Sunday, February 21, 2016

Sous-Vide Salt & Sirloin Roast Experiment

Albeit another experiment? I dare say why? This is; at least to me a lot of fun. This experiment serves two purposes. The experiment will contrast a Dry-Brine Sous-Vide Roast with a Naked Sous-Vide Roast. Naked meaning the roast goes in the bag with no salt or seasoning. The Dry-Brine version will be Dry-Brine on a rack with air circulating around the roast for 5 days (refrigerated of course) which gives the salt ample time to reach the center. The second purpose is contrast a roast and a steak when it comes to Sous-Vide and Dry-Brining. 

My first experiment involved Sous-Vide VS Reverse Sear and my second experiment was all about Steak and what role did Salt played in the cooking process... seen here Sous-Vide Steak and Salt Experiment. You must be wondering why I would do another experiment with salt and Sous-Vide when I just did one with steak? This one is different because I am using large pieces of meat and the cooking process is longer. And I was curious of course.  Both Sirloins will be Sous-Vide at 131 degrees for 9 hours and Ice-Shocked. 


"Salt penetrates, so the amount we apply depends on the weight of the meat, All the rest are huge molecules that rarely go beyond 1/8" deep. Spices and herbs are a surface treatment just like sauces so the amount apply depends on the per square inches of surface."

"You can add the salt at the same time as the spices. No harm, no foul. It will still penetrate, maybe not as deep, but will travel when it gets wet and warm. But if you can get it on in advance, you give it a head start." 

"Skip the plastic wrap"
After salting, the best arrangement is on a wire rack over a pan, no wrap. There is nothing about plastic wrap that forces salt or rub molecules into the meat. It is not some sort of vacuum or pressure system. Plastic wrap just gets stuck to the rub and pulls it off when we remove the plastic. Liquid also accumulates in the plastic and washes away some of the spices." 

Both Sirloins will be Sous-Vide at 131 degrees for 9 hours and Ice-Shocked. 


First-  Meat coated with 1% (based on weight of meat) of salt and allowed to Dry-Brine for 5 days. I plan on seasoning the meat after the Sous-Vide process and searing as usual. 
After the thermal bath the roast will be Ice-Shocked. Of course I will record all the weights. Note- Each sirloin will be coated with 80 grams of rub (no salt) which mostly burns off or drops off.)

Weight Before Trim - 3819 g

Weight After Trim - 3389 g
Weight With Salt (1%) - 3423 g
Weight After 5 days - 3194 g (- 6.7%)
Weight After SV - 3112 g (- 2.56%) 
Weight After Sear - 3028 g (-2.69%)
Total Moisture Loss -10.65%

Review- Outstanding. Perfect amount of Salt (1%) which penetrated all the way to the center. The meat was tender and did not exhibit any texture consistent with cured meats. 

Second- This sirloin roast is going to be naked meaning it's going in the bag with no salt or seasoning. I will replicate the cooking process listed above. After the thermal bath the roast will be Ice-Shocked. Before the sear the roast will receive 1% salt coating and a 80 grams rub.  

Weight Before Trim - 3960 g

Weight After Trim - 3529 g 
Weight After SV -  3167 g (-10.26%)
Weight After Sear - 3059 g  (-3.4%)
Total Moisture Loss -13.32%

Review- With a 2.67 % difference in moisture loss there was not much of  a difference that I could discern. Still amazingly good. I am a fan of the dry brine technique more specifically for the taste than I am for the retention of moisture. 


Sunday, February 14, 2016

Sous-Vide Fondant Potatoes

Fondant potatoes on the bomb. And NO I am not talking about the icing or the gum version either. I have eaten and sampled just about every type of potato concoction out there and this is up there with the best. Fondant potatoes are easy to prepare and they're eloquent to serve. I have always made them the traditional way but found the Sous-Vide version is something I can do in advance and it frees up my oven too. This is a Win Win. 

Start out with a standard uniform shaped elongated Russet Potato.
Cut the ends off of the potatoes and stand them up on end, peel using a knife or peeler and make each potato a uniformed cylinder. Slice into one inch disks. I would suggest they be at least three quarters of an thick and no more than one and one quarter inch thick. Traditional Fondant potatoes are at least two inches thick and sometimes they're bigger. Using a knife instead of a peeler will yield in my opinion a fancier shaped tot. Place potatoes in vacuum bag and Sous-Vide for 65 minutes at 186 degrees (I like adding a little salt to the tots). After the thermal bath cool slightly and proceed to the next step or Ice-shock and refrigerate until ready to use. This is why I love doing Fondant Potatoes Sous-Vide because you can do them way in advance. Note: depending on how big or thick these babies you might need to SV anywhere from 65 min-85 min. In the end if a knife cannot pierce easily through the center toss in oven for about 10 minutes. 

Place heavy skillet on burner and heat over Med-high heat. Toss in lots of butter some Thyme (including the twigs), salt and pepper saute until golden brown on both sides. Use some tongs and paint the tots with thyme. Yes you read this correctly....paint the tots with the thyme.  After they are are golden brown place on a plate and your done. Note: if you like garlic you could add some to the butter and remove after a few minutes. Basically you're infusing the oil with a bit of garlic. Toss out garlic before it get dark. 
What separates this from the traditional Fondant tots is one step. Traditional Fondant potatoes are fried to a golden brown just like above but are finished in the oven. Sous-Vide potatoes are Sous-Vide first then fried.  Try the traditional ones by first frying them until a golden brown (like above) then adding a 1/2 cup of chicken stock to the pan and tossing it in a 425 degree oven for 30 minutes. 

  1. Place potato cylinders with best-looking ends into the hot oil, lower heat to medium-high, and pan-fry potatoes until well-browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper.
  2. Flip the potatoes onto the opposite ends. As they cook, use a paper towel held with tongs to carefully blot out the oil from the skillet. Add butter and thyme sprigs to skillet.
  3. Pick up a thyme sprig with tongs and use it to paint butter over the top of the potatoes. Cook until butter foams and foam turns from white to a pale tan color. Season with more salt and pepper. Pour chicken stock into skillet.
  4. Transfer skillet to preheated oven and cook until potatoes are tender and creamy inside, about 30 minutes. If potatoes aren't tender, add 1/4 cup more stock and let cook 10 more minutes.
  5. Place potatoes on a serving platter and spoon thyme-scented butter remaining in skillet over potatoes. Garnish with thyme sprigs. Let cool about 5 minutes before serving.