The technique of quick-chilling foods cooked in a water bath, such as the SousVide Supreme, really helps to leverage the time of the busy restaurant chef or home cook. The cook-chill-reheat technique has been a secret of commercial kitchens and caterers for decades, allowing them to prepare batches of food for large crowds of diners ahead of time. It’ actually quite easy to do, though you do want to be careful, as with all cooking methods, not to allow food to sit for more than an hour or two at temperatures above 40F/4C and below 130F/54C.
Step 1 – Cook multiple pouches for later use.
Fill the SousVide Supreme with vacuum-sealed pouches of foods that will all cook at the same temperature—for instance, if you are planning to cook a batch of Brussels’ sprouts at 182F/83C, throw in a pouch of carrots, a pouch of beets, and a pouch of butternut squash at the same time, since they can all cook at the same temperature nicely. If you are cooking two chicken breasts at 140F/60C, cook four or even six. If you are cooking steaks, medium rare at 134F/56C, drop in a pouch of lamb chops and a pouch of pork chops as well.
Step 2 – Quick Chill the extra pouches
When the pouches have finished cooking, pull them from the water bath and submerge them—fully covered—in an ice water bath that is at least one-half ice. Leave them in the ice water to chill for about an hour.
Step 3 – Store the extra pouches
Once chilled to refrigerator temperature, you can remove the pouches from the ice water, dry them well, label them with the food contained and the date you put them into storage, and either refrigerate the sealed pouches of cooked food for as long as 4 days or freeze the sealed pouches for up to a year. Note: If any air has accumulated in the pouch (which can occur with vegetables) you should repackage the food in a new, vacuum-sealable pouch, removing as much air as possible, before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.
Step 4 – Reheat the food
When ready to use the foods, put the sealed pouches (frozen or refrigerated) into a water bath at desired serving temperature for at least 30 minutes (from thawed) or up to one hour (from frozen.) If reheating multiple foods together in the water bath that were originally cooked at different temperatures, set the SousVide Supreme at the lowest of these various cooking temperatures. (For instance, if reheating steak cooked at 134F/56C with beets cooked at 182F/83C, set the water bath to 134F/56C so that you will not overcook the meat.) Conversely you can set the SousVideSupreme to 180 to reheat the vegetables, let the meat come to room temperature on the countertop, and reheat the meat with just a sear in the skillet, on the grill or grill pan, or with a kitchen torch.