Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sous-Vide-By-Me

The title of this blog coincides with the the blog name because this is Sous-Vide-by-me aka Kosher Dosher. I am so excited about Sous-Vide aka the English translation of "Under Vacuum". 

For those of you unfamiliar with Sous-Vide it's a method of cooking food in an airtight plastic bag that sits in a temperature controlled vessel in circulating water. 


Cooking Sous-Vide is straightforward. You seal food in a plastic bag, place bag in temperature controlled water bath, when food reaches your target temperature or time, take it out and give it a quick sear to finish if desired. So to put it another way you are cooking the food at the temp you will be serving it at. Simple right?   

Cooking Sous-Vide produces culinary masterpieces that are virtually unattainable to produce by traditional cooking methods.

The picture in the upper left (Tri-Tip) side of the blog is one of the first things I cooked and allows me to point out some advantages and limitations of the Sous-Vide method of cooking.

Pros:

  • No Carry over cooking
  • Uniformly cooked food always Edge to Edge
  • Holding food at specified temp without over cooking. 
  • Cook at lower temps and pasteurize food simultaneously
  • A recipe can be duplicated 100% of the time. 
  • Cooking large amounts of food in advance and heating up days later using Sous-Vide with no loss of quality. 
  • No more Dry edges or rare centers
Cons:

So what do you cook in a Sous-Vide? I cook lots of meat. Tender cuts of steak (I.E Rib-eye, New York or Fillet etc). Let's contrast Sous-Vide first with traditional methods. Here is what most people do. Whether it's a grill or a pan it's cooked the same way. You place steak on a very hot surface, the moisture on the surface evaporates almost instantaneously which means the surface is at 212 degrees. Don't forget steak is considered well done at 160 degrees and all the layers of the steak are increasing in temperature and drying out. I like my steak at an internal temperature of 128-129 degrees but but by the time the center of the steak reaches that temperature the outer layers are way overdone. If I am lucky maybe 25% of the inner layers are at 129 degree. The rest of the layers are over cooked.

Now for the Sous-Vide method of cooking that has revolutionized the world. We cook the steak in a water bath of 129 degrees. The steak will never go beyond 129 degrees. All we do after it is done cooking is brown the outside which take only a minute or two (see my T-Bone). Creating the maillard reaction (browning) is easy and only requires intense heat. You can use a hot skillet, a grill or a butane torch. 

How about Tough meats like, Short-Ribs, Flat Iron steaks, Pot-roasts etc? Sous-Vide excels in this area too. We can cook meats at temperatures that are low enough to break down (dissolves) all the connective tissues. With this method of cooking you can prepare sublime meat. Cooking tough cuts Sous-Vide does not dry it out like conventional braising. 

To get started what do you need? You need some type of vacuum sealer. There are several to chose from. Some options might be a Chamber Vacuum Sealer, Vacuum sealer such as a Food Saver, or a pistol Vac sealer like Waring.

What Sous-Vide machine would I recommend? I have been blessed with two of them that I just love. 

 Sous Vide by Polyscience
Chef series by Poly-science is is a top of the line unit and sits in many restaurants. I love this unit. It is accurate to 1/10 of 1 degree (30 Liter capacity). I use the polycarbonate containers that polyscience carries on there website.  




 Anova Sous-Vide


I did a lot of research on this unit before choosing. There were three to chose from and I chose this Sous-Vide by Anova (20 Liter capacity max)I connect it to different containers and stock pots. 







What else do you need? I would suggest reading and reading before you jump in. 

The Poly-Science App for the I-phone and I-Pad makes things very easy. Plug in some numbers and it gives you temps and times. Very user friendly. 

A practical guide to Sou-Vide is a great place to start too. Douglas Baldwin is an expert in the field. Click the link above to find out more.