Steak Sous Vide for Something New

Posted by in Food and Recipes

steak sous videMy latest foray in the culinary world took me to steak sous vide style. Sous vide must be a chef’s dream come true. Cooking is hands off and relatively forgiving, time wise. As with many cooking methods, sous vide achieves results that can’t be replicated in other ways.

Sous Vide Set Up

I don’t own a sous vide appliance, per se. Rather, I use my mom’s slow cooker with a Dorkfood Temperature Controller. The controller has a probe that goes into the water-filled slow cooker. The slow cooker plugs into the controller which acts as the thermostat.

Turn the slow cooker to high. Set the temperature on the controller, and let it do its thing. Yes, it’s easy, but it’s not quick. Getting to the desired temperature takes some time. It helps to add hot water to the slow cooker, but it’ll only get up to 12o degrees or so, depending on the setting you have for your hot water heater.

Even going from one degree below what you need to the cooking temperature isn’t quick. That bit might take upward of 20 minutes or more. Naturally, the higher the temperature, the longer it takes. Plan on a good hour or more though in addition to the cooking time.

Steak Sous Vide

The advantage of steak sous vide is all about how you like it done. You may find that when you order a medium rare steak at a restaurant that only a bit of the middle is medium rare. The outer portions vary from medium pinkish to gray.

When you cook steak sous vide, the entire steak cooks to medium rare. That lovely pinkish-red color is throughout the steak. To finish, you need to sear it to get that delicious browned crust. Because of this added step, you could cook the steak to rare and then sear to bring it up to medium rare.

When you sear it, you want to get your skillet hot. This is a quick step, so it needs to get the job done decisively. Then, you’ll reap your reward of a steak done truly how you like it most of the way through. The wee bit of gray comes from the searing and is unavoidable.

Advantages/Disadvantages of Sous Vide

Sous vide has a lot going for it. It takes time, but that’s time you’re doing other prep. You can focus on a nice sauce or some tasty sides. Because of searing, you’ll still have that yummy fond to work with for your sauce.

Needless to say, sous vide takes the spontaneity out of some cooking. It’s a commitment. When the steak is done, it lacks the color you get from pan frying. Since you are the only one who’ll see this, it’s a minor point. Searing fixes it well enough.

Other foods like chicken or turkey are more problematic because of handling issues. Just be smart. Wash your hands, and use the same caution you would use to avoid foodborne illnesses with any food prep.

It might not be for everyone, but steak sous vide opens up more possibilities to create in the kitchen. As far as taste, it was excellent. Next time though, I’ll put a little maitre d’hotel butter in the bag with the steak. Now, doesn’t that sound decadent?

(Photo: Porterhouse sous vide with cognac butter, steamed broccolini, pan-roasted mushrooms, and Pommes Maxim a la Thomas Keller) Chris DR

Image by Chris Dinesen Rogers. All rights reserved. cc