Recently I cooked some generously buttered noodles, sprinkled with just a quarter cup of parsley for color and freshness, and it was the perfect blank canvas for practically any stew or braise.
Now we’re talking. Sous vide chicken really sells it for me. Its juicy and delicious with just a light seared touch.
I’ve now used my Anova for pasteurized raw eggs and soft boiled eggs, and that’s about it (don’t get me wrong, I love the eggs). I should probably try some meat at some point, but I’m not a big “big slab of meat” eater. I can execute pan-seared salmon pretty well, but maybe I’ll try that at some point.
I made flank steak fajitas, using a pineapple-citrus marinade. After some previous attempts, decided to use blended fresh pineapple rather than store bought (i.e. pasteurized) pineapple juice.
Let me tell you, bromelain is no joke. I marinated for about 3 hours, and the meat already started breaking down. It was getting mushy, and by the time it got in my cast iron, it was beginning to fall apart in shred along the meat grain. Really, any longer at all, and it would have been edging into inedible territory.
I could do a 1 hour marinade with the fresh pineapple next time, but I’m not convinced that I need it at all, since the thinly sliced flank steak is already a fine texture even without the tenderizing. I may just open a can of Dole in the future.
How do you do them? I’ve found best results using the method described right at the end of the Serious Eats treatise, because I like to have well set whites.
I’ve just been doing a full 145/45 minutes, because I’m okay with runny whites on soft-eggs. I’ve thought about trying some other things, but if I’m going to pre-boil the eggs in a separate pot, I feel like that kind of defeats the set-and-forget appeal of the sous vide eggs.
Chicken works really well via sous vide, and isn’t as heavy as a big slab of beef. I make chicken breasts weekly and have dabbled with other cuts as well. A favorite is something akin to the following:
2 boneless and skinless chicken breasts seasoned on both sides well with salt and pepper and sometimes a light dusting of an additional seasoning. I place both of those in a bag, and sometimes add in a couple of slices of lemon and a sprig of rosemary. I seal that bag and drop it in at about 155F for about an hour or just a little over that. Once done I’ll usually drain the juices out, remove the lemon and rosemary and sear them just a bit on a medium-high skillet (just short of all smoke but hot enough that a sear doesn’t take very long on each side.) This makes some really juicy and flavorful chicken from a cut you wouldn’t normally expect that from (a boneless/skinless chicken breast.)
Having the juices allows me the option of making a quick pan sauce, though I don’t always do that.
In the cases where I cook chicken that is skin on, I also sometimes pour the juices off into a small container and place in the fridge overnight, then scrape the fat cap off of that and save it in a small container in the freezer. Rendered chicken fat (schmaltz) is extremely flavorful and I love adding it to things for a pop of flavor during cooking.
Huh, that’s a lot hotter than I do it. I like 60C (ie 140F). If you haven’t, I’d suggest trying it, it’s even juicier.
I prefer a lower temp, the missus does not. For some reason, if it’s too, “bendy,” to her it just, “doesn’t seem done.” Whatever. It’s still juicy at 155. I’d say for me about 150 would be better.
For me that’s half the joy of sous vide. Textures that you wouldn’t dare to try using traditional methods.
You said it. I’m intrigued by sous vide fish for that reason. Now I just need to pick something to try.
I got lazy and didn’t make my Indian food last night, so today was some good ol fashioned [canned] chili dogs with cheese n onions, plus some adorable mini tots I found from Ore Ida.
I love all the talk of sous vide here for two reasons. First, I finally experienced it firsthand a couple weeks ago when I was cooking dinner with a group of friends. The host had tried to sous vide (can you verb that?) salmon a year ago–I wasn’t there–and it was pretty much a disaster. So since we were doing a group effort at making dinner, there was large slab of salmon that we just wanted to bake/broil with some leeks, but we gave him some bits to do in his sous vide box with the floaty balls on top.
