One of the popular products coming out of this year’s recent Consumer Electronics Show and Housewares Show is affordable sous vide cooking devices for the home chef.
Sous Vide, which is actually French for "under vacuum," is the process of circulating temperature controlled warm water around food items that have been placed in vacuumed sealed plastic. The goal of the process is to cook meats, seafood, vegetables, eggs and other items evenly, making sure that the inside is properly cooked without overcooking the outside.
The method also insures that items retain their moisture.
As an example, if you’re goal is a medium rare steak, you can place one in a sealed bag and float it in a sous vide system until its "through and through" temperature reaches 130 degrees fahrenheit. And, because the temperature is regulated, you can continue to leave it in the bath beyond initial cooked item because its internal temperature will never rise above the set time of the sous vide device. A steak (or any item) ready at a certain time can be served many hours later without a loss of taste or doneness.
The following steak recipe takes advantage of a sous vide system’s basic features. But, I have also experimented with salmon and Chilean sea bass, and had positive results across the board.
Sous Vide Strip Steaks
with Baked Potatoes and Portobello Shallot Sauce
makes 2 servings
2 Strip Steaks, about 12 ounces each
2 lg Garlic Cloves, peeled smashed and minced
6-8 Fresh Thyme Sprigs
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Pepper
3 tbl Olive Oil
1/4 cu Shallots, minced
4 oz Baby Portobello Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cu Beef Stock
2 tsp Dijon Mushroom
Additional Salt and Pepper, to taste
2 lg Baking Potatoes
1 tbl Butter, optional, for the potatoes
Prepare your sous vide system by preheating water to 130 degrees F for medium rare steaks.
Dry the strip steaks well with a paper towel and place them on a work surface. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Spread garlic on one surface and place half of the thyme sprigs on top. Place steaks in separate sealable bags squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing. Place steaks in sous vide system for a minimum of two hours.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Rub potatoes with a bit of olive oil and then sprinkle salt and pepper on all surfaces. Wrap each in aluminum foil and place them directly on the middle rack of your oven for about 50-60 minutes, timing them to finish cooking about 10 minutes after you remove the steaks.
When ready to serve, remove steaks from the water bath. Preheat a cast iron skillet or heavy saucepan with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Remove steaks from plastic bags and pat them dry. Sear each side in the hot pan for about 45-60 seconds per side. Remove steaks and cover with aluminum. Reduce heat in the saucepan and add shallots and mushrooms to the pan. Sauté until mushrooms are tender and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with beef stock and increase heat. Stir in Dijon mustard and bring to a boil. Stir until sauce thickens and reduces by half.
Place a steak and a potato on a serving plate. Slice open the potato and top with butter (optional), Put half of the mushroom sauce over the potato and to the side of the steak. Serve immediately.
The device I experimented with during this segment is the Anova Precision Cooker. It’s a bluetooth enabled system allowing its app to work seamless with a mobile device, thereby enabling control over temperature and the countdown timer for the many different recipes stored in the app. There’s an extensive list of recipes for a variety of meats, seafood, vegetables and sauces. This device, (with its free app), retails for about $179.00.