We have these amazing friends. Quinn, Kristin, Harper, and Dave, knowing how much we love cooking, decided to get us a Sous Vide machine for our wedding. They thought we needed one. And we didn't know it at the time, but they were right, we did.
It showed up about a week ago and we tried a few soft-boiled eggs in it (they were great), but we hadn't tried a piece of meat until tonight.
In case you aren't familiar with Sous Vide, I'll explain quickly. Sous Vide means "Under Vacuum". If you vacuum seal something and submerge it in water held at a constant temperature, it will never get hotter than that water temperature. So, if you want a piece of medium rare meat (134 degrees Fahrenheit), you seal a piece of meat, drop it in water that's held at a constant 134 degree temperature, and after an amount of time, the meat will emerge perfectly cooked. So after 45 minutes, a 1 inch thick steak is perfectly medium rare. But after 4 hours, it's also perfectly medium rare. In fact, you can keep it in the water for up to 8 hours and it will only get better and never be a degree over medium rare.
So why didn't we all own one of these machines? Because up until a year or so ago, machines that could accomplish this were completely un-affordable for the home cook. I'm talking several thousands of dollars. It's just recently that they've come down in price. And they are still really expensive but they're down around several hundred dollars now and if you are really into perfectly cooked meat, this is the way to do it.
Ok, enough talking.
We started with a super cheap piece of meat. This is a top round steak. It cost $7 and easily serves 4. But what makes sous-vide so awesome is that you can take the cheapest cut of meat and make it taste like filet.
I started by well seasoning (with salt and pepper) both sides of the steak. Then I vacuum sealed the steak with 4 cloves of garlic, 4 sprigs of rosemary, 4 sprigs of thyme, and 2 tablespoons of butter. (I actually did this as soon as we got home from the grocery store yesterday and just threw it in the fridge this way)
Today, I set my Sous Vide Supreme for 133 degrees (they recommend 134 but since I knew we were going to sear the meat later, I opted for a tiny bit undercooked).
Then I dropped the meat in and ran out to a 6:30 beauty salon appt I had.
When I got back about 45 minutes later, it looked like this
it's really not this pretty at this point. But it was technically done cooking. I could have taken it out right then and it would have been delicious, but I still had to finish our sides.
We had a ton of cherry tomatoes in the garden so I worked in a Cherry Tomato and Blue Cheese Salad and I'd also just picked up a bag of fingerling potatoes from the farmers market so I made my very favorite potato recipe. It's a variation on this one from Martha Stewart, but instead of salt and vinegar, I add fresh rosemary and garlic from the garden along with plenty of sea-salt.
When these the sides were just about done, I had Adam go heat up a skillet on the grill burner. I removed the bag from the machine, cut it open, pulled the meat out and handed it to Adam on a platter. It looked like this:
Kinda gross, huh? Gotta be patient dude, it'll get awesome soon.
Out on the piping hot grill, (after a small splash of oil) it soon looked like this (by the way, you could totally do this on your stove, we just were trying to keep the inevitable smoke out of the kitchen).
After 30 seconds (literally) we flipped it.
After a 10 minute rest under foil, it was time for the moment of truth. We crossed our fingers and Adam began slicing.
Oh my God. Do you see that edge-to-edge pinkness? The perfect medium rare across the entire steak? The beautiful crust we achieved by a 30 second sear in a hot pan on each side. And do you remember that this is a super cheap, $7 hunk of meat?
Yeah, this was an absolutely delicious dinner and probably the best cut of beef we've ever made. Adam thought the tomato salad was a bit too rich so he ran out to the back of the garden.
And came back with some Swiss Chard that he rinsed off and then tore up into our tomato salad. (sorry no pics of the finished salad)
When we got back in, Adam sliced up the remainder of the steak, I baked a homemade baguette, and we're going to make steak, tomato, and blue cheese sandwiches for lunch tomorrow.
Can you even begin to get over that perfect edge-to-edge color? Or how awesome Quinn, Kristin, Dave, and Harpster are for hooking us up with this machine?
Tomorrow we're making Olive Oil Poached Salmon.