Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sous Vide

I have used the term sous vide in a few posts usually describing a chuck roast or other fatty, tough cut of meat. If you have no interest in food or cooking techniques you may be asking yourself, "sous who?"

First of all I am a sous vide novice. I don't have a proper food sealer. I may be risking some type of bacterial disease by not following proper time and temperatue, but I have made some tasty beef short ribs, chuck roasts, and eye round roasts.

Sous vide is French for "under vacuum".  You seal a piece of meat in a plastic bag and cook it for 24-72 hours in hot water. The beauty of sous vide cooking is that you get perfect results every time. There is no guess work to oven temps, lids off or on, or temperature of simmering water. Set the time and temp and then walk away.

What sets sous vide above other cooking techniques is not it's simplicity (I feel like i'm performing so act of trickery by getting food so good without laboring over the hot stove) but rather the fact that you can have the best of both worlds. A chuck roast in the crock pot will fall apart and taste great when sauced properly but is by definition, overcooked. A chuck roast cooked for 48 hours at 140 degrees, however, will be simultaneously tender and juicy. The fat will have melted but the muscle fibers will not have dried out because they never went above 140 degrees. This means you can transform a cheap cut of meat to rival the texture and flavor of an expensive steak.

I'm sure to have the science wrong but trust me once you go sous vide you won't go back.

I use the sous vide magic temperature controller. It is accurate to 0.3 degrees. It can be attached to any rice maker or crock pot if you so choose.

This is the Fresh Meals Magic submersion heater with air circulator. This enables me to cook in a vessel as small as a normal cooking pot or as large as a bathtub (although that might send the electric bill through the roof).

Place the circulator in the cooking vessel or in this case my old lunch box.

Seal the grass fed chuck in a zip lock bag.

Submerge in the water and shut the lid.

Now all you need to do is wait!

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