Sous Vide has been around since the 1970’s, but in recent years it’s gained a big following among professional chefs and home foodies alike. The basics are simple: food is seasoned, vacuum-packed and placed in a water bath that is held at the food’s target temperature. The food can be held in the water bath indefinitely, as it will not overcook. The food is then fished out, unpacked, and then seared/broiled/grilled to brown it. Food prepared this way is usually very flavorful and moist, while having a perfectly cooked exterior as well. I’m told it’s the foolproof way to a medium-rare steak.
I don’t own the $400 Sous Vide Supreme (yet,) but I do own an Igloo cooler, and large pots in which I can boil water. I also own a thermometer. So stealing an idea I got from http://www.dadcooksdinner.com/ I filled the cooler with water (occasionally removing some to heat further to maintain the temperature,) sealed my seasoned duck up in bags and let my duck take a bath for a couple of hours. After the bath, the duck went out to the grill to crisp up the skin.
The duck was delicious! Well seasoned with nicely crisped skin. Best I’ve ever cooked? Not quite. I’ve done duck on the rotisserie before that has come out even better, but this duck was still frozen after 2 days in the fridge. I wouldn’t have been able to get it on the rotisserie in time for lunch today. The heated water bath not only cooked the duck, but sped up the remainder of the thawing process.
So, what did I learn? Sous Vide can be done without special equipment. If done carefully, it does produce fantastic results. That having been said, I don’t think I’ll be cooking this way all the time. For special meals where I really want to make sure everything comes out perfectly, Pseudo Vide is a viable, affordable option. (Until such time as I acquire a true SV setup.) For other times, I still do pretty well with simpler techniques.
…Still, when the results are this tasty, I don’t mind experimenting!