Monday, December 24, 2012

McGuyver Style Sous Vide is Easy with Certified Steak & Seafood



My sous vide filet with wine chestnut sauce
If you watch enough food television, then you know about sous vide. All the top chefs seem to be doing it, as well as a lot of the higher end local restaurants. This makes it seem like it is only for the hoity toity who can afford it. No, it's not some kinky, weird sex act Sous vide is just a method of cooking

"Sous vide" means "under vacuum". It's a way of cooking in a vacuum sealed pouch, submerged in a water bath, at a constant, regulated temperature for extended periods of time. This ensures that the entire sealed item is evenly cooked throughout versus having the outside cooked more than the inside.  
note more cooked edges to less cooked middle
The best example is steak. Normally one cooks steaks on a grill or in a pan in such a way that the outer edges are cooked more than the center, which is the last to get heat. Your edges could be considered well done from the sear, then medium, graduating to the center that is medium rare. The chef learns to judge how cooked a steak is by time, touch, and sometimes using a thermometer. Usually your steak takes less than 15 minutes to cook. 

sous vide = even color throughout
With sous vide, you submerge the sealed steak in a water bath of 130-139 degrees (if you like medium rare) for a few hours.  Eventually the entire steak will have equaled the temperature of the water to reach that medium rare state throughout, edge to edge. The downside is that it doesn't look very pretty and so you need to do a quick sear in a skillet to give it that nicely browned surface for appearance sake.

Thing is, TV makes it seem really complicated and expensive. Those top chefs and fancy restaurants have very expensive sous vide machines that keep the water temperature constant while they go and do other things. Remember, some sous vide dishes can take over 24 hours!

But it is possible to McGuyver your own sous vide system at home. The trade off is that you need to be constantly available to monitor your water bath temperature.



This week I was happy to receive a box of filet mignons from Certified Steak & Seafood. These were beautiful 8 ounce filets that were vacuum packed and frozen. McGuyver tip: You've saved a step if the item is already vacuum sealed!

I thawed out my filet and planned on just leaving it in the sealed package for this project. But after it thawed I noticed blood on my counter. Turns out this package had a tiny, little knick in it. That meant I would have to repackage it.

Don't worry! You can manage this at home even without a vacuum sealer. I took the filet out, salt and peppered it, and then put it in a zip top baggie. I squeezed out as much air as possible and then sucked the rest of the air out with a straw. Not the best way, but it worked sufficiently.


Next you need an ice chest. I just used a cheap Styrofoam one I had received some other food in. Fill it deep enough with water at the desired temperature. You must have an instant read thermometer available for this. I used two. I taped one to the inside of the cooler so that the tip was submerged in the water. Then I had another one I also used to doublecheck. 

I kept a pot of simmering water on my stovetop so that any time my water bath cooled down, I could up it back to the target temperature with a splash of hot water. You need to check your water temperature at least every 30 minutes. Unlike professional machines which will keep exactly on target, you will be OK if you are + or - 5 degrees. I kept my water bath between 130-135 degrees. 

You can see that I weighted down my meat with a couple of knives to ensure it stayed submerged.

Total time in water bath = 2 hours. After which I did a quick sear on the stovetop.

Result? Fantastic! The filet was like "melt-in-your-mouth buttah". This was hands down the best piece of meat I've had in a very long time. Of course, a lot of that had to do with where it came from. Here's what Certified Steak & Seafood has to say about their filets:
If there was ever a steak that you will believe can “melt in your mouth” the Certified Steak and Seafood Prime angus Filet Mignon is it. With a delectable almost sweet beef flavor, and a strong buttery undertone that only Prime angus offers, it has to be tasted to be believed.

Each Prime angus filet is slow aged,  custom cut and trimmed for consistency in color and quality. It is a flavor you will remember long after your meal is over. Great accompanied by grilled root vegetables and horseradish mashed potatoes.


Every word of that statement is true! The picture up top is my filet, but the coupon picture is from Certified Steak & Seafood and it shows a sous vide filet even more clearly. 

I invite you to try McGuyver style sous vide at home, but especially with  Certified Steak & Seafood steaks. They are even giving you a $25 off coupon.

Certified Steak & Seafood
Certified Steak & Seafood


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Disclaimer: This sponsorship is brought to you by Certified Steak & Seafood Company who we have partnered with for this promotion.   
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