This time he did it at a higher temperature (actually we did it as he shouted down instructions from his gaming loft while playing DOTA or something), but it worked pretty well. It was nice and tender. Not mushy. Not as good as the salmon we baked with leeks on it, but really pretty good.
The other reason I love reading about sous vide here is that I went to Starbucks with my roommate after seeing a movie yesterday. We needed espresso for the house, and I saw this on the menu wall and started chuckling:
He was all, “What are you giggling about? Why are you taking a picture?” Then I had to try to explain sous vide to him.
He was fairly confused by the idea. Which made it all the funnier to me.
I love that Starbucks has now glommed on to this.
Starbucks breakfast options have always been strange, but that’s certainly a first. Sous vide egg bites? I’m not sure what that even means. Are they hot or cold? Have they been in a sous vide bath for way too long?
Really for us as consumers we are late to the party. Sous vide is pretty widely used in the restaurant industry as it saves a ton of time. But as a home cooking method it’s a strange option. A time saver but not a quick cooking method. A way to get a perfect cooked temperature in an environment where cooking perfection really is the least worry of most home cooks. It’s also a single-use item, so until we see more things like an instant pot with sous vide as an option, I don’t really see it taking off in a way that everyone starts changing standard recipes to include it.
All that said, I like mine. Your gaming buddy probably fits the bill perfectly. Put it in a bag, drop it in water and walk away and go play something. Finishing it after it’s done takes less than five minutes (sear and plate.) I guess in a strange way it’s like a rice cooker. You can make rice in just about any pot or pan. But once you have one, damn it if isn’t convenient.
I think a better way to describe it than “saves time” is that it ensures consistency and allows you to front-load the majority of the cooking process.
Since you can sous vide a steak and then have it sit there basically forever, you are always ready to serve a steak with only a fast searing required. And you can keep different done-nesses ready to go.
Both of these things can translate into the home kitchen, but the second is perhaps less useful.
The consistency is the real advantage, and the lack of a gradient going through pieces of meat (especially irregularly shaped ones) is something you just can’t do any other way.
But the ability to just throw meat into a bag, and then have it be ready to go at any point after 2 hours is pretty nice, when you are putting together a larger meal.
Even for smaller meals, just having the ability to chuck a bag into the pot when you get home/wake up, and then finish it whenever you feel hungry, is pretty handy.
Especially so since I usually pre-fill and freeze the bags and it’s not a problem tossing them into the pot while completely frozen.
Those Starbucks egg bites are pretty good fwiw. And yes they’re served hot.
Upon investigation, Anova has me covered, along with a how-to.
We have instituted a new policy wherein my son cooks dinner one night a week. On this night he’s responsible for making the meal, and we also make it a no-tech night, so we sit at the table together and play a game. I really like this, as I’ve said previously in this thread that I am enjoying time in the kitchen with him. And even though he’s a surly teenager sometimes, he likes cooking with me. At his mom’s house he does most of it alone. At mine, we work together, because I want him to learn how proper technique can enhance your cooking. From why cooking pasta this way makes it taste and reheat better, to how to brown ground beef effectively.
This is what he made on Monday:
It’s a baked pasta casserole thing we riffed on based on something his mom made. I wanted parmesan cheese on part of it, and he accommodated me, so that’s why there’s a weird white melty area. I’m not very good at improvising in the kitchen. I’m a recipe reader and follower. But I wanted him to try something he came up with on his own, and taste the sauce as we went so that he got the seasoning the way he wanted it. It was odd to me that he was reluctant to taste as he cooked. I guess this is a thing, since I’ve heard various chefs online or on TV (like Gordon Ramsey) have to tell professional chefs they are breaking in, “You don’t taste the food you’re sending out? Taste the food!”
It turned out great. And we played a new movie trivia game I got for Christmas while we ate. One card had a question about the movie The Rock, which of course I got, and then I supplemented by saying, “You know that was directed by Michael Bay. The guy who directed the Transformers movies.”
The next card asked, “Who directed the 2007 movie Transformers.”
My son started laughing. “You controlled that with your mind.”
It was a good night.