Monday, March 14, 2011

Sous Vide @ Home - Part 2

Alright so this post is long overdue but I only just got my own vacuum sealer last week so technically, my sous vide set up is only just now completed. A lot has been said about cooking sous vide. When the technique first came out in the 70s, it wasn't long before valid concerns over the stability of plastics in hot water and anaerobic bacteria propagation were raised. But we know a lot more about food safety now and food grade plastics are here to stay. There will be those who will always claim that charcoal stoves and wood fired ovens make the best food, and for specific dishes I will be among the first to agree, but seriously, can you do this without sous vide technology?

how gay is this?

That is a piece of USDA choice chuck eye roll. That's right, CHOICE. Not premium standard American beef and yes, CHUCK. But look at it. Perfectly medium from end to end and you know what? So tender that you can easily slice it with a butter knife. Sous vide cooking value adds. Full beef flavour of a tough cut with the tenderness of filet mignon without the slow cooking effect of drying out the meat. I can't think of ANY other way to get results like this.

So, in my case, sous vide cooking is literally meat in a plastic bag, a computer and a rice cooker but damn, the results are mind blowing.

I have used this set up to cook tender cuts and tough cuts of beef, lamb, chicken, fish, scallops, vegetables and even fruit! The results are consistent every single time. What varies is the finishing and I have learned several tough lessons, experiencing it the hard way. For example, searing something at room temperature, something fresh out of the fridge and something fresh out of sous vide, yields differing results. Common sense right? Well not for me...

pre-packed beef in my rice cooker with a resistance thermometer probe
Before I got my own vacuum sealer, I would get the cuts trimmed and pre-sealed and then do a quick marinate before finishing. I was also limited to cuts of meat ordered from my suppliers Now the possibilities are endless, I can save on marinades because vacuum marinating requires a fraction of the marinade and confits can be made hassle free. Perfectly poached scallops and salmon mi-cuit are easy peasy.
pre-sealed lamb shank and marinated chuck tender
I am completely sold on the sous vide technique. I believe it was Thomas Keller who said that sous vide doesn't take away the need to learn classical cooking techniques, it's just another option in a good cook's repertoire.

No comments: