I know some of you are fanatics like me when it comes to cooking, and I was surprised to learn of a
new cooking method that I had never heard of, sous-vide. Sous-vide is French for under vacuum or something
like that and the idea is that you cook the food very slowly, in a vacuum bag, like FoodSaver, for even greater times than we
do with an egg. Since the food is in a bag, and protected from drying out, the long cooking times do not dry the food out. If you're
interested, you can check out a thread on Sous-vide cooking at the EGullet forum .
Yesterday, I made my first effort at sous-vide with some basic chicken with a wine sauce. My family was so thrilled, I started thinking
of what I could do with both the egg and SV, so... tonight was my experiment.[p]I started out with some really nice veal chops, that I seasoned with some salt and pepper, put a sprig of thyme on each, topped with some sliced
apple, and put it all in a bag, one for each serving. The EGullet thread indicates that it's important to add some liquid, so I put in a
tablespoon of chicken stock and a squirt of olive oil, and then sealed the bag. You have to be real careful in sealing the bag as it wants to pull the
liquid out. You have to be ready with the manual seal as it starts to pull the stock. [p]<p align="center"><img alt="" src="http://www.unconundrum.com/BGE/SV-veal_chop_in_bag.jpg" align="center">[/p][p]One of the neat things I learned is that you can use closed cell insulation tape on the sealed bag, and stick a probe through it.
<p align="center"><img alt="" src="http://www.unconundrum.com/BGE/SV-veal_chop_with_foam.jpg" align="center">[/p][p]So, that's what I did,
<p align="center"><img alt="" src="http://www.unconundrum.com/BGE/SV-veal_chop_with_probe.jpg" align="center">[/p][p]Cooking it is the trick to this. You cook it at very low temperatures, for longer periods of time. The prefered method is in a water bath. You
can check out the EGullet thread, but what they're doing is buying 2nd hand circulating water baths on EBay and using them. I bought one
for $99.50.... but I think I was lucky. You can usually get one between $200 and $400. Believe me, try this once, and you'll want one. If
you want to experiment first, you'll have to really pay attention to the heat. For the veal chops, I wanted them done at 130 F, so I cooked them
at about 135 F !!!!! You read right, 135. Now, to get this temperature at home, without a water bath, you'll probably want to use a pan of
water at the lowest setting you can get in your oven. It will take an hour or so for the temperature to even out, and stir the water every now and
then to make it uniform. Also, remember, that when you add the food (chops in my case), you're going to lower that temperature, and it will take
some time to make it up (the water baths do this somewhat more efficiently with the circulating water... this is also why you want one that circulates
the water). My veal chops took about an hour and a half to get to 130. This method of cooking is safe, and is discussed in the forum.
<p align="center"><img alt="" src="http://www.unconundrum.com/BGE/SV-veal_chops_at_130.jpg" align="center">[/p][p]The picture above is what they looked like, in the bag, once they reached temperature. BTW, I then sauted the apples in a pan with butter, deglazed the
pan with calvados, added some chicken stock, reduced, and stirred in some butter to make a pan sauce... Out of the bag, the chops looked like this
<p align="center"><img alt="" src="http://www.unconundrum.com/BGE/SV-veal_chops_out_of_bag.jpg" align="center">[/p][p]So, here's where the egg came in. The real drawback to SV is appearance. You just don't get that caramelization. But, we know how to
<p align="center"><img alt="" src="http://www.unconundrum.com/BGE/SV-veal_chops_on_egg.jpg" align="center">[/p][p]And when they were done...
<p align="center"><img alt="" src="http://www.unconundrum.com/BGE/SV-veal_chops_after_egg.jpg" align="center">[/p][p]While I was waiting for the egg to reach lava temps, I grilled some asparagras to go with the meal, and here's the final result
<p align="center"><img alt="" src="http://www.unconundrum.com/BGE/finished_meal.jpg" align="center">[/p][p][p][p]I've been to a lot of very fine restaurants, and eaten a lot of wonderful veal platters, but I'll tell you, I've never had something like this.
My entire family agreed that these were the best we've had, at home or away! Beautifully pink through out, incredibly tender and juicy. [p]FWIW, my next experiment is short ribs. According to the forum, they take forever (I'm planning on 48 hours) and that Michele Richard at Citronelle in
DC cooks them for 72 hours, but when they're done, supposedly they cut like a fine steak! Not stringy or tuff. Here they are going into the oven
<p align="center"><img alt="" src="http://www.unconundrum.com/BGE/SV-short_ribs_being_sealed.jpg" align="center">[/p][p]I threw in some mushrooms as an experiment to see what they're like. Supposedly, veggies take much higher temperatures to cook SV because of
the fibers. Mushrooms act like sponges, so I'm curious what they'll turn out like. I'll probably saute them a bit... but I'm really anxious to get a
nice sear on the shorties, ala BGE. I'll try to remember to post some pics on Tuesday (sheesh 48 hours to cook a meal). So now, when you
hear about Sous-vide, you'll know what they're talkin about