Set It…and Forget It

Posted by Aaron Munter on January 20, 2011 in Cooking, Food |

Sous Vide SupremeWhenever I get a new, fun toy, I’ll admit that it becomes an obsession for just a little while. Then it usually settles down a bit and joins its place in the pantheon of nifty stuff I’m fortunate enough to be able to play with.

Well, in the recent maelstrom of the holidays, I became the proud new owner of a sous vide machine. And it seems like all I talk about now with friends, acquaintances, and soon, ex-friends.

For those who aren’t professional watchers of food TV (and what a good gig that would be!), sous vide is a method of preparing food where you take something, vacuum seal it in a bag, then immerse it in precisely-controlled hot water for a period of time. Generally, in my experiences so far, it’s low and slow. The machine then circulates the water continually so that the temperature of the food gets to that level throughout.

It means that you virtually cannot overcook something — it gets to temperature and stays there. Also, with meats, it means that the whole cut is all the same temperature. So when sous viding a steak, for instance, it’s the same level of rareness (or doneness) all the way through.

So far, all I’ve done are steaks of different cuts and thicknesses — and they’ve been among the best steaks I’ve had (and certainly the best I’ve ever cooked). But it ain’t quick. A 2-inch steak takes around 4 hours to get to medium-rare (and then you do a quick 1-minute sear on each side to get the maillard reaction going and brown the outside).

But you just set it and forget it until it’s almost time to eat. And man, the results are juicy and moist, tender and succulent. And perfectly done. Every. Time.

Which is why, to mix languages, I’m living Sous Vida Loca.

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