Last week, Creg bought me an Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker. I’ve been wanting one for a long time, and according to my friend Yasuko, it will change my life! After much reading online (mostly on Serious Eats), and a trip to the local Cash and Carry store for some supplies, I took the plunge last night and made Sous Vide Steaks! They were wonderfully juicy and tender, and evenly cooked all the way through. Creg may have exclaimed something while he was slicing into the meat which I shouldn’t repeat here.
For those of you unfamiliar with Sous Vide cooking, it is a process where you cook food sous vide, which is French for “under vacuum”. You place the food in a vacuum sealed bag and cook it submerged in a water bath, which is kept at a constant temperature by the precision cooker. You leave the food in there for the required time (in this case, about an hour) and you end up with a tender, delicious meal! Well, you also have to brown the steak (or whatever you’re cooking) for a minute or it looks anemic. But most of the actual cooking is done under water. One great advantage of this is that you can leave it in the water while you prep everything else – you don’t need to pay any attention to it at all! The recipe for steak says 1-4 hours. So it’s done at 1 hour, but another hour won’t hurt anything.
I started out with just one sprig of rosemary and salt and pepper, but am eager to try out more seasonings next time. I think I’ll do chicken next week, or maybe salmon. So many possibilities! I think Yasuko was right. I used the water displacement method to seal my ziploc freezer bag, since I haven’t taken the plunge yet to buy a vacuum food sealer. Still can’t decide which one to try. But this method seemed to work just fine.
One issue that I had to figure out was how to cook the steaks for myself and Creg at medium-rare, and for the rents at medium. Luckily, my answer was in one of the comments on one of Kenji Lopez-Alt’s articles. Since you can leave the food after it’s done, I first cooked the rents’ steak at 139.5 for one hour, then just left it in, lowered the temp to 129, and added ours for one hour. Perfect results!
I used my new carbon steel pan with butter and a little oil to give the steaks a nice sear, and served it with grilled artichokes and roasted yukon gold potatoes. Yum! The best part of the steak was leftovers for a super tasty sandwich for lunch today.
Sous Vide Steak (adapted from Serious Eats)
- 2 (1 1/2– to 2-inch-thick) ribeye steaks
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 sprigs rosemary
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
Preheat a sous vide cooker to desired final temperature; Rare (120°F/49°C), Medium-rare (129°F/54°C), Medium (135°F/57°C), Medium-well (145°F/63°C), Well-done (156°F/69°C+). If you have a friend who really wants their steak well-done, in the words of Helen Rennie: maybe you should get another friend. Season steaks generously with salt and pepper. Don’t forget the sides. Place in sous vide bags along with rosemary and distribute evenly. Seal bags and place in water bath for the following times: 1 – 1 1/2 hours for rare, 1 – 4 hours for medium-rare and medium, 1 – 3 1/2 hours for medium-well, 1 – 3 hours for well done.
Once the time is up, and you have all of your side dishes ready to go, remove steaks from water bath, take out of bags, and thoroughly pat dry with paper towels. You want them to be as dry as possible to get a good sear. Add grapeseed oil to a heavy cast iron, carbon steel, or stainless steel skillet, and heat until it starts to smoke. Gently lay steak in skillet. Add a tablespoon of butter. Sear for 15-30 seconds, then turn over and sear the other side. Using tongs, hold both steaks together and sear the sides, especially the side with the fat to get it nice and crispy.
Slice into thin slices and serve – there is no need to let a sous vide steak rest!
Roasted Yukon Gold Potatoes
- 6 smallish yukon gold potatoes
- olive oil
Place a sheet pan in the oven and heat to 450°F.
Slice potatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Place in a large bowl and add about 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 tsp salt. Toss to combine well.
When oven is hot, remove sheet pan and carefully pour potatoes onto pan, scraping all of the olive oil from the bowl with a spatula – stand back because this will sizzle. Spread potatoes out onto one even layer so that they all come in contact with the hot pan. Add more olive oil if needed, and sprinkle with an additional tsp of salt.
Roast for about 20 minutes, or until potatoes are just starting to turn golden. Remove from oven, toss with a spatula, then return to oven and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until they are as crispy as you’d like.
- 2 large artichokes
- 2 lemons, cut in half
- 8 sprigs of fresh thyme
- olive oil
- butter or aioli for serving
Fill a bowl with water and add 3 of the lemon pieces, squeezing their juice into the water. Cut the bottom of the stem off of each artichoke and rub immediately with the remaining 1/2 lemon to keep them from browning. Working with one artichoke at a time, cut the top 1/3 off each artichoke. Clip sharp ends off of the remaining leaves. Cut artichoke in half and immediately rub the lemon on the exposed parts. Using a paring knife, carefully cut along the bottom of the choke. Then, using a sharp spoon (a grapefruit spoon is ideal if you have one), remove the choke and purple inner leaves and discard. Rub the inside with the lemon, and drop into the bowl of lemon water. Repeat with remaining artichoke.
Pour the artichoke halves, lemons, and water into a large pot (or add the water and lemons to the bottom of a steamer and place the artichokes in the top). Add 6 of the thyme sprigs. Cook for about 1/2 hour, or until a leaf pulls out easily. Finely chop and reserve remaining thyme.
Drizzle the cut side of the artichokes with olive oil, salt, and place cut side down on grill or grill pan for about 5 minutes to crisp up the leaves. Alternately, you can place cut side up on a sheet pan and place under the broiler for a few minutes. Sprinkle with chopped reserved thyme and serve with melted butter or aioli.