It is about time that I share a little more depth on the subject of sous-vide. In a couple of other posts of mine, I glossed over the fact that I prepared things by the method of sous-vide. Now I am happy to demonstrate what this method is, and why it is so cool.
First perfected in the 70’s by the french, the idea is to build a bath of water, keep it at a certain temperature, and place your food in it. The difference between this and boiling your food, is that the food is kept in a vacuum sealed bag, and the water doesn’t need to get near boiling temperatures. Fast forward 40 years, and we can do this easily in our own kitchen with a very small appliance.
Let’s take a steak for example. You would like the internal temperature of a medium rare steak to be 130F. So, how do we usually achieve this? We place it on a grill or pan, with an external temperature of nearly 500F. This does a lot of good things. It sears the outside, which seals in the juices, and browns the fat on the outside giving it a rich taste, texture and color. Unfortunately, one of the not so great things it does is leave a completely different temperature gradient throughout the entire piece of meat.
The middle might hit 130F, but that means the outside might be close to 200, and then every temperature in between. So we successfully made a well-done, medium, and rare steak all in one.
Now take an ordinary piece of steak. See below. This is not a trick steak.
I season it thoroughly, like you would before tossing on the grill.
I vacuum seal them. In this case, I have done that by placing them in a ziplock bag, and then submerging it in water when sealing.
Now for the magic part. I set my water immersion circulator for my desired temp, which is 130F. Once the water is at the correct temp, I place the steaks in the water.
It takes about an hour for the steak to come up to this temperature. The beauty is that there is quite a bit of fudge factor here. Don’t worry about timing all of your sides perfectly anymore. Now we pull them out…
Now, they are not that pretty, since there was not more intense heat applied directly to the surface, but we can fix that by tossing them on a hot grill for a minute on each side.
Take a look at the inside of one of these steaks after this process. One more advantage to cooking this way, is there is not much loss in volume. There is nearly no where for liquid to escape in this process. So you wind up with a perfectly cooked steak, that is full and juicy, every single time.
Now time to go get more steak and other things to sous-vide!