for you and your family. And preparing steak sous-vide style is a time-saving and cost-effective way to prep steaks for immediate cooking. This is helpful when you’re cooking multiple steaks at once.
You should always cook 1 steak per gallon of water your sous vide container holds during operation. If your sous vide container can hold 3 gallons, then you can safely cook 3 steaks sous vide in your immersion circulator. This will definitely free up more time for you to prepare the sides and other necessary items for the steak meals you’re serving for a group, or even just for yourself.
However, note that this rule applies only to regular-sized steaks (1 inch thick and under) – using thicker cuts will leave you with undercooked steaks.
Preparing multiple items for sous vide cooking
First, you’ll need to prepare all of your meat and fish in vacuum-packed bags in their marinades and seasonings. Try to fit as many pieces of meat, whether it be a boneless chicken breast, steak, salmon, or any other fish, into one big vacuum bag to maximize your batch cooking sessions.
Take care not to overlap any ‘layers’ of your protein – that is, all your pieces of meat or fish should have both sides visible in the vacuum bag in order for them to cook thoroughly in the water bath.
Advantages of batch cooking
One of the most significant advantages of cooking multiple items in sous vide is you tend to use up all of your ingredients when you batch cook.
This means you won’t end up with half a bag of spring onions or other perishable herbs and veggies that unfortunately ends up in the trash most of the time after they go past their expiry dates.
The only thing you have in excess is your meals – whether frozen or in the fridge, ready for you to take and prepare in less time for you to watch a Youtube video.
If you’re saving money, batch cooking makes it possible for you to purchase all the ingredients you need in bulk. And in most, if not all cases, bulk buying at warehouse stores gives you lower prices than what you would get in a regular supermarket.
Little savings here and there ultimately add up, especially if you’re diligent with your meal prepping and don’t waste any of your ingredients.
What to do after cooking multiple items
After you cook multiple items sous-vide style, you’re going to want to either put them in the fridge or freeze them, depending on when you’re planning on consuming your meals.
But before you do that, the best thing to do after you batch cook is to freeze them.
The reason behind this is simple – if you leave your food at temperatures between 5ºC and 60ºC, you give harmful bacteria a chance to grow in your sous vide prepared food, thus rendering it inedible if such bacteria succeed in developing in your food.
Of course, if you’re eating them right away, you can simply take them out and serve according to your meal plan for the day, but if you’re keeping them for the days or weeks ahead, chilling them immediately to under 5ºC is a good practice.
Your food will last up to 3 or 4 days in the fridge, but it can last for up to a year when frozen.
Considerations when cooking multiple items sous vide style
When cooking multiple items sous-vide style, it’s best always to keep your batch cooking to a particular type of protein and avoid mixing your proteins in the same water bath.
For example, don’t overcrowd your water bath with a sealed bag of steak, a sealed bag of chicken breasts, and another sealed bag of salmon filets.
These items cook at different temperatures, so under or overcooking them can result in a spoiled meal. So to keep things simple, stick to one type of protein in one batch cooking session.
Sous vide cookers are designed with sophisticated technology that enables the inside water bath to cook anything placed in it slowly at the same temperature, resulting in good quality protein with the right balance of texture, consistency, and flavor.
However, some smaller sous vide cookers can only fit one seal bag at a time. In these scenarios, it’s always best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Still, as a general rule, you can fit as many pieces of protein in one seal bag in a single ‘layer’ (no overlapping) to save yourself some time when it comes to preparing your meals.